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Friday, July 24, 2009

Robin Gillette - On finding one's place in the theater

Robin Gillette talked to me on the brink of the Fringe Festival 2009 about how she came to be a theater administrator and about her vision for theater as a place where people are transformed. She tells two stories about finding her place – about settling on the work she wanted to do within the broad theater enterprise, and then, later, about settling on the kind of production she could invest in. I think of her experience as I talk to students choosing careers. They know they want to be involved with medical or technical or artistic enterprises, but they often have trouble finding their place within those enterprises or even determining what places are available to them, within those enterprises. Robin had astonishing luck, in finding situations in which she could try out a variety of roles for herself, a variety of production companies, on the way to settling into something she really believed in. As a model of what is possible in career exploration, this is an inspiring story.

Also in this excerpt, Robin says some important things about the way the particular setup of the Fringe Festival teaches people to be more attentive audience members. Brecht wanted to build inducements to consciousness and critical thought into the structure of individual dramatic pieces. This idea seems more promising: to craft a context in which drama naturally provokes informed critical discussion over an extended time.

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