Sunday, June 19, 2011

If you build it, they will come?

This may be my most open and personal blog post ever. I usually like to share insights and information, but I don't usually share anything all that personally revealing. Today I will.

When I set out to create Endstation, I had a dream of building a theatre company that would connect with the community I grew up in and a company that would do the best possible work that my peers and I could create. I dreamed, and I still dream, that this company and this community will grow together. We will continue to raise the bar and the community around us will join us on our journey.

I won't lie to you. Being a theatre artist in 2011 isn't easy. I love theatre. I believe in its power, because it is immediate, but it is also localized. Any given show can only be experienced by an audience that is sharing a space with the show, so its reach is limited. In choosing a season it is always a difficult balance of artistry and drawing in an audience. As an artist you want to produce work worth producing but you also need to engage a limited audience base who are close enough or able to get close enough to view your work. Film artists can take more risks with their work because their medium can reach a wide range of people world wide. An audience does not need to share a space with the artist.

I chose to do Stephen Sondheim's Assassins in this year's season. I love this piece of theatre. It is profound, convention bending, and thoughtful. It is also an engaging piece of work for our artists to tackle. At the same time, it is not easily digested. It does not depict the world as we want it to be but rather depicts the world as it is. Messy. I love this kind of art. This is what I want to see. At the same time, happy go lucky sells tickets. Don't get me wrong, I like happy go lucky (we are doing Twelfth Night after all) but I think that challenging work is essential for us as a society. We must self examine and reflect. This is what Assassins does.

As we approach our opening night for Assassins I am anxious. I believe in this work and I want to share it with an audience. I want audiences to appreciate it. I want to believe that this is possible, but I am waiting to find out. I want people to attend, be challenged and walk away wanting more work like this. This kind of work doesn't happen in the area very often and I am not sure how this chapter in the Endstation story will end. I want to build an audience who thirsts for thought and artistry. Will this happen?

If you build it, will they come? I sure hope so. I sure hope so.

Geoffrey Kershner
Artistic Director

1 comment:

FSUZeigler said...

Best of luck, Geoff. We have to take risks. The payoffs are always greater. Can't wait to see you and Ashley.