"To be in the room with a sustained attention and empathetic relationship to others is remarkable. I think the theatre is a kind of gym for the soul. You go to the gym for your body, here you go for your soul, and for your ability to connect with the outside world, which I think is diminishing. For that reason, there is an appetite."
This comes from a Huffington Post article by Ashley Wren Collins, called, "'The Play's the Thing:" Getting Butts in the Seats." See, I'm not the only one writing about getting butts in the seats!
While there are many great quotes I could have pulled from this article, I went with this one due to my personal admiration for Anne Bogart. Back when I was in grad school at NYU's Gallatin School, I had the opportunity to take outside classes and get regular credit for them, as long as I could prove that they fit into the course of studies I had designed for myself. I took full advantage of this and signed myself up for Anne Bogart's SITI Company's intensive Viewpoints & Suzuki training program. It was terrifying, painful (Suzuki is like Basic Training), exhilarating and eye-opening. These techniques Anne developed and SITI's unique and organic approach to creating and developing theatre and choreography have informed all of my work since.
In addition to being a prolific "creator" and teacher of theatre, Anne Bogart is a prolific writer and advocate for the art of theatre. And she's a really down-to-earth and humble lady on top of all that.
I had the opportunity to meet her when my friend was doing the MFA Directing program at Columbia and she enlisted me to do some scenes for her class. (Anne runs the program.) After a particularly challenging scene, Anne came up to me and my scene partner and thanked us for our work, and for sharing our talents with their class that day. In my book, that is just pure class. That's a lack of ego and a true passion and love for theatre and those who are trying to make humble contributions to the theatre world.
So, here's to you, Anne! You continue to be an ever-present and important voice in the theatre world.