In Search of the Artistic Home
Jamie Gahlon has asked theatre artists from around the country to talk about their personal search for an artistic home. Robert O'Hara continues this series.
What makes an artistic home?
When the leadership of the theatre acknowledges, encourages and supports your work and your ideas on new work, when the leadership of the theatre is available for one on one interactions about your work, when the leadership of the theatre encourages other theatres to commit to your work, when the leadership of the theatre makes you feel welcome and engenders that welcoming of you and your work throughout the building, when the leadership doesn’t bullshit, string you along, or seek to make your work more “comfortable”, then you have found an artistic home.
Where and how did you find yours and what does it mean to you?
I found two homes early on in my career with The Public Theater and American Conservatory Theater, when they decided to produce my first professional play. I’ve recently found two additional homes with the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which have both recently produced world premiere productions of mine. What it means to me is that I have a personal relationship to the business side of my artistry. And I know that serious consideration is given to my submissions, and the leadership is seriously committed to developing my new work and tells me so... often.
It’s a loud, colorful, bold and adventurous gingerbread house which does more than just hang a “Welcome” sign in its window, but rather it shows us through the diversity of the people sitting on its furniture and the diversity of those who created the furniture, that it is committed to the artists and not just the works of art.
How can one create and/or build an artistic home for others?
By doing more plays that reflect the diversity of the society around them regardless of the race of their subscribers. If one wants to build an artistic home for others then you must make your homes more... artistic.
ADD SOME COLOR UP IN HEAH!!!
Dammit. Stir some shit up.
What is the the artistic home of the future?
It’s a loud, colorful, bold and adventurous gingerbread house which does more than just hang a “Welcome” sign in its window, but rather it shows us through the diversity of the people sitting on its furniture and the diversity of those who created the furniture, that it is committed to the artists and not just the works of art. It trusts and commits to a wide range of races and genders and storytelling. It does more than one play a season by an artist of color that is not August Wilson or Lorraine Hansberry. It does more than one play a season by a female artist. It has stopped pretending that producing the same four white men every season or every other season or every other other season is actually an artistic choice because it is actually artistic bullshit and in the future that lesson has been learned. It is a place where the artist and the community come to break the bread of ideas, soak up the drink of entertainment and choke on the Truth.