Back in December of 2013 I met with an administrator regarding our most recent musical production. Concerned with creating an “excellent product”, the conversation became a list of what needs to be done to create a polished production. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is most definitely a goal in each theatrical endeavor, but with all due respect, that is not the proper place to begin. One does not achieve a high-quality, well-put-together production, by focusing on the end product. We are not a professional theatre company; we are an educational institution. Even if we were a professional company, solely considering the larger end goal is not the way to a successful program. We would focus on actor training, establishing specific jobs and clear expectations therein, and on creating an environment in which art can flourish.
There is no piece of theatre that is without fault; from Broadway and The Kennedy Center, to local community theatre and high school programs, there is always something that could be better. ‘Tis the nature, and the beauty of any art form. It is also worth mentioning that since theatre is indeed a piece of art, each viewer will see something different, will pick up on varying nuances, could experience completely different things. That is why theatre is so powerful in its ability to speak to an individual as it presents to a group.
For any one piece of art to even happen, there has to be room for development, change, and fluidity. There cannot be direct control of any one part, because this will restrict the full potential of creating the piece of art. Art exists as a form of self-expression, and I strive to facilitate this understanding in my students, programs and broader community.
My philosophy of eduction, in complete harmony with my philosophy on creating theatre, has a strong focus on skill-building. No matter what I am teaching, math, science, reading, or drama, I begin with the basic skills needed as a foundation of the larger discipline. Process-driven work, focusing on creativity, discovery, collaboration, and self-control, is what gets us to the finish line, where all involved get to enjoy a clean, successful production.
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