August Schulenburg is Everywhere

My friend just bought a 1979 VW Super Beetle, and all of a sudden I’m seeing Beetles all over the place. August Schulenburg posted a great comment on a recent post I wrote, and all of a sudden I’m seeing August Schulenburg all over the place, too.

Want to follow along? First, you have to read Malachy’s awesome follow-up to my Absurdly Long Lead-Time In Theater post, where he pointed out that long lead-times discourage the idea that “theatre is a place to explore”:

Another aspect is that when work is done often and quickly it changes the way audiences approach it. Today, a play that has been “developed” over long period of time and then presented in a season that is only 5 plays long, has a lot of pressure on it to be more than it might be, artistically and financially.

The disappointment is sharper because it’ll be another 2 month before the audience goes to the next show when it’s reminded again of how ponderous theatre can be. But let’s say, for argument that a show is loved. Even this can be detrimental since it’ll still be 2 months before someone sees the next show – rather than capitalizing quickly on the bump the show gives the theatre.

August dug that, and then commented that:

I thought it was interesting that this conversation juxtaposed with some of the ideas happening over at the Collective Arts Think Tank – except they are pushing for even longer lead-times (and in a compelling fashion).

In a post on his Flux Theatre Ensemble blog, August links to the Collective Arts article, and then synthesizes his thoughts, coming down somewhere in the middle:

For Flux, however, our way may lie in the best of both proposals: bringing our development process more frequently to our audience, while at the same time not rushing plays to full production.

Which got me thinking, “Wow, this August guy is someone I should know.” And what should pop up on Zack Calhoon’s Visible Soul blog? “People You Should Know…August Schulenburg.” In the interview, he talks about a very cool thing called Flux Sundays:

When we are not in production, Flux meets weekly to workshop new plays from our community of playwrights. Directors are given 10-15 pages of new text, and have an hour and a half to stage them with the actors available….

Unlike a traditional writer’s group, this gives actors a chance to play on their feet; directors a chance to give new pages a three dimensional shape; and playwrights a chance to see their work in a setting closer to rehearsal than a cold seated read.

There have now been a number of plays we have workshopped from first scene to last in this manner; over several months of scenes, the actors and directors come to know and love the characters, leading to more informed staging than should be possible in an hour and half!

I really want to try something like that if I’m ever a resident playwright somewhere. And I also want to invent some kind of Slug Bug thing where you could whap someone every time you saw August Schulenburg. I would have kicked ass this weekend.

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