Wednesday, March 28, 2012

make art.

A poem by the artist Tim Etchells in answer to the question "What can art do?" has been circling around and around in my mind for well over a year now. It says, in part, "I wanted to tell you that art is loved as a hammer/because of how well it breaks lies and speaks truths/knocks down obstacles/the Incredible Hulk it is or the Superman, a good thing to have on your side…"

That poem came into my mind as I was thinking about why I chose to support Jessica Martin's short film For Patrick through Kickstarter last week. The reasons are many and yet simple at the same time. I thought about what a joy it is to watch young actors grow over the years, evolving, learning and stretching themselves, daring to do things ever more new and different and difficult. I thought about what brings me to live theatre, the passion of it, the electric thrill of watching people doing what they love, night after night. For a moderate bit of money you get to spend a few hours inside someone else's head, inside a world that has been weeks or months or years in the making. I thought about a note tucked into my program at a play produced a few summers back at Strawberry Theatre Workshop that said something like "You eat local food. Why not support local theatre?" If I support local theatre, why not support local film?

For Patrick, as Jessica tells us, is a local film, made here in Washington state by homegrown talent. For twenty years I've watched recent graduates from the acting programs at the University of Washington or Cornish College of the Arts find their footing on Seattle stages before heading off elsewhere. It is a continuing joy to see some of them stick around and make art here. Jessica Martin I've seen several times in the past year, in some of the Pinter Fortnightly readings and in Double Indemnity at ACT. Her costar Aaron Blakely was in Seattle Rep's production of How to Write a New Book for the Bible a few months back (a co-production with the Berkeley Rep, who premiered it last fall). Their short film was made last winter, I think, with barely any money. Not so much a shoestring as a piece of thread and a bent safety-pin, I reckon. Here is a chance to give them this encouragement: keep making art. I took it. Wouldn't you?

The Kickstarter page for For Patrick is here.

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