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Saturday, June 23, 2007

11 questions: Ian Mackenzie

Praxis Theatre’s Director of Marketing and resident “10 questions” asker had the tables turned on him recently – fielding a series of theatre-related questions from Vancouver-based playwright Simon Ogden. Click here to read the interview at Ogden’s The Next Stage theatre blog.


mike said...

The puppetmaster is revealed!
Just kidding. Way to put on a clinic on how to answer 10 questions so the rest of us can feel insecure and illiterate...

Christine said...

good grief you're a smart cookie.

i particularly like your point about specialization (or the lack thereof). it's so true! i've lost track of how many times i've worked myself up into a tizzy and gone "i'll just do it myself!!" without even trying to find someone who might actually know what they're doing. and i'm so quick to scoff at actors who just act - "you're never going to work! you have to be industrious!"

but i think you're quite right - we might be very surprised at the number of non-entertainment related lawyers, accountants, graphic designers, publicists, carpenters and such who would get quite a kick out of moonlighting in the theatre for a spell. we tend to forget how truly neat this industry looks from the outside. i complain about how insular the community is, but i'm sure not doing anything to help the situation.

huh... you've given me much pause to think.

mike said...

christine, you're going to set a bad example for young artists if you start talking that way. in the past 2 years i have received more emails from you than any other single toronto artist about your own projects that you were wearing nine hats on. now you're a working artist without a crappy rent job. coincidence?

Christine said...

ah, good point.
however, i have seriously burnt myself out on more than one occassion. i put my back out in the middle of a closing performance ('macbeth' on friday the 13th, no less) because i had so much built-up tension from trying to rehearse one show while performing another (which also happened to be my first real kick at producing), and when 'gorey story' closed i literally collapsed (during another rehearsal) into a weeping, feverish, convulsing pile.
sure i got a lot done, but it makes me wonder if i did many things poorly instead of one thing really really well. and i don't know how much fun i had.
jack of all trades, master of none, as they say.
it's a tricky act to balance.
industriousness is sooooo important, but get some help for pete's sake! from someone who actually knows what they're doing! i'm only recently figuring this out...

Simon said...

This is a great interview and a inpsiring mission statement. Well done my friend! You have brought great clarity to these issues and you have given me hope. Our common goals, reframed in this way, while still daunting, seem practically attainable, rather than the pipe-dreams of impoverished artists.

the other Simon said...

I just want to reassure Ian's readership that the above Simon is not in fact the interviewer of the article in question, as said interviewer would be abashed if it appeared that he would so wantonly praise his own efforts, even though he agrees with everything his namesake posits. Ian is indeed an inpsiration.

Ian said...

Wow. Thanks for the kind words. Most appreciated. I feel proud to be counted among this peer group.


Re: specialization versus generalization. I think I may have introduced a contradiction here by simultaneously arguing for specialization but against centralization. The problem being that specialization is a form of centralization. Yikes.

And it's true, many of Toronto's highly productive artists, like yourself, have made a great go of it by applying a generalist's touch. (To be a generalist used to mean you were a "Renaissance Man" – one to be respected and admired for your skill over a wide range of tasks and intellectual pursuits.)

We need specialists, that's true, but we need generalists too. So perhaps the argument is simply that our community has swung too far to the side of the generalist.

Christine said...

oh, i don't disagree. we definitely need both. your post is just making me re-evaluate what's working for me and what isn't. i love being a generalist. i love it. i will probably always do things this way. but this was a really good reminder that there are other people out there who might be a whole lot better at something i automatically want to take on than i am.

man, i love this blog.

Laura said...

this has really been inspiring for me. i have been feeling numb lately and these questions and ian's responses are very helpful. i am trying on new hats with praxis as my home and even though i am scared i feel supported. thanks, laura

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