From the Artistic Director
Dear friends of Ironweed,
I hope your 2023 is going well.
Having roots in the Midwest, and grandparents who farmed the land, I find that in describing a journey I gravitate toward metaphors of crops and the earth. As we approach 18 years since the founding of Ironweed Productions, it is a time of cultivating the soil and planting new seeds.
Personally and creatively, I feel changed by the last three years in ways that I'm still discovering. I've been curious about plays beyond America's borders, particularly drawn to Pinter and Beckett during the period of isolation. An impulse to connect more with my own personal history, as the great-grandson of Czech immigrants, led me to begin reading plays by Czech playwrights. It's been rewarding for me to have had the chance to explore writing, and I hope to continue to workshop two short plays, How Long Do We Have and When We Were 9, that emerged from those early months of the pandemic. And I'm very jazzed about two upcoming acting opportunities with other companies in town. I believe that Ironweed will also evolve, coming out of these three years and with these new creative experiences, and it is exciting for me to be open to what that might look like.
Quite unexpectedly, this too has been a time to reconnect with my roots at the origin of this journey.
As the holiday season drew to a close in early January, I found myself in our studio space looking for a place to store our last box of Christmas decorations. Eyeing a spot in the back corner on a low stack of boxes, I walked over and happened to notice a small box at the bottom of the stack labeled “Theater Stuff.” I made my way to it, blew off the dust, peered inside, and opened a tattered folder that contained my original notes, as well as correspondences with mentors, teachers, and leaders in the Theater when I set out to start a company almost 25 years ago.
Notes to myself such as: strive for simplicity...keep the imagination of the artist and the audience fertile; celebrate the rich tradition of storytelling and the power of the spoken word. Encouragement I received to “invent it your way”; “keep the emphasis on excellence”; and "focus on the work...the rest will follow." And words I scribbled on a scrap piece of paper from playwright Robert Schenkkan’s introduction to his Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Kentucky Cycle: “Nothing must hinder the smooth, forward movement of the action or detract from the story being told. The important thing here, always, is the actor standing in the light and speaking the words.” Rediscovering these early intentions has been both thought-provoking and invigorating.
Since the beginning, it has been important for me to allow each of Ironweed's stories to reveal itself in the time that it takes. I look forward to seeing what sprouts from the soil and these new seeds, and sharing it with you in the year to come.
Thank you so much for your support of Ironweed Productions, and I'm wishing you all a safe and fulfilling year ahead.