About Me

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I'm an NYC-based director, and this is an outlet for my various musings about theater and about the city of New York. Sometimes the subjects run together, sometimes they are entirely separate, but between the two they comprise the most fitful, most intense, most trying love affair of my few years. They fill my head, my heart, my mouth every hour of every day; they could fill a book.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Leaving on the Midnight Train. Or More Probably, an Early Morning Flight

This afternoon, I told my sister news which I've known to be true for almost a year, and still the telling of it made me want to double over and breathe into a paper bag.

Yes, I'm leaving New York.

That I am leaving New York has been common knowledge since I stepped foot on its concrete terrain; the idea of living indefinitely so far away from my family - especially my sisters, one of whom the self-same of the above conversation - was too difficult to even consider. I made never made any pretense about making New York my permanent home; I always knew eventually I would have to go back to the southwest, to them.

And that I am leaving soon - like SOON soon - is common knowledge among most of those close to me. Including - not that it mattered - my family:

And so, somehow, more than knowing the lease on my apartment is going to be up at the end of September, more than figuring out what to do with my cat, more than creating and systematically checking experiences off of a "New York bucket list," more talking frequently with friends and colleagues about what will happen "when I go back," this - giving my family if not an exact date then a fairly narrow range of when I'll return - makes it real.

Because, the thing is, everything else I can back out of. I can tell my friends here in New York that I changed my mind! I can find a new apartment on Craigslist! But I cannot, cannot tell my family I'm coming home and then not come home.

I've been avoiding talking about the move on this blog (and with many of my theater colleagues) for similar reasons. I want to pretend that all those shows that are coming up in the winter? I'll get to see them. And all those amazingly cool theater people I've met online and in real life? I'll get to work with them all.

But I won't. (At least not soon - there's nothing to say I won't ever come back for a project.)

I'm leaving the first week of October. It's time to make it real.

I'm excited to move to a smaller community and start putting into action some of the ideas about local theater than I've been reading about and ruminating on for the past year or so. But I'm also devastated (and maybe terrified?) to be leaving a place where the mind-blowing theatrical experiences and brilliant theater-makers and collaborators are infinitely at hand.

I'm feeling an immense pressure to make the most, artistically speaking, of the time I have left here. Which is somewhat difficult and paradoxical, given that I don't actually have a show that I'm working on. But I am still trying to make the most of it.

What am I doing? Well, first (and foremost, I suppose) I'm trying to organize a sort of weekly space for experimentation where directors can bring scenes they've been working on or ideas they've been hatching for work, or observation, or commentary from the group. The idea is in structure a bit like Flux Sundays but geared more for directors than playwrights. The motivation for creating this group is almost entirely selfish: I'm itching to explore some of the ideas and techniques I learned in the Directors' Lab for one, and for another, I still have this hatchling of an idea for a production of Taming of the Shrew that I want to play around with and see where it goes without actually committing to a production. And I want to do both these things with collaboration and advice of some of the people I've met in New York - those amazing and insightful artists I was talking about earlier.

Secondly, but not unrelated to the first, I, along with some other Lab alumni, have been noodling around with the idea of creating some sort of collective, a little along the lines of 13P to basically confront the problem that the only way emerging directors have to do work in the city is to self-produce, and to find an efficient way of offering producing support to one another. This is obviously less selfishly motivated, as I won't be around to see the fruits of my labors, but for some reason I can't quite explain, even to myself, it's really important to me to do this. To feel I had some hand in creating a more sustainable way for young artists like me to do their work - to think that I might have had this support if I stayed.

And then, of course, just seeing LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of theater. I'm determined to be so diligent that I will consider any week that I didn't see at LEAST one show, preferably two or three, a wasted week. This past week I saw Purple Rep's Ampersand at the NYC Fringe and the Drilling Company's Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.

So there it is. Guess it's real now.


  1. I think this is fabulous! You are going to love the quality time together, and you are going to bring a bit of NY and all that theater stuff knowledge you've been doing back to your home town to share with others :) love you, aunt marsha

  2. It's a tough decision but as someone who doesn't live in New York and can't get there as often as I'd like, I know that great theatre occurs everywhere. You'll help make that happen wherever you live.

    And you know, one great thing about twitter is that it's helped foster a nationwide discussion about theatre. You can still be part of that. I know I love hearing about what people are doing and seeing in other parts of the country.

    Definitely keep in touch and let us know how you're doing. And break a leg wherever you end up!

  3. Thanks Esther, thanks Aunt Marsha. I am definitely excited to go back home and share the knowledge I've cultivated in New York and learn from my colleagues who have been doing theater in the community... and I am definitely grateful that I've discovered Twitter, which has been and will continue to be such a wonderful idea for expanding my theater community. But I am definitely a little sad and REALLY REALLY NERVOUS! So I really appreciate your words of assurance!