Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Show me the money...

written by Toksvig

So, is it okay to ask people to work for nothing?

Here's what I think about that: I think if you're asking people to work for no money, that's not the same thing as asking them to work for nothing, and it's a really important distinction.

I hope that the people who come and do one-off readings or workshops with me are there because they're getting something out of it, just like I am.

For me, doing a workshop or a reading is a much better way to get to know a potential collaborator than auditioning. I hate auditioning. It makes me nervous, so gods only know how the performers feel.

Also, making some work together lets performers get to know me and the company, and seems a much more equal way to try out working together, and see if we both like it.

We are making work,and there is no money, but it seems to me that everyone is getting something out of it: mainly, to know whether or not we might have a fruitful creative relationship.

I can't understand auditions, really. It's like a date night in which one person mostly says nothing, and the other one talks and talks about themselves, and then the silent person says thanks, goodbye, and maybe calls a few weeks later.

Doesn't call the person who auditioned, though. Calls their representative. Like calling their mother.

I don't get it. How can they know if they like you?

I like everyone to get on. Those who know and love me do tend to tease me about the fact that I wish I was living in a travelling circus of the mythical 'gypsy caravan' kind, where we're all one big extended family of creative misfits who stitch their wealth to their clothing and cook on a campfire.

Shakespeare had it good, you know. He worked with the same actors, over and over. He got to know them, got to learn their foibles and feats, got to learn them so well that he could write for them, and also write beyond them. Look past the stuff about getting to know another person which distracts you from the work you're both making, and really start to focus on making the work.

The question of casting is also an interesting one for me: I'm not very good at 'perfect casting' in terms of having an idea of the character in my head, and looking for the performer who can get closest to that.

I'm very good at knowing the people who bring me joy as collaborators, and I'm very interested in whom they think they would like to have a go at playing, and I'm very happy to take their choices and shape the storytelling around that.

The question for me is not so much "Am I too old to play Juliet?" but rather "What happens to the story if Juliet is your age when she meets Romeo?"

When I say "I made a theatre company", actually what I mean is that I discovered some things. I realised that the way I'm interested in working can broadly be described as The Copenhagen Interpretation, and I discovered that I'm happier working with certain people and I want to work with them as much as possible.

So I put up a website with the name on it, and our pictures. Some of our pictures. There are some who come and work with me more often, because they can, and others who cannot do that so often, but are just as much part of my circus troupe in my head.

That's my sort of collective: informal, bound only by joy in making work as and when we can, and want to.

If and when there is money, we spend it on ourselves and make work with money attached to it.

How about you? How do you like to work? What do you do about the money?

Here is today's video.

Don't forget you can join us for a chat on Twitter @AnotherNibble

No comments:

Post a Comment