Kate Tarker would like you to know...

I would like you to know that being a playwright is 30% rewarding, 10% lying on the floor doing nothing, 38% worrying about money, 5% theater gossip, 25% conversations with interesting people over cocktails, 9% made up statistics, and 55% a constant scheduling nightmare.

Read the rest of this hysterical and oh-so-true blog post HERE

Comfort

Wednesday, November 9, 2016. The day after the American presidential election. Donald T***p has won and I can't stop crying. Hillary Clinton wears a suit with fabulous purple lapels for her concession speech and I decide to read Sarah Kane's play Blasted. In hindsight, this was an awful choice on a day that was already so dark. In hindsight, this was the perfect choice on a day that was already so dark.

For anyone who knows the play, you know that it is grotesque, challenging, terrifying. It's the kind of play you can't look away from, where even reading the words silently in your mind makes your stomach churn. Even with all of the magical elements, you still wonder if someone, somewhere, is going through something like that right now. And with all you know about the wars and genocides of the world, you're pretty certain there is.

Weeks later, there is one moment that won't let me go. The moment when I had to put down the play for fear I would scream (and since I was reading this on a bus, I feel that could have been alarming to my fellow passengers). It was a simple stage direction:

Ian crying, huge bloody tears. He is hugging the Soldier's body for comfort.

The Solider has just raped and mutilated Ian before killing himself. And yet the body that moments before was Ian's greatest source of pain is now his last source of comfort.

The line is so chilling in its aptness, in its horror, and in its tenderness. How deep our human need for comfort goes, how badly we need to feel the bodies of other people, that we will cling even to the one who has so severely wronged us. What would we not do for a moment of comfort?

Identity

What does it mean to have an artistic identity? Or a professional identity? Or even an identity at all? Is it liberating to define one's practice and profession? Or is it limiting? Does it provide a home base or a restrictive perspective?

What does it mean to have a multi-hyphenate identity? Does it mean you are interested in many things? Does it mean you are competent in many things? Does it mean you must excel at every label you stick between those hyphens? Is it just a way of sounding pretentious? Or is it a refusal to hone one's skills, a bullish insistence in keeping all doors open? Does it simply negate the purpose of even defining an identity.  

I currently identity as a multi-hyphenate; someone who does and is interested in many things. In my mind (or perhaps my dreams) these things are complementary. Each informs and improves the other, so working on one is really doing work in service of all. So, when I spend hours pouring over a dense academic text, trying to make sense of the complex ideas and wondering why the author can't just make their point more directly, I tell myself that this work informs my performing life. And when I perform, and go through the agonizing stage anxiety that always seems to swell up inside me, I insist that it is helping me become a better dramaturg. And when I offer (what I hope is constructive) criticism on a colleague's work, I pat myself on the back, for, surely, this is making me a better academic. I don't doubt this. But I do wonder if the transfer is more laborious than what I originally realized. Do the skills acquired in one domain magically hop over and help you in another? Are they assimilated so concretely into your body that you can't help but use them at all times? Perhaps, I don't doubt that this happens in some instances. But are there also times when we must be more intentional about employing these "crossover" skills in different domains.