Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Note from Sheldon Epps

posted by brad at 10:23 AM
Here is a letter to the public (via the Los Angeles Times) from Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps regarding the pending closure/reorganization of the theatre.

I read a story once about the great painter Pablo Picasso. Apparently there were many times when, in the process of creating one of his great works of art, he would find himself frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, or somewhat defeated by what was in front of him as he painted. This could happen either at the beginning of the process, or after many weeks or even months of work on a painting. At those moments he sometimes found that the best, though sometimes difficult choice was to toss the problematic canvass, and in his words, “Begin again.” Though this could be painful to do, it was by starting with a clean canvas that he was able to get past whatever the challenges were, get the painting that he wanted on to the new canvas, and as a result, create some of his most successful works of art.

Pasadena Playhouse is a great arts institution. We are fortunate to consistently create valuable works of theatrical art with such artistry and skill that -- when we are truly blessed -- our work can touch on greatness. The Playhouse is also a vital community service organization which trains young artists and new audiences, and opens the minds of thousands of young people to the power of the arts. Both of these tasks, creating great art and serving our community, are at the very heart of our mission, and we fulfill that mission with admirable expertise.

However, there are entanglements, obligations, and literal burdens that the theatre has been saddled with for many years that are the result not of what we do in the present, but of poor and misguided decisions in the past. While we have been able to move forward in spite of those challenges over the past decade and come out shining artistically, the fact is that a tsunami of events has now caused these challenges to feel insurmountable, and in fact impeded in a severe way our capacity to do what we do best. Our ability to function incredibly well as a theatre company attracts substantial resources from sales, from contributed income, and from government and foundation support (not to mention a high level of respect and admiration in our field). Unfortunately, far too often those resources must go to obligations created in that nefarious past, rather than to the support of the current art on our stage, and the valuable activities that make us vital right now.

The proposed reorganization will have its own set of challenges, questions, and complications to work through. But it is a way to “Begin again”! This could well be a means for us to expunge the burdens of the past and move forward with a clean canvas. If we can do this properly, with determination, with the pride and dignity that we deserve to display, this plan could well give us a valuable fresh start and allow us to focus our full energies on what we do best. It could give us the valuable opportunity to get back to the pure and valuable joy of creating theatrical art devoted to the promise of the present rather than the burdens of the past. Imagine the possibilities.

-- Sheldon Epps

We'll continue to post news here about the Playhouse's situation as well as what it all means to the future of Furious.


Blogger Pasadena BK Lawyer said...

Glad to hear the news about the Playhouse emerging from bankruptcy.

5:40 PM  

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