Saturday, January 19, 2013

creating a/broad, January 19, 2013

Yes, It's Fucking Personal
by Cameryn Moore

I got dumped this week. We had the phone call on Wednesday, met on Thursday. We’re talking, we’re on good terms, but this thing between us is not going to go the way either of us thought it would. Long-term, it just wasn’t going to work. Things have changed. It wasn’t me, it was him.

My director dumped me.

I wasn’t really surprised. I only knew the barest aspects of his departure from a theatre space, but I knew that the odds were not good for our relationship, if our rehearsals and readings and tech time and performances were all supposed to be at that space. Of course it would be hard for him to be there.

I wish he hadn’t overestimated, three weeks ago, how quickly he would be able to move on. But I’m not mad. No. I know what it’s like. I have been involved in “artistic differences” and in-house disputes and organizational break-ups, we’ll just go ahead and use that word, and it all sounds one way in print and it is so much fucking harder in real life. My previous performance company folded three and a half years ago, and the scars are still tender. For a year and a half after the split, I had to leave before curtain calls, furtively wiping tears from my eyes, when I saw former members performing elsewhere. But I did my best to keep my public self neutral. It’s just a business decision. They were drawn to other projects. It’s just the way things are. It’s artistic differences. It’s not personal. 

So, if we stick with the relationship metaphor, it’s like he called off our first date at the last minute

OF COURSE IT’S FUCKING PERSONAL. If we’re doing our art right, it is coming from something core, something deeply, deeply… well, deep. When those schisms in artistic circles happen, it’s easy to say “it happens, get over it”. But “getting over it”, when “it” = an undone relationship, is not an actionable item on a to-do list, especially when you’re on the receiving end, the one being jettisoned. I have dumped and I have done the dumping, and I know that it hurts a lot more to be dumped. If you’ve been with a company for a long time, that hurt can last for a lot longer than you think. So, if you’re reading this, my would-have-been director, it really is okay. I totally, totally get it.

The space is still honoring my scheduled dates, for both the reading (January 23) and the run of my show (it’s called RELEASE, and it’s running April 8-13). This is good news. I’m also happy because Mr. Would-Have-Been still wants to work with me personally on anything that doesn’t involve working at the space—dramaturgy, movement coaching, accent work. That’s amazing and excellent, because the new direction of my show is sending me toward character work, that is, characters that aren’t me, and BOY HOWDY do I need support in learning how to write and perform like that. So, if we’re sticking with the relationship metaphor, and we might as well, because, well, is it working for you? Are you following me? Good. So, if we stick with the relationship metaphor, it’s like he called off our first date at the last minute, and he and I have agreed to be friends and we’re still hanging out, but it’s a little awkward, because our friends don’t all like each other…

The hardest part is, I didn’t put any contingency plans in place. I did tell the theatre space that I was a little concerned, but I did not go out and find a Plan B director, even though I had a little twinge of a feeling that it wasn’t going to work out. You don’t start recruiting an understudy director on the basis of a twinge. Or do you? No, that would be weird. That’s not the way relationships work! So all the emotional stuff is still here a little bit, magnified by artistic panic that I don’t have anyone to work with now, and I’m on a timeline that suddenly feels even more stressful than ever, and I want this show to be good, and I can’t make it good on my own, and I know it’s not me, but it still hurts a little and OH GOD NOBODY LOVES ME.

How do I even find them? What should I wear? How do I talk to them?

When do I get to stop investing myself in my work like this? Does that ever happen? Does everyone else have this problem? Does anyone else have this problem? I’ll ask you, people who are more veteran than me in the performance/writing arena—and there are many of you—does this ever get easier, where we can face with equanimity a sudden relation-shift or an interpersonal crisis or a terrible review or an artistic schism, and it is not about us or the relationship or about our worth as human beings, but just purely about the art and the production thereof? How do you do it? How do you get that kind of detachment? Because right now I could stand to have a truckload delivered to my front porch.

This all feels especially hard because I left three years of working with the same director in Boston to come to Montréal, and in my current mood I can’t seem to avoid thoughts of “amicable breakup” and “we knew the long-distance thing wouldn’t work.” See what I mean? She was the only director I ever had, and Would-Have-Been was to be my second, and now I’m feeling a little gun-shy and like I don’t know what I’m doing. MUCH LIKE DATING.

My first two directors I just met; we ran in the same social circles. Now I have to go out and look for a director, do the whole coffee-date thing, or whatever the equivalent is in theatre circles, and I’m NERVOUS. How do I even find them? What should I wear? How do I talk to them? What if they’ve got baggage that they don’t know about? What if they just can’t handle hearing how often I use the word “fuck” in casual conversations? What if they don’t like my work? What if they don’t like me?

Is there an OKCupid for theatre relationships? I may need it.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree. Looking for creative partners feels like dating...


Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.