Here at Theatrefolk, we’re a pretty happy crew.
We love our jobs, we love going to conferences, we love talking to our customers and sharing our plays. A lot of the time, our travels are exhausting, but it’s the kind that comes with hard satisfying work. It’s fun.
Sometimes, it’s not so fun. Sometimes, we don’t feel the love. Sometimes our exhaustion comes from staring at the walls as we endeavor to stop from gouging our eyes out with dull pencils.
I kid……. Really……. Sort of.
This past weekend we went to a new conference for us, in Cedar City, Utah.
On paper it was a great conference. Over 2000 students and teachers attend a High School Shakespeare Competition. There are acting and technical workshops and events. We got to watch the technical Olympics where there are events in Rigging, Props, Costume, lighting and so on.
I love that this conference exists. I love that so many students are engaged in Shakespeare. It’s wonderful. And, on paper, a great fit for us. We have a lot of Shakespeare friendly products.
Alas, we didn’t see 2000 students and teachers. I’m not sure we saw 20 teachers. And those we did saw were of the ‘technical’ sort – not so interested in plays.
Less than 2o teachers over 2 days makes the temples pound. It costs some cash to get to Utah. It costs, mentally, to sit in an empty room for hours and hours. It sort of feels like your soul is being sucked through your nose.
Ok, enough with the negative attitude! What good did we learn in Utah?
Well, every time we meet someone who’s never heard of us is a good thing. Every time we get to introduce our products to a new customer is good. All it takes is one new customer sometimes to make a conference worthwhile.
I also taught a workshop on creating a three dimensional Shakespeare character. I focus on how a flesh and blood character will win an audience more than a linguistically perfect performance. It’s a new workshop for me and I felt really good about it.
I had a small but willing crowd and we had a fun hour. At the end, a teacher came up to me and said ‘You saved my weekend.’ She had been trying to emphasize modernizing Shakespeare with her students and was having difficulty getting her point across. I’m not a natural workshop presenter and I work very hard to create and perfect my material. That moment really made my weekend.
And the drive from Las Vegas, through the Arizona mountains, and on to the Red rocks of Utah was stunning. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The power of nature forced all other issues off to the wayside, as we drove off into the sunset.
You win some, you lose some.