Let say you have a squeak in a floorboard you want to fix it. And you fish for a living. So you try and repair the squeak by going fishing. You fish all day, come home, and the floor still squeaks. Next day, you change bait. No luck. Time goes by, you change tackle, change fishing holes. You hold conferences with other fishers. No matter how hard you fish, that squeak isn’t going away.
We complain about audiences, complain about progress, complain about our place in the cultural dialogue. We try to fix it by fishing. We change marketing, expand into educational programming, reach into other media. But we’re not picking up the hammer. And we’re working at a remove from where we live (and we want to fix something personal in our practice, something close to heart, close to self-definition).
If changing how we are doing a thing doesn’t address a problem, we need to look at what we’re doing, very basically. A play was never the point of theater – seeing is the point. Specifically, seeing with the eyes of faith. Meaning that the event is brought forward in a way where consent to it (orientation towards it) causes a conversion – from person alone to a person up out of the grave – a person alive and plural in the civic world.
How may we make what we’re doing a meal? This suggestion, from a long-ago (now) essay by Jeff Jones, totally changed (converted) my orientation (away from fishing). I think I have found the squeak or two that makes me a rude tenant. Am looking for the hammer – a method of production that is plural, civic.