Hello! I’d like to introduce myself formally to the internet. My name is Kristin Idaszak, and this fall I came aboard Collaboraction as Associate Artistic Director. The first thing I set about doing in my new position was figure out exactly what an associate artistic director does. It turns out, a little of everything.
The first project I embarked on in this new role was producing Workbook, a quarterly cabaret-style evening of short works from all media. Workbook's underlying principle is that in order to create truly great art, you have to push yourself to the point where failure is a possibility. But when a company has invested thousands of dollars in a production or a festival you don't really want to realize that possibility. Our hope was to create a platform for our artistic family to come and take those risks in a safe, nurturing environment. And, honestly, the result was just the opposite: a night of sometimes ridiculous, sometimes lovely, and always exciting theatre.
The two highlights of the night for me were Chucha Libre, a burlesque act comprised of two truly empowered women, Carolyn Hoerdemann and Sandra Delgado, do a 1950s-themed piece. Both women were delving into the form of burlesque for the first time. It's the only striptease I've ever seen where there was more putting on clothes than there was taking off, and it was absolutely riveting. It was also pretty wild to see an actor step onstage in a dinosaur costume to explain the meaning of love in my and Sarah Moeller's piece--the first night I was too nervous to watch and hung out backstage during our piece. But the next night I watched: the actors totally committed and the audience accepted it. Of course there was a dinosaur dancing with the main character in her boyfriend's living room. It worked, in a weird, wonderful way. Those pieces for me deomonstrated the rewards of that kind of risk-taking.
Workbook is only the first incarnation of our plans to incubate new work. One of the things that’s so exciting about being at Collaboraction right now is, of course, our new home. We have the ability to totally revolutionize how we program our season, with late-night and secondary programming in addition to our mainstage shows and SKETCHBOOK. My background is in playwriting, dramaturgy and literary management, so developing new works is paramount to my own artistic drive and vision. It’s what allows us to constantly question what theatre itself is. Collaboraction is has the perfect sensibility to incubate works that push the limitations of the theatrical form. Then we're no longer responding to the zeitgeist, we're shaping it.
Stay tuned for more information about SKETCHBOOK 11: Evolution, as well as our other plans for the space, season announcements, guest bloggers, and more!