We help each other!!
I am reading Malcom Gladwell’s new book “Talking to Strangers” and one of the interesting points he makes is – We all default to truth. Most of us, when confronted with a situation where we must evaluate another human, we default to “they are telling us the truth.” It is an optimistic, positive point of view. I liked this. Thinking about my experience in the theater, I can confirm that. And I can confirm its cousin: “We All default to collaboration.” When I have experienced some of my most thrilling moments in the theatre, it was because of collaboration, positivity and synergy. When all of the elements (set, lighting, costumes, choreography, direction, etc.) all are connected — all are saying the same thing and l displaying similar themes as the libretto – magic happens. Let me give two examples.
This week I learned that ELEANOR’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS WISH will be playing in the downstairs main stage at the Greenhouse Theater at the same time as our show – THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS – will be in the upstairs main stage. My friend and colleague, Denise McGowan Tracy, wrote this sweet musical and I had the honor of seeing it in workshop. I am thrilled that we will be sharing our Christmas stories under one roof. ELEANOR is a show for young children – it is Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA), whereas our show is family entertainment – children 10 years old and above. So even though the two shows have somewhat similar themes – they are two very different shows, for different audiences and conveying different messages. Still, together, we intend to bring some joy, tenderness and a lot of fun to the families in the Chicagoland area. And I’m happy we can collaborate as theatrical neighbors.
This has also been an exciting week for staffing. Ahhh staffing, one of the most challenging issues for small businesses as well as theatrical producers. When one of our staff members told us they had to leave the show for family reasons, it left us in a bind. Of course, we wished them well and bid them adieu, but then we had to go into fix-it mode. I immediately sent an SOS email to some of my other staff and advisers. Then, we wrote emails to university musical theatre department chairs, other theatre professionals, colleagues and friends. Within two hours we had return emails from over 10 people, social media posts announcing the opening, and heaven knows how many forwarded emails! And within two days we had filled the position with an outstanding candidate. This all happened because of collaboration, and the desire to help other folks out.
I have said this before but this is more true than ever. Blessed to be able to work in the theatre community.