Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Get by with a little help from our Friends

When this project began, it was only an idea. An image in my mind's eye. A vision wherein hundreds of average folk gathered on blankets, and chairs, with children on shoulders of their father's, couples lounging with one another in the late evening sun, some brave performers and swinging musicians offering up a healthy serving of fresh fine art (and I don't mean fine just as in high art, but fine as in the man or woman you see walking down the street in passing and think "Damn their fine!"). I saw strangers congregating and communing at the alter of story, to witness our commonality. Now I also saw, and continue to see a lot more (stilt walkers, fire spinners, large scale puppets), but the simplicity of our first task is duty enough, and that is to bring a worthy piece of art to the world that is our stage for free.

I have a lot of ideas. Some more worthwhile and realistic than others, but not every idea, like not all seeds, fall on rich soil and take root. As we continue our initiative I become more and more delighted and inspired by the individuals willing to work for something greater than money. While we pursue grants and reach out to patrons that can donate what they will, we have already found a wealth of human spirit dedicated, determined, and excited to make this a grand event. From a cast of 13 that agreed to work for free, to an accomplished director that turned down paying work to direct in an open field, a pair of costumers who offered their talents from the onset to the elders of our arts community who have given council around breakfast tables, heads of other community organizations, journalists, photographers, composers, musicians and the buzz of the residents in and around the neighborhood. There has been an out poor of public support that when the doubts that accompany any endeavor creep into the crannies of my consciousness their enthusiasm washes all those fears away.

It did not happen all at once, and we continue to receive new persons "glad to help." This project is more than just a play, and its more than just providing access to and re-imagining the bard. It's about the very essence and power of Theatre to gather, share, and shape the world in which it works. I am grateful for all those who have given and those that will offer themselves selfishly for the advancement of our City.

So stay "tuned" to this blog to watch the work reveal itself, gain it's feet, and take off running. And if you want to get involved, don't hesitate to reach out and invite yourself, just as we have reached out and found warm receiving, able hands.

Joe Carlson
Producer and Artistic Director of Theatre in Battery Park

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