Since I haven’t been too active on my blog for awhile, and I’m actually doing something really interesting and different for me, I thought I’d try to do daily write-ups for DLW this year.
Problem is, several nights I will be back to my lodging somewhere between 11 and midnight. Oh well.
The first day of DLW starts on the same day as LA Stage Day, which reminds me strongly of ArtsCrush in Seattle, only more conference-style presentations, and no following events (ArtsCrush is now a full month of performance and art events in Seattle, and it came out of Live Theatre Week, which was a full week of theatre events after a kickoff fair).
I arrived about an hour late to the opening remarks, but the panel on “Why Do Philanthropists Support LA” was good. I’m glad to hear from board members that they are not solely focused on the finances or the charity aspect of being on a board, but are instead passionate supporters of not just the arts, but THEIR venue.
I skipped Block A – 12:30 to 1:45 PM – in favor of a long lunch with some reading. There just so happened to be a Taiwanese cultural festival on the CalState, so I got some tasty, odd, cheap food and watched some non-serious-theatre live performances.
Block B – 2 to 3:15 PM – I went to “From n00bs to Know-It-Alls” which was about social media marketing. I know a little on this subject already, but I got so much additional useful information that I actually feel confident in my ability to social media-ize an event. So thank you, Amy Kramer.
Block C – 3:30 to 4:45 PM – I went to the Director’s Panel, hosted by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Union. While it was a panel of directors basically talking about themselves, that is actually a large part of why I wanted to do DLW – hear what directors have to say about their craft and how their experiences differ from their dreams. So I enjoyed it.
The closing session – 5 to 6 PM – was my favorite. Speaker Joy Mead talked candidly and unabashedly about audience shaming, and the socio-economic divide that it stems from (you can’t LAUGH that LOUD in a hallowed space like a theatre, regardless of the subject matter this whole event is solemn, even though the actors are dying of laugh-thirst). Lars Jan pointed out that theatre practitioners, as much as we insist there is potential brilliance in the live aspect of theatre, do very little to make the experience unique from TV or movies, and it is therefore still, often, an inferior experience. It is inflammatory, but I actually agree with him. I don’t know how to solve that problem, but I resolve to try harder. Finally, Laura Zucker made some good points about our passion as artists and how that doesn’t translate into a focus on the craft of running an organization.
We scattered to carpool to downtown LA, took a dinner break, then went to see “Hit” at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. I think, in hindsight, I enjoyed the play, but it was so vomitously visceral, so hysterical (on purpose), so darkly funny at often wrong moments (I assume intentionally) that it was hard to sit through. I also feel like some of the acting beats were hit wrong or missed entirely. But it’s not my production, and I respect the majority of the choices.
I know one other person from Seattle, and I met the third person from Seattle in attendance. I don’t know many people very well but I am impresed with how different everyone seems in their attitudes toward productions and what type of productions they enjoy. The 40 of us are mostly white women, but I think we bring a range of backgrounds and years of experience to DLW.
Tomorrow is more staid – looks like mostly talks – but by Tuesday we get into movement classes. I’m excited for the movement classes. I’m also excited for tomorrow’s bagels, coffee, and contact talk with SDC, but I’m a nerd.