Looking for trouble.
Who (and Why) Are The Geese?
It started with a half-baked idea and an unsent email. I was ruminating on the idea that playwrights are in a way the geese that lay the golden eggs (and sometimes, just lay an egg) in the theater, but that frequently the business structure of this industry kills us off. I was wondering how to gather a few of these golden-egg laying geese and do something to change that reality for ourselves.
I kicked that idea around for a year before I finally got the courage to just start. I emailed ten playwrights and asked them if they’d like to join me in a collective what-iffing. I chose to reach out to playwrights who were not only top-notch writers, but the kind of hard-headed, organized, clear-eyed people I could imagine taking on a major challenge. Nine of them replied. Six of them joined me.
In January of 2014, we founded a collective we call The Geese. The Geese are a co-mentoring, co-brainstorming, co-barn-raising, co-dreaming, co-working group of artists who are committed to helping ourselves and each other find/forge paths to a career in the theater. We are Catherine Castellani, Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, Stephanie Keys, Erin Layton, Dara O’Brien, and Deborah Savadge, sometimes joined by Goose-on-the-Loose Amy Witting.
We are a service organization dedicated to helping our members navigate the professional waters.
- lay golden eggs
- act aggressive
- have wild goose chases
- are productive “like shit through a goose”
- migrate--or not (they’re flexible)
This is a solitary profession and a collaborative profession. We like writing all alone at a desk, and we like rehearsing and production. But that gap between the two? That part is no fun at all, and lonely. And while we'd all love to be wrapped in the arms of New Dramatists or The Lark, that's not in the statistical cards for the majority of playwrights. But anyone can form a collective and access a bigger brain. All it takes is some generosity of spirit and a little talent for scheduling. A lot of talent for scheduling, actually.
The Geese meet once a month to cheer each other on, plan our missions, and plot to take over the world (its stages and theatrical venues, anyway). This group has been enormously generous to me, letting me test a very half-baked idea and offering fantastic support to me and to each other. I want to salute them. And I want to invite you to see a snippet of our work in progress this spring. We'd love to meet up.
Grand Finale Weekend Show, Friday, May 1, 2015, 7 pm, (h)IP: Works in Progress by The Geese, at The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, West 183rd at Pinehurst, Washington Heights
Overheard on Grand Street outside Abrons Arts Center: “The Civilians are like Humans of New York for people who go to the theater.”