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Peggy Gannon
Seattle, WA
Recent Activity
Peggy Gannon is now following Paul Mullin
Nov 27, 2011
Hey Rebecca -- I agree with this most of all: "I am interested in the experiment though, and would rather know for sure "nope, that didn't work" than think "I wonder if that would have worked?" So I'm happy to see where it goes, and perfectly comfortable acknowledging that we were wrong if it fails." I'd also like to mention something that I am sooooooooo happy that TPS spearheaded despite much long-running adamant vocal opposition (which turns out was in the minority despite being relatively loud): The Falls Awards. I'm a huge fan, and I think it was and is the right thing to do, and I hope it gets better every year. I hope that ArtsCrush turns out like that. I am not an enemy of ArtsCrush, I am a wary but friendly stranger.
Sam, upon reflection, I think I understand your frustration and reaction, but the tone of your response has upset me. You express that TPS "listens to and evaluates" dissent, but the subtext - the way you've expressed it in this forum - seems to clearly read (to me) "hears and dismisses." I personally know you and TPS, and I trust your intentions; therefore I feel intellectually that this must not be true. But it has given me pause. I don't like where this conversation has turned, either. I mostly don't understand why so many take so much so personally (referring not only to Sam here). At this stage, we should be able to spar with no lasting damage done. Even cuts & bruises shouldn't cause grudge-matches; that's what happens when you spar. We need to get better at expressing AND receiving criticism and dissent. Let's give each other the benefit of assuming good intentions and equal stakes. Not just say we are doing that, but actually take a deep breath and do that for real. Even if others aren't returning the favor. It takes a little longer in the short term, but we're worth it, yeah? Compassion and care for each other within our discourse. (Especially when it's not a face-to-face interaction.) Since someone brought 14/48 up, I feel justified in adding this to illustrate: 14/48 has an excellent behind-the-scenes model. When I was on the steering committee, we fucking SPARRED. I've no doubt they still do. It was always exhilarating and exhausting, and often uncomfortable. We fought and snarked and sometimes were mean to each other. But I never walked away from a meeting feeling that I hadn't been heard and (more importantly) understood. I always felt cared about even my ideas weren't always cared for. No matter how passionately we fought, I knew for certain that we had each other's backs. Because none of us doubted each other’s equal, deep, true love for the event and the process and what it represents to us and to the community.
(Some of this may be off-topic, but it at least touches topic by an accidental overlapping pinkie in a dark theater. Forgive my wandering.) Jim Jewell -- I claim your response to this issue as my own! Allow me to quote, because if I were smarter & quicker, this is the part I could've written: "And therein lies my beef with TPS at the moment. I don't think they are being self-critical enough, which is why I am okay with criticizing them. I think they need more focus, they need to recognize failures and learn from them, they need to take dissent as seriously if not more seriously than agreement of ideas, because the dissent can only rightly stifle a bad idea - a good idea would gain strength in addressing the dissent." I agree with this sentiment across the board for our entire theater community. We are far too self-congratulatory and too quick acquiesce to others' congratulations. (Quicker still to keep our mouths shut when we don’t like something.) What we do is truly very hard and takes vast amounts of energy, and we let that fact lure into the conviction that it gives us a pass at a really painful but cleansing root cause analysis. The mere fact that my theater company exists doesn't prove that it should continue to do so. I'm weary of fundraisers where money gets passed up from artists to support the very organizations who we actually wish were able to support us. And rent parties? My god. Are you kidding me? You heard it hear first, because your friends won't tell you: The fact that you can't pay rent makes you look bad. Your rent party looks like a bad investment, smacks of desperation, and calls into question your worth as an artistically valuable organization. Fair or not, there it is. If you cannot pay your rent for so long that it warrants a rent party, you have failed. You have neglected to ask the tough questions of your organization, and you need throw a farewell party instead. (I speak as someone who has indeed thrown a farewell party instead.) When I see an arts organization that (to me) appears successful, it has something in common with all other seemingly successful companies ... a definable brand and image. They have figured out what they do well, and they continue to do that thing well, and (equally important) find the people that like whatever that thing is. I agree that many individual theater companies, and the community as a whole (and therefore, as both a reflection and a leader, TPS) are too quick to dilute our core flavor. Not everyone is going to like what we do, but we don’t need everybody to like it, we just need enough people to like it. We do that not by diluting but by enhancing the core. Those who like that flavor will come back. You know why I don't go to TGI Fridays? Because it can't possibly be special with 843 items on the menu. "But it has such broad appeal! You can get anything you want!" No. No, I can't, actually. Because what I want is food that doesn't suck. I love TPS a lot. But I am wary of ArtsCrush. In theory it's neat, but it concerns me. Is "cross-discipline" the new "multi-media" (which, despite all the jizz spilt on it, did not really engage future audiences as was promised, did it)? I am a lover and admirer of the non-theatical arts, but we are theater artists, and so it's on the theater that we need to focus for now. Do a thorough spring-cleaning. Strip away everything that does not directly serve us. Be thoughtful, but not precious. Oh my gosh - look at that beautiful hardwood underneath those old, fugly carpets! Let's refinish it. Then bring back in the furniture we decided to keep, and add new pieces that fit. Decorate. Fill the fridge again. THEN we can invite our non-theater brethren over for a party. No cover charge & a host bar.
Peggy Gannon is now following The Typepad Team
Jul 27, 2010