Friday, February 13, 2009 12:07 PM
Welcome to new and returning members of the Bay Area Playreading group. It's been awhile since our last reading -- I've been thinking a lot about the meetup, and talking to several of you about how to evolve it going forward. I wanted to share my thoughts, and recruit you in what I hope will be an exciting new chapter of growth.
First, some quick history: I started the group two and half years ago with no acting experience, just an intuition that meeting strangers in public to read plays would be fun. Twenty-four plays later, the group has succeeded in every way I hoped it would. I have met wonderful people (all of you), been exposed to works I would have never found on my own, and participated in some great readings and conversations. One of my favorite all-time moments was the evening nine of us gathered at Martin Macks to read Caryl Churchill's "The Skriker" and made a crazy play and crazy character come to life. Our running jump at "Cymbeline" was another highlight for me, and strangely just ahead of the zeitgeist, since there have been at least 3 big productions in New York since our reading.
My life outside the group has grown busier in the past few years, and the role of orchestrating and facilitating the monthly meetups has unfortunately become more than I can handle on my own. It would make me sad for the group to simply end, and at some point I may need to step down as Organizer. However, for now I would love to try shaking things up a bit so that enough energy is flowing in the group to keep it going, and drive even more fun and interesting projects.
So, with one eye on my own bandwidth and the other on the needs of the group, my general thought is to transition the meetup away from a monthly "meeting" facilitated by me and more towards a platform for running a variety of member-driven projects. Going forward, these might include:
- Open-to-the-public readings in San Francisco (like we've been doing)
- Readings in the East or South Bay
- Readings with a capped # of attendees
- Readings with or without alcohol, for those with strong preferences
- Readings of work-in-progress plays by local/budding playwrights
- Iterative and/or wacky projects?e.g., multiple rehearsals of a spoken word "Chorus Line" that then gets performed somewhere
- Deeper integration with the professional theater community in San Francisco
The Meetup service allows me to designate an infinite number of "Assistant Organizers" -- which enables any of you to schedule and manage events, email the entire list, or take on volunteer roles to help make the meetups better. The group is always growing and today includes 200 members, which is a considerable community to draw from for ideas and projects. Let me know if there is there is a play reading or project you think you would like to run, and I would be delighted to work with you however I can to make it a success. Feel free to email/call me, or let's talk at our next event.
To kick off our Act 2, I am scheduling a reading of Sartre's No Exit for mid-March. This may be the last "typical" reading that I personally run for awhile, but please do take me up on the offer to help support and evolve the group in whatever ways interest you. Creative projects, and ones that involve other people really do fuel the soul. And although I'm not sure exactly how this new experiment will turn out, I believe our group is elastic enough -- and dare I say cool enough? ;) -- to be be good fun, and a good thing, for many people.
So, to quote Mrs. Sorken from our last Christopher Durang reading: "Let the games begin!"