But there’s always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself. Now I’ve found that what’s most valuable about that place is not the place itself but the other people; that through other people you can find a recognition of each other. I think that’s where the real home is.
Sam Shepard in Sam Shepard by Don Shewey
As part of a globally-minded, national organization serving a local art form, I can speak to the truth of Shepard’s words, especially in these past few weeks. Here at the TCG office in New York City, we welcomed Art Rotch, executive artistic director of Perseverance Theatre in Juneau and Loretta Greco, producing artistic director of Magic Theatre in San Francisco, for two installments of our Meet the Members series. Greco spoke passionately about the Magic’s longstanding commitment to developing playwrights, including Shepard early in his career. Rotch shared how Perseverance founder Molly Smith convinced him to stay in Juneau for “just a year” as a designer; and how 24 years later, he is now leading the theatre and is developing a second home in Anchorage.
Now you would have to travel 4,758 miles or so to make it from Juneau to San Francisco to New York City; but Shepard’s words still ring true. An electric current runs from Art in Juneau all the way to Molly at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; and when the Magic made Shepard their playwright-in-residence in 1976, all of our stages grew brighter. There is no “national theatre” in American theatre because our theatre is defined not by a single place, but by singular people, crisscrossing our country like fireflies, with each particular twinkle contributing to the light of the whole.
Home increasingly extends beyond our national borders, and I want to remind you about our Cuba “exploratorium.” TCG Member Theatre staff and current grant recipients are invited to join our delegation of theatre practitioners as we travel through Cuba, March 15-22, 2013. For information, including payment schedule, contact Kevin Bitterman before the registration deadline of December 31, 2012. Please note, in order to qualify for this trip, you must be a theatre professional who will spend the majority of your journey researching theatre, and then disseminate your findings afterwards.
Finally, I want to make sure that you received the advocacy Action Alert from the Performing Arts Alliance to protect charitable giving donations. Laurie Baskin is in D.C. right now, alongside Michael Maso from Huntington Theatre Company and 240+ advocates from across the not-for-profit sector, and she stresses that it is critical we take action this week to protect the Charitable Giving Deduction. We are all responsible for preserving this home of the American theatre that we share, so please, take action.