All day long I have been cursing Fortune in just this way. I have been trying to work out how I have ended up in this position of only drawing 7 people a night at shows, and those mostly friends and family and mostly the friends and family of my collaborators. I think: I should just give up. There is no reason to continue in the face of such extreme ambivalence.
And yesterday I read a little posting by a much more successful friend who confessed to wanting to leave the theatre over and over again and the outpouring of protest and support for him was extreme. “No! Don’t go! We need you! We love your work!” Etc Which is all true. His work is great and people love it and need it. But I read it and imagined that if I were to publish a similar sentiment, no such outpouring would occur. I feel like people would say, “Oh, how hard for you. Well, whatever else you do will be great.” Or something that would imply, “We’ve all been waiting for you to do that.”
Or if anyone would protest, they would protest from somewhere far away from me and their support would be only in words. And that would only be a handful of people who know what the theatre means to me.
I tried to do some history – to work out how it is that my peers have found a way to draw audiences or get fancy gigs or book prestigious shows. Why are they succeeding where I am so heartbreakingly a failure?
And it feels like fortune, on one hand.
My collaborators keep leaving the city, for one thing. Or the art. Or both. And that’s just fortune. They got married and moved away. Again and again and again. So what was once a team becomes a one woman band and not because of the work, no, just fortune.
And where one company thrived by the sheer whimsy of the moment, we, I, have receded. And sometimes it’s because we booked a show in Tony season and sometimes it’s just a busy season and no one can come and sometimes it’s just the mood of the hour.
Sometimes in the arts, people like to talk about the cream rising to the top. Those people are usually the people on top because fortune favored them so.
Fortune has not often favored me in these last years and I don’t know how to win her favor back again.