It happens, not very regularly, but every once in a while. I’m standing at the Theatrefolk table at a festival or conference. Someone approaches. They ask a question about the plays. The company. Who are we? What is this? I answer. And the response of the person is extreme revulsion. Ok, I’m exaggerating. But it’s all a variation on – obviously your plays suck, they’re no good, they’re childish, they’re cute (WE don’t do cute, WE do Chekov), I’ve never heard of you and thus you can’t be any good, I “guess” there’s a market for this, and so on…. and so on…. and so.
Now. We cannot be all things to all people. Nor do we want to be. Theatrefolk exists in a narrow niche and further to that we have an even more specific vision of what we publish within that niche. We love our niche, we love what we do, and how we do it, but it’s thread through a needle. It makes perfect sense that there are many for whom Theatrefolk is not a good fit.
Which is a lovely sentiment. And quite logical. And yet……
When it happens, when revulsion comes my way it’s like a thousand red hot flaming knives being plunged into the very fibre of my being. And I’d like to repeat the joke and say I’m exaggerating. But I’m not. It hurts bad when someone reacts in a negative fashion to Theatrefolk. It’s personal. Sometimes it takes hours to get over one offhanded “you suck” remark.
I suppose it’s because Theatrefolk is not some company I work for, it’s my work. It’s me. It’s the physical embodiment of who I am: a small, dorky yet impassioned red haired fish in the big pond. So when someone revuls in my general direction, it’s like they’re hating on me. They hate me. Which, I am fully aware they are not and do not. They don’t know me. They don’t know Theatrefolk is a physical embodiment of me.
Which means if I’m taking every sling and arrow personally, it’s not their fault, it’s mine. I know this. And yet…..and yet. It’s something I have to work on, get better at, grow a thicker skin.
And the truth of the matter is, those who are regular Theatrefolk customers are because they like what we do and how we do it. And if someone doesn’t like what we do and how we do it, its way better that they go somewhere else. It’s good for them, and good for us. We can’t nor do we want to be all things for all people. That’s ok.
Now if only I could remember that every time revulsion happens…..working on it……still….. working……