A Momentous Week!

Barney O'Hanlon's picture

Well,

Last week was quite the week!

Our conservatory was back in session after winter recess and all the participants came back with their game faces on! We are deep in already and preparing for the final production as yet to be devised and titled. This is the dream time with the participants, a chance to dream up the production and content, what it looks like, sounds like, feels like and how to go about making it. Leon is teaching a special class called Collaboration that will be soley devoted to devising the final production. There are a ton of great ideas and images and sources already. Should be a blast to put together. These artists are very special and work/collaborate so well together. I expect an awesome show! We’ll let you know the details as we get closer to production in May.

I am already hard at work on Steel Hammer, our collaboration with Julia Wolfe and Bang on a Can. I took the week before the conservatory started up again to go into the studio and start sketching some choreography. Julia’s music is incredible and I found a lot more material than I had expected to come out of me. Choreography, for me, is kind of excrutiating. I’m not fast unfortunately. It can take me well over an hour to create movement for only a minute and ten seconds of music. It’s frustrating, but I guess that’s my process. Considering I’m virtually self-taught as a dancer and choreographer I constantly have to remind myself to go easy on myself, but it’s difficult. I wish I were better, faster and more interesting…oh well. But my movement class in the conservatory is a great chance for me to share material with the students and see how it flies, or not…so far so good! Steel Hammer is a really big piece and will require a ton of movement vocabulary. I’m hoping it all spills out of me and that it is teachable and doable and fun for the other actors in the show (as well as being good choreography!)

The biggest and most emotional part of last week was that it was Megan’s final week as Executive Director of SITI Company. Megan initially came to us as a stage manager and became a Company Member in 1995. After years of not great management, Megan took it upon herself to go to night school in Arts Management because she was determined to be our new manager. She had the courage and will to know she could do it, and by God she did. She has taken SITI Company so far during her tenure and has taken such good care of us as an arts administrator, a stage manager, a company member, and member of this family for close to twenty years! You can’t imagine what it is like for us to know she will no longer be with us.

And yet it is also a great opportunity for SITI Company to grow into our next twenty years with someone brand new. The search has begun and it is an exciting but also bittersweet time. While we will miss Megan and her daughter Imogen deeply and profoundly, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for this organization and this company to grow. Change is hard, but change has been needed for a long time, and ultimately change will be good I think for everyone.

Megan will be working her magic on the West Coast with the amazing Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles. It is a fantabulous opportunity for her and the job brings her much closer to her family who are all on the other coast. All good things!

We threw a Bon Voyage party for her at the studio on Wednesday night. I tarted the space all up and we had a beautiful slide show of photo’s from SITI’s past. Anne gave an astonishingly beautiful and moving toast, followed by Megan’s astonishing and deeply moving thank you speech. Many folks came by to celebrate Megan and it was a beautiful night.

Friday was Megan’s last official day with SITI Company. Each of the conservatory artists gave a tribute to Megan that kind of blew us all away, especially Megan. Sometimes you don’t really understand your impact and influence on the world, you’re too busy working. But these artists and my fellow company members really gave Megan a sense of her enormous contribution to SITI and to the greater field at large. It was incredibly moving and the box of kleenex was used up fast!

So Megan and family will finish packing up their house this weekend and fly to L.A. on Monday. She starts her new job on Tuesday! (Of course no time off to adjust, just dive in. That’s SO Megan!)

This isn’t the end of our relationship by a long shot. Megan is part of the DNA of SITI Company and an important member of this family on so many levels.

While we will miss her, we all know we are going to stay quite close, just on different coasts! (But we’re coming out to L.A. to do a show at the Getty Villa this summer, so we’ll be seeing each other real soon!)


So Megan…Bon Voyage, have a great trip/easy trip, and good luck with house hunting!

Remember both you AND Imogen will need to cut yourselves some slack often. It’s a huge change and a huge adjustment.

Remember to take TIME!!!

We love you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barn