In the Audience

I’ve worked in theater in some form or another since high school. I have had a bad habit throughout my life in theater of being the type who says (or at least thinks) “I don’t want to go watch theater, I see so much of it from backstage, from the booth, I see it in rehearsals all day long…” So, I don’t sit in the audience much.

Now, because of the illness that blindsided me over a year ago, I really feel like a spectator sitting in the audience watching the future of green, eco-responsible theater rushing by in flashes. It’s difficult to do. So much has happened in the last few months, and ecoTheater has missed it. People close to me will roll their eyes when they find that as I write this lament I am sitting in a hospital room in Indianapolis waiting for my second and final round of high dose chemotherapy to commence. “Who cares about green theater?” they will ask.

I won’t lie — it isn’t that difficult to realize that I’ve missed out on reporting on the big Broadway initiative, supported as it is by the mayor of New York City, or the up and coming Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) (founded and driven by Ian Garrett, a regularly mentioned activist on ecoTheater), or the fast approaching Earth Matters on Stage (EMOC) at the University of Oregon, or, or, or…

I mean, it’s easy enough to see that there are bigger things to consider in my life right now. But, what can I say? For once, I hate being just a spectator. It’s like sitting through hours of rehearsal, not saying a word to anyone, and not participating in any way in the production.

For now, I have taken a leave of absence from my job with CTM and have done very little “work” of any kind in the last month or so. The only project I have spent time on is the Cancer Stories Project, hopefully the first stage work for the still-being-founded Wisconsin Story Project (WSP), which I hope to be a new model of theater that will take bits and pieces from many idea-makers, heading towards not just ecologically sound theater production, but also aiming to be a model of theater that solves for pattern (or here).

Who knows? Perhaps one day ecoTheater will simply morph into a blog tracking the progress of WSP, and how we’re doing our best to stay green, while tackling other issues that plague today’s so-called regional theater.

But no matter what I’ll be back here writing soon. So, don’t forget about me…


7 Responses to “In the Audience”

  1. 1 Lindsay Jones
    December 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Hang in there, buddy!

  2. 2 thenextstage
    December 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Take all the time you need, we’ll be right here waiting for you when you get back. All the best.

  3. 3 Abby
    December 5, 2008 at 6:49 am

    We haven’t forgotten about you Mike! In fact I think of you every time I read something about green initiatives in the theatre. You may feel like a spectator right now because of circumstances that are beyond your control, but you are far from that to us! Stay strong, and we’re holding that place in the booth or backstage, or in the rehearsal room or wherever until you are up and out of that damn hospital bed. No matter what project you are working on, be it EcoTheater or Cancer Stories, you are a PARTICIPANT and a LEADER. So yes, for the moment you must take care of this bastard cancer that has invaded your life, and when you do, you’ll come back stronger and we’ll want to hear what you have to say!

    Wishing you a full and speedy recovery,
    Abby Katz

  4. December 5, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Thanks guys. In the next few days you probably won’t see me around the web much (and I can’t even get on facebook here — it’s blocked), but I hope to back making posts soon — if not on ecoTheater then certainly on The C Word (theceeword.wordpress.com)

    Thanks to everyone who has commented, sent emails, and other stuff. Your support is very much appreciated by my wife, Dawn, and I.


  5. December 10, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I mention you, your efforts and your blog in every conversation I have about sustainable theater practices. You pioneered these efforts, raised the level of awareness and are a part of the continuing discussions whether you know it or not. I always tell folks to visit your blog and to look through all the archives. You’re definitely not forgotten.


  6. January 7, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    How are things Mike?
    I have shared your blog with many of my MA Arts Admin cohorts and we are all eagerly awaiting your return to writing (and cheering for your speedy recovery as well). But – as you pointed out- being a spectator is tough – so while we wait for your return to these pages we should all get off our duffs and make some news ourselves!
    All the best,

    • January 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you are out there somewhere keeping the ideas in this blog in the ears of theater artists. I’m all for people getting off their duffs!

      I am doing well, and hope to be back at work next month. The future of the ecoTheater blog remains uncertain, but I hope to be back at it soon.


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