Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Ensemble by the horns.

Something about Sunday made me review my life and ask myself obnoxiously potent questions like “Are you happy?” and “What do you want?” When the answers come, they hurt, cause large purple bruises; my psyche bombarded with bocce balls until I crawl somewhere beaten and bleeding and accepting that this was worth something. These answers were important, in some way.

I’m happy but restless.

And what I really want is to be a part of something bigger than myself. Ultimately, this is what I’ve always wanted. I’m not a leader and never have been, but I revel and thrive in the role of utility man, or specialist, or support staff. Tell me what you want and I’ll do it up aces. I want to find an organization that needs me, that I can help to do great things.

I want a theater or an ensemble that I can grow old with. I want what Christopher Guest has in his core group of improvisers [1], what Steppenwolf is.

And what I find is that over the past four or five years I’ve been unable, as they say, to pick ’em.

I had a lot of faith in Jezebel’s Lunchbox, the improv group I helped found in Urbana. I had a lot of faith in the people I worked with and worked for, and I had a lot of faith in our ability to become something worth keeping. And then it all got torn apart by varying excesses of ego. My contact with the group, some of whom were incredibly talented people who I’d have loved to keep around, faded away to almost nothing, and those I still have contact with aren’t anywhere nearby, and instead I keep up with their lives through sporadic emails and LiveJournal entries (hi, Danielle).

The people I met through my class at Players’ Workshop have scattered to the winds, in part because the Workshop has fallen into a state of extreme hardship…part of which is the fault of our mentor, who absconded from the company with enough money to hurt them.

My writers’ group has, over the past few years, become a place where people I connect with are bled out of the group because of personal or professional disputes with our artistic director. This is, again, a case of excess ego, and for that matter a question of unilateralism that reminds me that our group is little more than a collection of talent, but not really a collective mind. I have no say in this group’s direction. I have no power to argue against the unceremonious dismissals of my colleagues. But I stay, because of the possibility of other connections to come. (If this Breadline Theatre thing happens, it will have made much of the heartache worth it.)

I’m getting off-message. Everywhere I look, people I know are finding like-minded people and forming solid organizations from them. And here I am, floating around, latching onto things that aren’t always the best fit, just to latch onto something.

I’m frustrated something awful by it. The Neo-Futurists didn’t want me. Skip Sketchie Productions didn’t want me. I’m auditioning for pH this Sunday, in the hopes that they will have me. I’m tired of trying to locate my artistic soulmates in my immediate vicinity.

I suspect that the biggest reason I have to go to graduate school, at this point, is to try and meet people.

Bilal Dardai, Mercenary Artist. I hate it.

In other news, I’ve decided that, no matter what happens with pH, I’m going to shave my head and keep the goatee, which means I’ll need new headshots. The bald spot in the center of my head is becoming impossible to conceal without appearing stupid.

[1] Go see A Mighty Wind. Go see it now.

Current music: MP3 list, Darling Violetta, Theme to Angel

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2003 by in Mental Health, Theatre, Writing.
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