Why I Care About Your Bags and Your Baggage Too

Hannah Kauffmann - Pyragraph
Hannah Kauffmann, Tricklock Company member, backstage doing backstagey things.

Guest Blogger Hannah Kauffmann is the co-artistic director of Tricklock Company, the host of Revolutions International Theater Festival. Revolutions’ mission is to connect communities by bringing a broad scope of world theater to New Mexico, creating a cultural and artistic fusion. The exposure to world theater and culture increases mutual understanding, inspires change and empowers individuals to improve the overall quality of life for all people.

The Revolutions Festival is one of the largest theater festivals in the world. It’s a highly respected, competitively curated, fully sprinted marathon of art and culture with a bold mission and a monumentally skilled collective creative force working to make good on that mission.

And the only way we can make good on that mission is to go ahead and embrace that this incredibly professional festival IS TOTALLY ADULT SUMMER CAMP (in the winter).

Unrelenting support is exhausting when you’re determined to make yourselves as happy as you’re making your guests.

Revolutions Adult Summer (Winter) Camp is an idea I resisted for a long-ass time, mostly because I don’t care about your problems. I TRY REALLY HARD NOT TO CARE ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS. Let’s be honest: “I don’t care about your problems” is a way more badass thing to say than “tell me what’s wrong and let’s talk about it.” But somehow, the Revolutions Festival has made me a talker. Revolutions has made me a listener, a creative problem solver, an engaged community member and, I deeply hope, turned me into someone who inspires change and empowers individuals to improve their overall quality of life.

Fernando Fresquez - Pyragraph
Fernando Fresquez: frequent curtain speaker and Tricklock Company member.

During the festival, if you’re one of the 11 Tricklock Company members, a member of the full-time hired Revolutions staff, or a volunteer at even one show a week, we’re going to be spending a lot of time together. You’re going to get an email from me every morning with call times, curtain speakers, last man out schedules, workshop schedules, flight schedules, volunteer schedules, press appearances and on-call driver phone numbers.

In the afternoon, I’ll call you to check in about something like glow tape and you’ll come watch a rehearsal of a show that will happen in the third week. I will run to Tractor Brewing with you to pick up beer because that shit’s heavy and you will leave dinner early to help me finish building a set out of yarn because I made a bad choice and decided to build a set out of fucking yarn. You will fall asleep during a line through of your show and I will wake you up before anyone notices. You will pick me up in the morning and present me with coffee and a burrito and I will tape 106 copies of Gadget Hackwrench to sticks for your birthday. You will shop for false eyelashes and assume that I, too, need a pair for each Reptilian Lounge and yes, that sounds incredibly simple, but you just saved me a 20-minute trip to Walgreens AND saved me from having to make a decision AND I got to nap under my desk.

Drew Morrison - Pyragraph
Drew Morrison, Tricklock Company member.

Unrelenting support is exhausting when you’re determined to make yourselves as happy as you’re making your guests. If we’re not happy, why, why, are we working so hard?

In his one-man show, Time Served, which I have the great privilege of directing, Carlos Contreras says, “Life is art/as you are/a masterpiece,” and I found myself running that line over and over and over in my head as I moved through this year’s festival. We are all art. We are all pieces, brush strokes, moving through space and doing the best we can at any given moment. Sometimes that’s not very well and sometimes that’s beautiful. But Revolutions has made me want to KNOW. I want to know how your day was, what is frustrating you, and what I can do to make your experience better.

Blame it on 12 years of working on this festival, but I want to be your goddamn Camp Counselor. My door is open. “Hello, how can I empower you to improve your quality of life?”

Erin Phillips - Pyragraph
Erin Phillips, Tricklock Company member, giving the curtain speech for Time Served.

I care that you love your new job even though it’s exhausting, and hell yes I will help set up that gala with you. I care that your ex-girlfriend is at the show and you don’t want to see her and I will diversion-spill a beer on myself so no one sees you getting into my secret hiding place. I care that the snow reminds you of winter in Massachusetts and it makes you sad. Talk to me. I will do whatever it takes to get you to walk into a performance with an open heart and a willingness to understand because the impact of the art itself rests on your ability to trust it. I want you to feel brave and unguarded. I want you to leave the theater and know that your experience, whatever it was, was right and I want you to talk about it with your neighbors, with your students and with strangers.

Elsa Menendez - Pyragraph
Elsa Menendez, Tricklock Company member.

I want you to be brave. I can empower you in this because the whole time I’ve been doing it for you, 10 other people have been doing it for me, for each other and for you, too. Revolutions, like summer camp, relies on the camaraderie created when everyone in a group is a little bit scared. By the end of summer, you don’t remember what real life is like. You have ventured forth together and left changed. Wiser. More accepting. More whole, perhaps.

From Tricklock Company, from The Revolutions International Theater Festival, from the Theatre Without Borders/Revolutions Symposium: Thank you for being brave.

Dodie Montgomery - Pyragraph
Dodie Montgomery, Tricklock Company member.
Ed. Note: Pyragraph was the digital media partner for 2015’s Revolutions International Theater Festival. We were honored to be part of this massive storytelling undertaking. If you weren’t able to attend any part of the festival, be sure to learn about it via our coverage here.

Photos by JAK Media.

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One Comment

  1. Let me start by saying I truly dig the article. I had never heard of the theater festival before, so I’ll be on the look out for next year, ad it does sound amazing.

    One correction I feel obliged to point out though, nd I feel it is a rather large error made on the part of the author and the editor who let it go on to be published. At the very start of the blog, the author makes the statement that the ABQ festival is “one of the largest theater festivals in the world”. Granted, I was not a participant in the festival, so I can’t be certain of the size. However, I am familiar with a few of the largest theater festivals in the world, and there is absolutely no possible way that this festival is anywhere near one of the largest theater festivals in the world. I am certain of this. In fact, that’s a rather insane statement. Considering the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has several THOUSAND companies and artists performing multiple times over the course of a month, there is no way the ABQ festival comes even remotely close in size – no matter what parameters the writer chooses to use as measurement. It appears that besides the multiple events done by the host company, I counted maybe half a dozen other companies involved over the span of Revolution Fest. And a few of those seem local to boot. I’m sure the people involved are very proud of the work they do, and from the articles on the subject, it sounds like it is a lot of work. (All three articles about the festival seem to mention how exhausted the employees are. Which I do not doubt.) However, it does not make the statement accurate by any means.

    Anyways, Edinburgh is only one example of another much larger festival. But the Canadian Fringe Festivals that happen every year have anywhere from 20 – 100 companies performing over ten days or so. There are at least a dozen cities in Canada with fringe festivals, so again, it seems obvious that the statement made by the author is completely misinformed. Not to mention the twenty or so fringe festivals occuring in US cities every year are also significantly larger in nearly every way.

    I am sure it is a special festival, and I hate to make it sound like I’m ragging on the article or the author. Again, I didn’t actually know about the festival – I simply know that it is a rather bold statement to make, and I do not believe the author can truly back it up with any real facts.

    I hope that such a large and easily denounced exaggeration is truly isolated to that one statement. I hope it isn’t representational of any other claim made by the author as to the nature of the festival.

    I understand it is only a blog, and I understand it is written by a guest blogger – however, I’d advise the editor(s) of the site to exercise a lot more caution when publishing articles by guest writers. Those are the kinds of mistakes that relegate an otherwise healthy website into an undesirable reputation of distrust from it’s readership.

    I look forward to seeing some shows next year, but until then, I hope we see more accurate reporting on Paragraph. I am a consistent reader, and I’d hate to lose trust in what I have come to trust and appreciate in the website.

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