January 31, 2010

Goodbye to the Guthrie

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:27 pm

The day has come — after spending our entire process here, since Dec. 1, it’s time for us to leave the Guthrie and go out into the wide world.

It’s been even more fun for me to be here for the second time. I didn’t have to spend as much time figuring out what I need to do, and who I need to talk to in all the many departments that keep this place running. Also, being on one of the mainstages was a change, and brought a lot of new experiences we didn’t have last year.

I’ve seen many cool pictures of the Guthrie, as there are many cool things to take pictures of, but this is my absolute favorite, that I found on Flickr (click to visit the photographer’s page).

Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis Minnesota

There’s so much I could say about this place, I wouldn’t really know where to start or end. If you’ve been reading through my “On the Road Again” posts from this year or last year, I’ve said a lot of it along the way. What stick with me most of all are three things:

1. The kind, talented, and fun people who work here and care deeply about the work that is put on here

2. The blessing of having a facility like this to work in, that’s thoughtfully designed to assist in production, but also inspires the creative process with its beautiful architecture and sunlit spaces.

3. The intelligence, sophistication and generosity of Minneapolis audiences. The pride that the people here take in their many theatres is really amazing, and it has always been a pleasure to give performances and talkbacks here.

I’m very grateful to have been able to work here twice, and I hope to be back again soon!

And now, placing tongue in cheek a bit, I have devised a graphic that captures what the experience of working here has been like for Nick and I, who spend most of our time in the ragtag world of New York Off-Off- and lesser Off-Broadway theatre, where if you have internet and enough room to tape out your set in the rehearsal room, you’re living like a king.

Working in a regional theatre that operates year-round with the same staff has been a bit of a culture shock, because everything is so specifically organized and every little thing happens exactly the same way on every show, so everyone knows what to expect. We’ve come in like a very small bull in a very large China shop, and especially this year with our previous experience, we’ve been working hard to knock over as little as possible while fitting our process into the way things are done here.

Whenever I talk about the Guthrie, being a geek, it tends to come out in Star Trek metaphors. Last year I was fond of saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if one day the Guthrie lifted off from the bank of the Mississippi into space, as a fully self-sufficient traveling intergalactic theatre platform.

The more specific Star Trek metaphor that I often find myself using is the Borg — in the most loving possible way something can resemble the Borg — mostly because of the system of paperwork that has to be done with certain forms, and only on Guthrie-supplied computers. If you are to do a show here, you will be assimilated. Nick and I didn’t have to get any implants, thankfully we had a Guthrie Intern Interface which handled most of the translation for us. But I think especially this year we’ve learned to become one mind with the Guthrie Collective, and I hope our hosts have not found us to be too disruptive to the normal routine here.

And so, I have created this image in honor of our assimilation:

For anyone who has worked here it will be self-explanatory, but the flashing thing is the ubiquitous door lock that prevents access from pretty much everywhere to anywhere else, unless you have your magical Guthrie badge on you.