Donate Now

Words from Wednesday Afternoons

Playwrights’ Corner
Lark Apprentices with David Henry Hwang
Artist Hour with David Henry Hwang

Artist Hour, a staple of The Lark's Apprentice Program, centers on the idea that no less important than the stories on stage, are the stories of how they got there.  This weekly opportunity allows Lark Apprentices to pick the brains of some of the many artists and industry leaders in Lark's community. Every Wednesday at 12:30, the group gathers to have lunch with an invited guest, and engage in conversation about their careers, theater, and the creative process. We asked Gillian, Emma, Maia, Jack, and Corey to share some of the moments during these hours that have stuck with them.  Here are the musings, the advice, and the lessons they've learned during the course of the year:

"Say what you want out loud. It makes it real."

– Emily Morse

Personally, I feel like I spend so much time hiding from vocalizing what I want out of fear of sounding naive or out of my depth. Having Emily encourage us to say what we want (and using evidence of how saying what she wants has not only helped her pursue her dreams more actively but also helped others assist her in attaining them) opened my eyes to how I was being my own biggest hindrance in achieving my goals. I was making them unattainable by not giving them voice, no one was taking them from me. – Maia Safani

Reed Birney with Lark Apprentices

"How can I complain about anything in my career again if I refuse to do something that scares me?"

– Reed Birney

So many times as an artist, I find myself cycling between thinking I can do anything and thinking all my ideas are crap. Reed reminded me that you can't let a fear of failure get in the way. That's truly failing, not trying rather than trying and falling flat on your ass. Another theater professional I worked with once said something similar about great actors, "They're more human. They're able to humiliate themselves onstage." Art is about allowing space for failure and allowing the ugly side of humanity to be exposed through your work, but as a perfectionist and a young artist, I find it difficult to allow myself to do. Quotes like these remind me it's okay to try. That's the only way to achieve greatness. 
– Gillian Heitman

"You can't drop a bomb in the audience's lap without knowing what's inside. I'm an agitator. If you leave as you came, I've failed. Nobody likes it, but you agitate to get through to healing."

–Dominique Morisseau

I really like this relationship to the audience and reason for why Theater is important to society. I personally don't go to the theater to be only entertained. Entertainment can certainly be a big part of it, but I really want to have something stirred up inside of me at least a little bit with my entertainment. I've also already found use for Dominique's bomb metaphor in my own work - particularly in the dance world.  My goal with tanztheater-type work is often for the "message" we're sending to be less verbal and more directly riling up those unspoken feelings and emotions in your guts more directly. I've found that even when the audience response my vary wildly due to this open-ended type of "messaging", I and my collaborators still need to know exactly what we're putting in the bomb. We can be precise and specific even if the explosion is meant to be messy and hard to contain. – Emma Kimball

"Throw yourself into whatever you do and don't be afraid of failure. Failure is the biggest gift. What you perceive as a failure in the moment is actually an opportunity."

– Alfredo Narciso

This stuck with me because we are all constantly afraid of this dark rain cloud of failure that is hovering over us. But when we come to peace with that rain cloud and think about failure in a positive way, it's incredibly freeing. I think about this quote all the time, and I have found that I am no longer as afraid of the dark rain cloud of failure. I think of it more as a rainbow of opportunity. – Jack Spagnola

Kimber Lee with Lark Apprentices

“Curiosity is the one thing that will save you.”

– Kimber Lee

A theme that felt really present throughout most of the Artist Hours has been summarized in what Kimber said. Over and over again we keep hearing about the importance of feeding and stretching and chasing your curiosity because you need something to keep you afloat. – Corey Ruzicano