It occurred to me that I never wrote about my thoughts on Directors Lab West from last May. During the Lab, I spent 10 days immersed in master classes, workshops, discussions, and panels focusing on director development. The Lab is presented each year in 4 locations (NYC, Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles) and focuses on artistic and career development for early and mid-career directors. I was among approximately 50 directors chosen to participate in the LA based Lab.
The focus of the lab in 2014 was Thinking Globally. There were workshops in Siamese Dance, Kabuki Theatre, Hip-Hop Theatre, Laban Movement, and so much more. Panels and discussions included guests within the SDC leadership, artistic directors from the LA metropolitan area, and intense discussions within the group about appropriation, casting, mentorship, pitching, and self-production.
To say that those 10 days awed and invigorated me would be an understatement. I felt alive and I rediscovered my sense of artistic outreach, activism, and courage. I befriended theatre makers whom I will collaborate with in future projects, which were conceived due to our proximity to Directors Lab West.
The Los Angeles theatre community is one of the most surprising and engaging communities in the United States. I was floored by the level of work being done both in the large institutions and the tiny storefront theatres. LA Theatre now holds a special place in my heart as an arts community that is vibrant, resound, and intelligent. I have rebutted ignorance several times about LA theatre and the presumption that it doesn’t exist due to the overwhelming film industry. My firsthand experience at Directors Lab West proves it is a great place to make some theatre.
Among the productions I was able to see were a fantastic staged reading of Extraordinary Chambers by David Wiener, The Tallest Tree in the Forest directed by Moises Kaufman, Beijing Spring a new musical at East West Players, and Tartuffe at A Noise Within.
I eagerly await the chance to apply to the other three Labs.