I was at a small lake this weekend, for a little family reunion. The kids and I were trying to catch minnows with some butterfly nets. After 35 years of trying to catch little fish, I've finally figured it out. A quick swipe straight down over a cloud of minnows, press down all the way to the bottom, and drag back towards me, netted me a few inch-long fish almost every time. We caught exclusively little perch, except for one itty bitty catfish, which was really cool. We dumped them all in a bucket and watched them swim around. Later, after a great deal of patience, I also managed to catch a six-inch sunfish. By far the biggest fish I'd ever caught with such a tiny net, larger than I thought was even possible.
This is what I do with theatre--writing and sending out lots of short plays for small productions. I have fun catching them, a sense of triumph even, but they aren't exactly going to feed me. Every once in a while, something really interesting and unusual happens with a small production. And often I'm not sure that I have the right tools to land the big fish , but with a great deal of patience and many, many failures, sometimes I do catch a medium-sized fish, one that might not make for a whole dinner, but at least a few mouthfuls. And it feels like I caught a whale.