When you are on Anthony-time, things move quickly. Three months ago I was just another college theater kid in Chicago hoping to figure out what the heck I was going to do after graduation. Like a lot of people I had a tendency to tunnel vision while working on shows at school, so I barely got out to see any shows myself. One evening I found myself knocking about Wicker Park with a few hours to spare, and I had heard about this show Crime Scene from two completely different sources. A friend from school I ran into on the train north into the city, was going up to see a show with her friend. Also, at the time I was taking a class with the amazingly talented Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman, and she had sent out a thing to everyone about this show she had done some work on. I did not even put two and two together until I walked into the theatre. I had been to Collaboraction before. I’d seen a couple shows, but I was not prepared for the raw power that was the Crime Scene experience. I stayed for the entire post-show discussion and afterwards, asked a few questions, and then afterwards I went up to Anthony, introduced myself, mentioned I was a theater student, and was interested in both working in theater in Chicago, and the themes discussed in Crime Scene. He handed me a business card and suggested we get coffee sometime to talk.
I didn’t have a game plan. This was just something I started doing. Anyone I met, anyone I had worked with in the past. I would go up to them and say – “hey I want to do that thing you do, might I have a moment of your time to pick your brain about how to go about doing that?” A week later I met with Anthony, and he laid out his game plan for how Crime Scene could shape the nature of the company in the future and how they tackle social issues through these powerful moments of theater. I was confused. Was there someone else in the room that he was talking to? Certainly this was not an Artistic Director of a theater company spitballing strategy and trajectory with me – that would be preposterous. But then again if you have been in a meeting with Anthony, you know that preposterous is always the lead-in to that brilliant solution or next idea.
To quote Anthony, “It was fate” that our meeting happened when it did – an internship slot had just opened up in the office. Artistic/Administrative Intern. I spent my college years as an actor and a techie. I didn’t know much about what happened behind the scenes in the back office. But this was a theater company doing great things, that I was excited to work for, so I jumped at the opportunity. A week later I was sitting in on staff meetings talking about marketing and rebranding, and involved with meetings about establishing a new website, and how best to reach out to our customers. How should we best represent each of the shows in our Sketchbook festival? Can you write a two-sentence blurb for each show and come up with iconic images for each piece? Sure thing. I was dropped straight into the deep end of the inner workings of the great machine that is Collaboraction. Anthony and Corinne are both amazing to work for, and there is always music going to help underscore concept discussions, and sometimes we need to take that 15 minute discussion about the softball team and how we need to focus more next week to take down the enemy (I mean opposing team).
A couple weeks ago, nice and settled into my position - I had my own desk space that I usually worked at (adorned by pictures of cats drawn by Stella) – it came to our attention that an actor had dropped from Sketchbook, and we needed to quick turn around and recast. Once again Anthony suggest – hey why don’t we have David go in to audition for that? So I had an audition the next day with director Mignon Stewart. I went in, read for the part and got cast. Now a few rehearsals in, I am looking forward to stepping on to the stage as an actor for Collaboraction in Everything is Permitted by Chelsea Marcantel, one of this year’s Shorts. The play carries right along with my Collaboraction experience as my fellow actors and I all speak in unison and argue over how to best use (or in my case abuse) the myseterious Dreamachine.
In three short months, I went from just seeing a show on a whim, to having an internship and being involved in company decisions on a daily basis, to now being a cast member in Sketchbook 13. Anthony-time. It moves very quickly.