Friday, February 15, 2008

Chamleon's Secret to Long Life

I was recently exchanging e-mails with fellow playwright Steve Hunter, about the playwrights group that we helped start in 1993, Chameleon Stage. After fifteen years, it's still going strong. I left in 1997, so I can't take any credit for its longevity. For a while, Chameleon was a full-blown theatre company, producing site-specific work, radio plays, serial plays, and even plays in theatres, but over time, it's become more development oriented, sticking with the core bi-monthly meetings (where actors are brought in to read parts of works in progress) and putting together staged readings of full-length plays developed in the workshop. To have a group like this last so long is, it seems to be, quite an accomplishment.

Here's what Steve had to say about the possible reasons why:
it's the mutual respect we have for each other, rising to a great affection, the forebearance to injure or taunt, the lack of insistence on being right about a criticism or observation (if the person receiving ignores the advice), all of which adds up to a non-competitive and very helpful atmosphere.
It sounds simple on the surface, I guess. The people in the group are there to help, but not to win (not that some of us aren't sometimes competitive). Keeping this in practice for fifteen years is worth a round of applause, I think.

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