Monday, January 18, 2010

Devoted & Disgruntled NYC

What are we going to do about theater?

I’ve been wanting to go to Devoted and Disgruntled since I read about the invitation and results five years ago on the Improbable Theater Company’s website. We learned about Improbable when we saw a performance of Shockheaded Peter in London. Since then, Kevin and I have been following the yearly D & D meetings in London via technology. The first D & D meeting’s transcripts may even be one source for our mission statement. Community, teamwork, support systems… these words were sprinkled throughout the meeting and inspire us with our own theater work. So, I’ve been eager for D & D to come to America. Finally it happened on January 16 and 17, a weekend meeting for New York to figure out what to do about theater.

D & D uses a technique called Open Space Technology. Open Space is a way to enable a diverse group of people to create and manage their own agenda. Over the past 20 plus years, it has inspired organizations to get ordinary people to work together to create extraordinary results. I’ve been curious about this technique, but I didn’t really look into it until a week or two before the D & D meeting last weekend. I’ve been inspired and will write another blog explaining what I learned about Open Space and the how-to book I read.

It’s hard to go to the center of a circle of strangers and tell everyone what you feel passionate about. It was great to see people just run up there and state their session and pick a time! Our friend, Jess Hooks, a designer, took a minute to formulate her session and bravely walked forward. Encouraged, I also went up there. I managed to run my own session on Sunday and I was very pleased with the results. I believe that everyone that took responsibility for a question or topic was able to walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. I think both Kevin’s and my mind were exploding by the end of the first day; we needed some Tylenol after to keep our heads from throbbing. What I loved about this weekend was that we get to read about all of the sessions that we didn’t get to go to. If you’re reading this blog, you can too. Read the transcripts of the event right here. It might inspire you as much as it did me.

Due to this weekend we found kindred spirits in search of creating a theater community. Happily there will be a monthly D & D meeting starting March. Kevin and I are excited to go to it. I’ve made some connections; met people that I probably won’t meet again but they gave me hope that we’re all supporting each other. What a great experience.

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