Sunday, March 28, 2010

Resurrection Blues -- Eclipse Theatre -- Production

The first show I did in college was The Crucible. I had wanted to play Reverend Paris, and somehow managed to get the role. It was a gorgeous set, I had an incredible costume, and from what I remember it was a fine production -- although I don't recall myself as being especially outstanding.

But for me, Arther Miller has always been a touch didactic. I recognize that his masterwork, Death of a Salesman is brilliant, and I have loved All My Sons ever since I saw the Raven Theatre production. But his other works have sort of struck me as Shaw without the charm, or perhaps flabby Ayn Rand. I've always walked away from Miller acutely aware that he WANTS TO TEACH ME SOMETHING, and when confronted with that attitude I'm not always the most willing of students.

Resurrection Blues begins to make up for that. For one thing, it's a comedy. Not necessarily expected from Miller. And as always, expect Eclipse to unearth a forgotten gem from a master. I sat thru a run of the second act to prepare for the shoot and was surprised -- delighted even -- that this script actually had playable intentions for the actors. Or perhaps these actors are just better than I was when I had to play Miller. Froth it ain't, but it's light and the lesson is sold softly. That's probably has at least as much to do with Nat's direction as it does with Miller's writing.

If you you're a Miller skeptic like me, you're going to want to check out this show and give Miller a chance to change your mind. I may have to go back and re-read The Crucible now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When Bad Projects Happen to Good Artists

A few weeks ago I had a shoot where everything went wrong. I was striving for an effect that required equipment I do not have but trying anyway with the equipment I had. To say that the results were disasterous would be an understatement. The results would have given small children life-scarring nightmares. I was so disgusted with myself -- because I should have known better -- that I put the camera away, and for the first time since picking it up began seriously questioning what I was doing.

I wasn't worried that I would give up photography forever. Although I haven't been seriously practicing photography my whole life, I have been an artist and have hung around artists my whole life. Crises of faith happen, and the chief benefit of age is recognizing them, not panic about the panic, and let the crises pass. It always does. And at the end, I have found, my passion (and usually my skill) is stronger. The truly scary thing is that these phases don't come with a prescribed expiration date, so while you're in it you begin to wonder if it will ever end. It does. Sometimes it takes a day. Sometimes it takes a month.

If, however, it extends beyond a month the only thing to do is to get back up on the horse, ignore the panic and pretend it doesn't exist. Start over. Start from the beginning. Be patient with yourself and do what you know.

The passion does return.