Oxygen

by Esther Emery

As most of you know, the Listener moves into the theatre tomorrow.  At this point the MOXIE babes become shut-ins who see Listener, hear Listener, eat, breathe and think Listener in the sole company of one another.  In other words, don’t ask me if I’ve seen any good movies.

Jo Anne and I went out for a theatre fix last night, our last Sunday night of freedom.  As we looked for a parking spot, Jo asked me what I knew about the play.  I had read it.  She hadn’t.  We talked about how cool it is to go see things we didn’t work on.

Three Days of Rain was produced by Compass Theatre, directed by Rosina Reynolds (speaking of female directors), and features Sean Cox, Jason Heil and Christy Yael.  It’s been extended and is playing to capacity  houses.  And here I am compelled to mention my optimism regarding this makeover of 6th@Penn by Artistic Director Matt Thompson and Associate Artistic Director Sunny Smith, which feels anything but superficial (although Sunny also did a great job with the lobby.)

Jo and I started talking about the work before we were clear of the parking lot, and kept it up all the way back to my place.  And our top-speed tangle of “well, I would have” and “wouldn’t it be cool if they had” was the kind that can only be inspired by heart-deep commitment on the part of all the artists involved. 

This morning I’m feeling grateful for the vibrant San Diego theatre community.  The MOXIE babes need other people’s work to do our own best work.  A field of collaborative artists is nothing less than an ecosystem, complete with predators and bottom feeders, symbiosis, population trends and threat of extinction.  In any given season, two local theatre companies share actors and directors, patrons and critics, toasters and soft goods.  We do not work in a vacuum.

But the most useful exchange is within the craft itself.  I take from this play an idea.  Maybe it has to do with tempo, maybe relationships, maybe first impressions.  I carry it with me, break it down, rebuild it, push against what it represents, impose my own ideas upon it, and eventually, put it back into play.

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