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A Love Letter to Process (While Product is on Pause)

Playwrights’ Corner

Hello Dear Larkees! As Fall settles in around us, a time we’d normally be celebrating the return of artists and audiences to our studios, we’re feeling the absence of our communal spaces with a bit more *oof* this month. But, we also take heart in reminding ourselves that while some aspects of theater are on pause, the process never stops. And we really mean never. So, as the official start of the season comes and goes, we have the following message.

This is a play in process:

black and white image of a printed script and handwritten notes on top of it

And so is this:

Two people with masks on have a conversation as they sit on benches overlooking the Manhattan Bridge

This is a play in process:

A studio rehearsal room with large windows and red curtains. Kimber Lee sits at a fold out table with Thomas Kail as they watch actors at music stands read from scripts.

And so is this:

a large group of pigeons on a sidewalk eating scattered crumbs

In other words, the work right now may not look or feel like the work. It may look and feel exactly like the work. Either way, it is the work.
As an institution that enthusiastically believes your words will move our world towards a place of greater understanding, we need you to know that whatever you are doing or not doing is not only okay, but necessary. Your identity and worth cannot be measured in pages generated, and there is a tremendous amount of invisible work that goes into writing. How do you measure the value of your brain running? How do you account for the lived experiences that influence your work and engage your imagination? How do you measure the impact of the quiet, the struggle, the caretaking, the worry, the reading, the listening, and the reflecting that adds up to your next play?
We understand there is pressure to produce. In a culture that values what you do above who you are, that measures worth in dollars, and that looks to productivity as the sole metric of success, we want to say that we reject that value structure. Being creative is about what you get out of it, not what it gets out of you. Your work, which includes (must include) your rest, has the power to shift hearts and culture towards a more liberated reality. So please find peace in your process. And please take care of you.

Thank you to everyone out there sustaining this work and yourselves!

A version of this post appeared in The Lark's October 2020 Newsletter. To get more posts like this one straight to your inbox, sign up for The Lark's mailing list!