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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Voices of BTM XIV: Gary Garrison

Not Capt. Picard...Gary Garrison

There’s a special place in heaven for people like Kate Snodgrass, who work tirelessly for the benefit of other playwrights. Kate’s been pushing this rock (the Boston Theater Marathon) up the hill for well over a decade, and it never ceases to amaze me that she does so without any real audible complaints or regrets. The work that it takes to get something like BTM up on its feet is nothing short of monumental, and she does the work from a place of great love and support for her fellow artists – and, I might add, to the necessary neglect of her own work as a playwright. Still, year after year, Marathon after Marathon, she’s there in our inboxes, strongly committed with an enthusiasm and passion for sharing stories that I just don’t see paralleled anywhere else in the country.

Kate is the reason I participate in the Marathon. My thinking, each year, is that if she can do what she does to produce the work, I can certainly do whatever I have to do to join in on her dream – be that making sure the work is actually ten-minutes (and not my usual cheating eleven, twelve or thirteen minute manuscript), responding to her emails in a timely fashion, communicating well with the theatre company sponsoring my play, making myself easily available to the actors or director involved with my play, writing this blog entry and when at all possible, showing up for the Marathon for more than just my section of the day. Her support for me should translate into my support for her. It’s a karma thing, and one we should all pay attention to.

The first year I participated in the Marathon (I think five years ago), I don’t think I really understood the scope and complexity of what it was to be. Imagine my surprise, then, when I walked into a packed theatre where plays were ushered on stage like clock-work, with actors, stage managers, lighting designers, sound designers, front of house people, directors, box office staff and concessions folks all there working with great excitement and expectation for the common good. It was this massive machine, running at full-tilt, with cogs interlocking with the kind of precision that can only happen when everyone forgets their personal ego and instead focuses on the nature of true collaboration. It was, in a word, breathtaking.

I didn’t see Kate until very late towards the end of the evening, and I fully expected to see a haggard, drawn, exhausted woman who last smiled a month earlier. Instead, she walked towards me, arms extended out, smiling from ear to ear, laughing. I remember thinking, “God, I want to be her when I grow up.”

I’m thrilled to be returning this year. I’m thrilled to watch an audience watch my play so I can learn more about my personal storytelling. But I’m most thrilled to see a dear friend to us all: Kate, in all her glory.

-- Gary Garrison

We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, May 20 for Boston Theater Marathon XIV (and for the Warm-Up Laps on May!). Click here for tickets and complete event details. See you there!

1 comment:

  1. Bravo to both Kate and Gary- Two more generous talented giving charismatic and words fail me people one couldn't meet.
    xoxo lyn in bucarest