The King is dead...long live the King

The bookshop at the National Theatre in London...one of my favorite haunts during the spring of 2000.

The bookshop at the National Theatre in London...one of my favorite haunts during the spring of 2000.

I first read Peter Hall's Diaries about founding the National Theatre as a young, full of piss and vinegar (and myself), artist. I had taken the book from the bookshop at said National Theatre (which they let you do...without paying...as long as you brought it back undamaged). I read the intro to the book and I read:

“Art does matter. It reflects what is and has visions of what might be. It is elitist because it is original and we should honour that rather than deny it. In an increasingly pagan world, it celebrates the spiritual and protects the human. We cannot afford to treat it with indifference.”
— Peter Hall, Foreward, Peter Hall's Diaries, 1999

I went back and bought the book. I paid £15.99 (about $30 at the time). That was a lot for me to spend. To put that in perspective: I spent £5 to see Maggie Smith perform in Lady in the Van on the West End.

But this book... I read it and re-read it and re-read it. It is so full of amazing, daring, inspirational thinking. Unafraid and unapologetic, crouched and ready to fight for the artistic soul of his country...Peter Hall was, and remains, one of my absolute personal and professional heroes.

Why should our taxes go to support [the arts]? Because art can keep our society healthy...if we don’t subsidise the arts, we shall not have them...a mature democracy should have the courage to pay its artists to criticise it. Politicians should remember that everybody has heard of Mozart, but very few can tell you the name of his Emperor.
— Peter Hall, Foreward, Peter Hall's Diaries, 1999

When the first twinkle of what it might be like to have my own theatre sparked in my mind, it was modeled after his building of the RSC and NT. Grandiose? Yes. But Sir Peter was always bold. But when we started JustArt Theatricals LLC Peter Hall was, without question, an unheralded adviser. His diaries remain a how-to guide to the establishment of an institution. He was a colossus. The only American analogue to Sir Peter Hall, in my mind, is Joe Papp, but only as a producer. Sir Peter surpassed Joe's individual artistry as a director and creator of work.

The dude founded the RSC. Established the National Theatre. Directed the UK Debut of "Godot"...c'mon guys.

RIP Peter Hall...

RIP to one of the all-time undisputed greats...

RIP to one of the all-time undisputed greats...

Goodnight Ghosts

Goodnight Ghosts

When we turn on the ghost light we always say "Goodnight Ghosts" to let the ghosts know that their time has come in the space, and that we acknowledge and invite them. It is ritual and it has framed much of my professional career. It helps us signal that the days work is over, no matter how far we've progressed into the next day (it is now 1:28 am!)