November 30, 2013

Looking for love (in all the right places?) and a theatrical soulmate

For a long time now, Crossroads Theatre Project (@XroadsTheatre on Twitter) has been my baby. I've been writing and developing the scripts, doing the fundraising, hiring the cast and crew, interacting with peers and audiences via social media, and all that.

It hasn't always been easy, but I did enjoy doing those things myself. I enjoy my autonomy. I enjoy being self-sufficient. I enjoy the freedom it gives me to learn and explore in a hands-on, low-stakes way.

I don't regret spending so much time doing this more or less by myself. It's helped a lot with helping me figure out exactly what I want to do and the kinds of working relationships I want to have. That knowledge came in a far less painful way than it would have if I'd begun from a more ambitious vision or involved more people than absolutely necessary.

However, I think it's time for me to admit that I need help.

It's not because I can't do this anymore or don't want to, but I've come to understand that trying to do it all more or less by myself is starting to hinder my ability to grow. Right now, I'm in a phase where I want to focus on writing and developing more scripts. That doesn't mean I want to stop producing my own plays or abdicate all responsibility to someone else, but I do think that I am now ready for an artistic partner or two.

When I think about it, what I want looks a lot like what Jim and Pete had at Nosedive Productions. I'm looking for something where this person and I can grow together over a period of time. Granted, I'll have to be more intentional because my temperament and current situation prevent me from just lucking into finding someone who just clicks.

If I had to write a list, I'm looking for someone who:

  1. can commit to a long-term, non-exclusive creative partnership
  2. wants to share the responsibilities of producing theatre
  3. understands the importance of race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. in arts and media
  4. makes bold artistic choices on each production
  5. is open to trying unconventional casting and rehearsal processes and non-traditional venues
  6. works magic on a shoestring budget
  7. has an interest in mythology, folklore, and fairy tales
  8. is something of a sci-fi/fantasy/horror buff
  9. can get along with someone who is a textbook INTJ
I don't really care about the resume or CV. I care about vision, passion, and commitment.

Do you know someone like this? Can you put me in touch with them?


  1. Shawn, I love this. I love the idea, I love that you said it, and I love the way you said it.

    I have some half-baked ideas that may or may not help, but I want to bake them a little more before I post them.

  2. I'll go ahead and post my thoughts about this. They're very far-fetched and might be useless as they are, but you might be able to tweak them into something you can use.

    1. If you don't find all that in one person, you might find some of it in one person, and some of it in another, or two or three others. A distributed theatrical soulmate.

    2. Imagine a distributed performance. Instead of being in one place at one time, parts of it, or dimensions of it, are in different places at different times. It still exists as one performance in your mind, and if it can exist as one performance in your mind, it can exist that way in the minds of others, if you can find some way to put it there.

    3. Abstracting it even further, imagine someone else's cast here, someone else's crew there, a director somewhere else, different people in different places in the different roles you need in your collaborator, each of them doing something that could conceivably evolve into a part of your distributed performance. Imagine that you develop a relationship with each one of them in which it *does* evolve into a part of your performance.

    My imagination fails, when it comes to finding some way for this to produce an income ...

    1. Thanks, Jim.

      As you may have guessed, I'm not fixed on all of those traits belonging to one person.

      Something I definitely want to try is producing a play virtually. How this would happen is anyone's guess.

    2. Virtually, like the way I was saying, or something else? Like, the whole play happens only in people's minds, for example?

    3. I mean it happens for real, but not necessarily in a traditional or conventional way.