And what a voyage it was!
It has been seven months since my last entry…seven months without an After Action Report! Why?
Let us say that the months immediately following the production of Four Quartets at Provision Theater were intense. And certainly the winter here in the Midwest (heck, in America) was relentlessly cruel and enervating. But we survived! More, we are, I think, stronger… and more pliable… for the experience.
And so…back to it—in fits and starts perhaps, but back to it.
Now, as for that AAR:
The fall 2013 production of Four Quartets at Provision Theater ended strong. Audiences grew modestly in the last couple weeks of the run, although they never numbered more than two-dozen (in a house that seats two hundred!). However, the audiences were warm and responsive, and there were, incredibly enough…and thankfully enough…audience regulars—folks who appeared at more than even a couple performances. That certainly was a humbling blessing.
After the final performance a couple of us—the Stage Manager, Prompter, and House Manager—drove to the South Loop for a relaxing bite and brew. We decelerated and debriefed. I was so lucky to have that crew aboard. Across four weeks they took care of all the myriad details—the sheer logistics—that are part and parcel of any production and provided me the luxury of focusing on performance and delivery.
Following the production I was invited to perform Four Quartets at Newberry Library, Chicago’s renowned research facility in the humanities. And so I did—on March 4, Fat Tuesday! The venue, a far smaller space than Provision Theater, brought its own challenges and its own deep rewards. Owing to the limitations of the space I developed and executed a new plan of attack and one that I believe greatly succeeded. The audience numbered about thirty and the Q&A discussion that followed the performance was richly enjoyable.
And now…what? I have had discussions with universities in the area and hope to mount Four Quartets in fall 2014 at one or more of them. The annual meeting of the T. S. Eliot Society beckons in September. (I missed last year’s meeting due to the production schedule and hope to make it this year. It is a marvelous get-together of the world’s leading Eliot scholars, who of course are a most learned lot…but who also know how to have a good time when the work is done.) And I have very recently “turned again” to Eliot’s Ash Wednesday, a dense, even mysterious work that I had read in bafflement years back…and that I hope now to unlock, confident that, like Four Quartets, there are truths and insights there that shall be important for me to uncover.
And that’s my AAR. Seven months late—but…there it is. I hope to contribute my jottings here on a somewhat more regular basis. Given the record of the last seven months, I suppose that won’t be too difficult to achieve.