Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Oldie but a Goodie

This morning I found myself thinking about theatre on the margins and busywork.  You remember busywork.  It's what school teachers give their kids when they don't have anything productive to do.

Here's the Merriam-Webster definition:
work that usually appears productive or of intrinsic value but actually only keeps one occupied
On a whim, I searched through Godin's blog archive to see if he had ever addressed busywork.

Indeed, he has:
"I get that you were busy. But did you do anything important?"

Busy does not equal important. Measured doesn't mean mattered.
And:

Perhaps it's time for the blank sheet of paper, the cancellation of a long-time money loser, the difficult conversation, the creative breakthrough...
He posted this in February 2010.  I wish I had read it then.

I should note that there's a huge difference between busywork and Miyagi-do karate training.  How do you know the difference?  Self-reflection, baby.  Asking yourself, "Why?"
There is always a new season in hand and we are too busy to ask the only vital question which measures the whole structure. Why theatre at all? What for? Is it an anachronism, a superannuated oddity, surviving like an old monument or a quaint custom? Why do we applaud, and what? Has the stage a real place in our lives? What function can it have? What could it serve? What could it explore? What are its special properties?
(From the Gospel According to Peter Brook, aka The Empty Space.)

There is room for experimentation and exercise.  There is room for development.  But it all must push forward to some goal, some realization of your mission.  Choose a spot on the horizon and work towards it.

As it turns out, choosing a spot on the horizon will enable you to better evaluate your actions and determine if you are spinning your wheels, or if you karate training:

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