Lois Dawson is Pacific Theatre's resident stage manager. This is from her blog, Lois In La La Land.
Back in early September, my friend Angela wrote a blog post following her attendance at Bard's production of The Tempest. In it she talks about learning that there is no point in jealousy because when one artist succeeds we all end up winning. She said:. She said: "The problem is, I have a degree in directing and I've been doing it for a long time but I don't know that I could create a work this accomplished. So for part of the performance I was torn between admiration and dejection - 'wow this is really good/wow that's really depressing' -something like that.... But when a truly gifted artist creates a work for others to share, we get the present. My life was enriched by the production I saw tonight and as a result, my work will be enriched." It was a sentiment she echoed after she and I attended Unity: 1918 a couple of weeks back.
But further in the post she talks about an image that appears in Madeline L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art (which is, by the way, one of my top arts reads, regardless of faith orientation. L'Engle was the talented writer behind A Wrinkle in Time.). She discusses an analogy drawn by Jean Rhys in which art is a lake and the artists of the world are various sizes of rivers, streams, & trickles.
She quotes Rhys as saying "I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."
I love that image. The idea that all of art is this giant lake (actually I'd like to jump in and bathe in it - let it soak into my soul!), and that regardless of the size of our contribute we must continue to feed the lake.
Often, as a Stage Manager, I forget that I am also responsible for feeding the lake. I want to leave that role to the directors, actors & designers whose work is so clearly art. But creating a space in which it is possible for those artists to produce (and even better: to thrive!) is an art all its own, and I need to remember that when I get down about my role in the process.
Feed. The. Lake.