Life Saver

There was a time not so long ago when I was that adrift member of the post-academic actor tribe awaiting for the big kids to make up a project I could work on.

Then I found religion.

I had listened to the idle talk that actors aren’t generative artists and taken it to heart. I was living the malaise.

Then I got knocked off my donkey.

I got a call from a man who had created and ArtSpark team and was short an actor. Hey! I was an actor! Hey! I was going crazy having nothing to do after my office day ended!

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I was now part of Team Infinite Perspectives.

Our task was to create a new theatre piece given a Spark on opening night that was be presented to the public in three months, and then presented after extensive notes and corrections to the public again a week later.

We were given a budget and a 24-hour office.

We were given space for the show.

And on opening night we were handed a whole PILE of Spark.

I won’t recount the process step by step that can be found over at the Team Blog. But what I will say is that through the ArtSpark Festival and it’s gracious extension of the opportunity to fail on someone else’s dime, I figured out that I really like making plays. Not just getting the lines right, but being in the generative trenches.

It also gave me the opportunity to play around with projections and do voiceover for a video game team. (haHA!)

I met the majority of my Austin theatre tribe through this festival one way or the other.

I met Will Snider, my partner in crime with Cambiare Production, I met indefatigable Andrew Varenhorst, director Aaron Sanders, I met my Gobotrick folks and my Texas State alums through Will. And the rest I met through Foundation events of one stripe or another. (I also won Miss Congeniality!)

Will (and Co.) won the Festival Grand Prize ($5000) in ArtSpark 2, and now works for the Foundation. I got Will. Fair’s fair.

And now?

ArtSpark 4 is up!

Beginning Thursday at the OffCenter in Austin we have another round of theatre groups giving it a go.

I know a whole raft of folks involved, and haven’t seen them in months, so you know they’ve been working hard.

This this year the sparks consist of:

“a piece of visual art and a musical composition that were produced and submitted by your team’s Visual Artist and Musician(s) prior to the start of the Festival. This year, teams will also receive the Dell Children’s Hospital play room as one of their "sparks." The “sparks” will serve as the jumping off point for Creative Teams, since no work on the team’s new pieces can begin prior to the start of the Festival. Theatre artists and video game designers will use these “sparks” to begin brainstorming on the Creative Team’s new play or video game. Once development of the Creative Team’s video game or play begins, that team’s visual artist and musician(s) will create a new piece of visual art and music that responds to the entire team’s ArtSpark experience. The theatre artists or video game designers on your Creative Team are required to incorporate the visual art and music into the new play or video game.”

Sweet.

The Theatre Showcase are at the OffCenter.

The Music Showcase are at the Scoot Inn

The Game Showcases are on the ACC campus

The Visual Art showcases are at the Pump Project

All are worthwhile. I encourage you to check it out. These sorts of festivals are exactly what builds the kinds of community I’m talking about. And they just may save lives.

Glenda Barnes in Loose Lips

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