Welcome! What would you like to talk about?
First, let me just say, thanks so much for this interview. Most artists, I think, just want to be taken seriously, to be given some real consideration and thought. Attention must be paid and all that. So it's a real privilege to get the opportunity to share some of the thought behind my work.
Should we start at the beginning? The Absurdity of Writing Poetry, in 2006. I've heard you refer to that as a manifesto for Available Light.
That was certainly true. If you wanted a one-hour mission statement, that was it, for the company, and for me. It's shamelessly direct sometimes, right there in the end, I just list out my reasons for making art, plain and kinda simple. The show is dumb in that it's just me putting all my issues front and center with very little artifice.
Where did that show come from?
I had left my first grand venture, BlueForms Theatre Group and wandered out into the wilderness of Iowa City, where I hung out with the only dude I knew who was a big a nerd for theatre and rap music as I was, Sean Christopher Lewis. Sean and I were working on his first one-man opus, I Will Make You Orphans, and getting to know each other's ambitions. He had a friend, Jennifer Fawcett, also a playwright, who also had a one-person show. (They're married now. She might even have been his girlfriend then, I don't know.) I spent a week there making work and hanging out in the library and visiting the art museum and wondering what the hell I was going to do with myself.
I was inspired, to say the least, by their willingness to put their own stories onstage and to put themselves on stage. I hadn't really been willing to do that. I was also re-reading a lot of Anne Bogart stuff. Anne had been my mentor, had given me a big push into Starting BlueForms, and the end of her first book (A Director Prepares) gave me another big push. "Don't wait," she says, until you have the right people, the right platform, the right space, the money even until you know what you're doing. I took that very literally.