I thought I'd be writing about the finale to Breaking Bad in this post because I found it to be completely inevitable and wonderfully satisfying. It was as perfect as it could be. The word "catharsis" bounces around in my brain when I think of it. It was satisfying. That's all I have to say about it in this particular post.
Instead, this post is about the parts of me that aren't about playwriting and stretching muscles that either haven't been stretched in a long time, or stretching boundaries into new territory.
I attended a tiny Liberal Arts college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Coe College. It had a student body of about 1,200, which was roughly the size of my high school. It suited me well in size. The focus of a Liberal Arts education is having development in many different areas and subjects; we were meant to be well-rounded. Even thought I was a Directing major, I found myself learning Greek, physics, a class on white-tailed deer populations in Iowa (don't ask), concert choir, 2-D art, Russian Art and Culture in the 40's, Spanish poetry, and more. I was stretched, my mind was stretched, my experiences were stretched. I was concentrated on directing, but not completely.
When I attended the University of Iowa's Playwrights Workshop, I found myself concentrating on playwriting. Only playwriting. It was more akin to a conservatory for music or dance experience, where 9/10 of the experience is focused on your particular concentration. Apart from a few directing experiences peppered in there or an Anthropology class on the Latin@ diaspora, I was a playwright.
After I graduated, I found myself still in the mindset that I was a playwright. And that's it. That was my definition. Even when I directed a couple of operas for Project Opera of Manhattan, I didn't define myself as a "Theatre Artist," I was a playwright who was directing an opera. I'm still battling with this definition of myself. I don't know how other theatre artists define themselves. Is a theatre career closer to a Liberal Arts experience where we have a concentration, such as playwriting, but the understanding is that we are all floaters, moving from one position to another. Are the boundaries more fluid? Or, are we bound to one aspect of theatre and expected to stay there in those boundaries?
I'm in the midst of setting aside my playwright self for a bit while I let my first draft of my most recent play simmer in the back of my mind. I'm playing in the sandbox of other parts of myself. For example, I love drawing. I love cartoons. In fact, I visited California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) with the prospect of becoming a Disney animator. I still wonder if that should have been my path, but "What If" is a sad, unhelpful game to play. BUT! I'm making a pact with myself to draw everyday. Here's a drawing I did yesterday. Be kind; I'm out of practice. Which is the point. What parts of yourself are you stretching lately? What part of yourself has been forgotten for too long?