Naomi Iizuka wrote an article for American Theatre magazine in the late 90s titled “What Myths May Come.” In the piece, in better words than I will be able to use here, she outlines the belief that theatre showcases our myths. Never before and not since, have I found an aesthetic that so mirrors the way I approach and interact with theatre. Theatre is our way of reenacting the current cultural myths and histories. Because myth is in and of itself an ever-morphing system of metaphor, I believe that there are shows that add nothing to the current theatre culture as well as shows that teach us something new each time they are performed.
I believe theatre is a tool for outreach, building community, and inspiring revolution. When theatre does not meet up to these aspirations, I ask myself – did it ask a question, even through humor, that adds to the current cultural conversation, or did it simply reflect what the audience already knows or experiences without analysis? I aim for theatre to constantly challenge the way I perceive the world, and hope that the audience walks away with more questions than when they came in. As such, the productions that I most enjoy working on and watching are visceral and vital.
Collaboration is the key to every production I undertake as a dramaturg or director. I never claim to be the smartest one in the room and never stop asking questions. When we stop asking questions we have stopped engaging the text, actors, artists, and audience. I continue to work on and research every production I’ve ever taken part in, because there is always more to ask, more to see, and better art to make the next time around.