the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Success and Do the Work!

Two things that have got me thinking today are Polly Carl's latest essay on Howlround and the newest Steven Pressfield book.

Polly Carl is asking for new definitions of artistic success in 2013.  In doing my personal new year assessment, I was already thinking about needing to redefine success for myself, so having this essay is a terrific affirmation.

From the essay:

The problem with predetermined paths to success is that for better or worse, the paths are well trodden, and the deep grooves cause us to try and find a way to make ourselves fit into something that has become ossified and unoriginal. And the truth is that not many theater artists, because they are such creative people, can make it down that predetermined road with any regularity.

Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, has written Do the Work!, a version of his motivational creative philosophies, that focuses on the granular level, the process of making the art itself, in the face of capital-R Resistance.  It's a creative drill sergeant, and worth having nearby when starting a new endeavor.

I love when he says:

Act, reflect. Act. reflect.

NEVER act and reflect at the same time.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Counting Actors December 2012

I started this project in June 2011, and have now counted over 200 shows.  To see past posts in this series, and learn how to make a contribution, please visit the Counting Actors Info Page.

11 shows counted:
3 Girls Theatre/3 Girls Squared (9 female writers and 2 directors, 1m, 1f, on this one-act festival; actors played from 1-3 roles each)
ACT/Christmas Carol (the 26 kids and 6 MFA students in this cast are included in the count below. Cast includes a female Tiny Tim! Script also has two credited writers, 1m, 1f)
Shotgun/Woyzeck (male director and male music director are included in count below as directors, writing team of 1m, 1f for music/book/lyrics included below; onstage band not counted except for one musician who also plays speaking role in show)
MTC/It's a Wonderful Life (a radio play version of script - all actors play multiple roles)
Inferno Theater/Dracula (women played traditionally male roles of Dracula and Renfield in this production)
Theatre of Yugen/A Minor Cycle (3 music composers included as writers on this piece)
Berkeley Rep/White Snake (writer and director are same person)
TheatreWorks/Big River (male director and music director, 2 male writers credited for book,lyrics and music; orchestra not counted)
SFPlayhouse/Bell Book and Candle
CenterREP/Christmas Carol (4 person caroler quartet included in count below; additional equity actor provides recorded narration and is not included in the count)

The Stats:
11 male directors, 5 female directors
13 male writers, 13 female writers
162 total actors
 87 men,  75 women
 53 equity actors, 109 non-equity actors
 31 union men,  23 union women
148 local actors, 15 non-local actors

A huge thanks to the folks who have shared stats this month: Suze Allen, Arwen Andersen, Madeline HD Brown, Michael Gene Sullivan, Sheila Devitt, Lily Tung Crystal, Deborah Black and Dena Martinez.

And, when you talk about this with your friends and colleagues, you might also want to mention the email campaign currently underway!  Let's get Theatre Bay Area to focus on Gender Equity at this year's annual conference.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A book and a film to check out

Art and struggle/art and oppression feature prominently in both of these things, and have given me a lot to think about and reflect on in this transition from old year to new.

Thing one: Joseph Anton - Salman Rushdie's memoir, focusing heavily on his post-Satanic Verses life and experiences.  The title comes from the alias he used during that time, taken from the names of his two favorite writers. (Joseph) Conrad and (Anton) Chekhov.  I'm about 3/4 of the way through, but already felt that it was worth recommending here.

Thing two: you may or may not have read the recent New Yorker article about the Turkish women's theater company (full text only there for subscribers, unfortunately).  The article mentions a documentary about the group, and the 2 minute trailer is here.