heading back in time some more :
in 2010 i gave a talk at
magnetic north theatre festival
it was for a panel on building audiences
about 3/4 of the way through
i said :
Consider this… If you really did want new audiences, you would have them by now.
Suppose that this were true. You know where they are. You know where they live, work, and play. Why haven’t they seen your work yet?
this was when i first talked about going to the mall.
sometime in the early 2000s
the international council of shopping centers estimated that
92% of canadians over the age of 12
have visited a shopping mall in the past 30 days
that is a staggering number.
consider how many canadians have visited a
gallery live theatre or museum
in the last 30 days
so, to the mall !
i counselled to the artists & administrators present
at magnetic north
with some predictions / prescriptions
especially for artists going to the mall
and in the book version of the talk ( available here )
i admitted that 2 years later
i still had not followed my own prescription
my reasons might not be so different from yours…
- I don’t like the mall. The air is bad.
- Fluorescent mall lighting gives me a headache. Plus it’s bad for my skin.
- I don’t need to buy more stuff.
- The mall is far away and public transit takes effort.
- The mall is boring. People are boring. And lonely. If we start chatting, I will have to listen and they might not stop talking. Their stories might make me feel bad. Or I might yawn. That would be rude.
- It’ll be embarrassing.
- Nobody cares.
- I will be uncomfortable.
- I will make other people feel uncomfortable.
- What will I say? What will I do? How will they react?
It’s a jumbled, confused list. And as I go on listing reasons for not doing the very thing I’ve advised you to do, the truth becomes ever more clear: These objections are precisely the reasons to do it.
these objections relate back more or less
to one objection :
I foresee discomfort. I am scared and feel anxious. The freedom is troubling. It may be very awkward. What if I suck?
i wrote & told myself
i can only berate myself in words borrowed from
another writer ( annie dillard, if i’m not mistaken ) :
are you a woman, or a mouse ?
…to the 4, 5, 6 brave women in on this experiment
who have not had this one sitting on the back burner
for a few years – mulled over, forgotten, stirred & stewed again –
kudos & thank you.