by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary
When Stage Source’s Stage Page comes out, I get giddy. I have this ritual of first circling all of the things I know I want to see and then I open my calendar and make my plan for the next 2 months or so. This quarterly practice of mine isn’t just about keeping my schedule up to date – it actually pumps me up for the months ahead. Since graduating from BU in 2008 and joining the staff at New Rep, I have had the privilege to attend many different kinds of theater in many different venues. There’s a certain amount of theater that I see because “I should.” Don’t get me wrong, I can get excited about obligatory theater too, but the majority of what I see is because I love theater, and specifically I love the theater here in Boston. I am constantly inspired by other people’s work. I have watched actors, designers and directors grow and change over the last several years and there is something thrilling about that. During New Rep’s General auditions I can sometimes forget I’m there in some kind of “official” capacity and just get wrapped up in the work happening in front of me. It is truly a wonderful experience. I am still in awe when I run into people like John Kuntz, Anne Gottlieb, Scott Edminston, Ronan Noone, Kate Snodgrass, Will Lebow, Ben Evett, Nancy Carol, Karen MacDonald, Paula Plum and many others. Their work has such an impact on me.
We have so many amazing and talented people that have chosen to make Boston their artistic home and this number continues to grow. During the Stage Source auditions, my favorite moment is when a brand new, just moved to town, actor shows up, totally nails the audition, and you feel the joint excitement in the room – like we all know the next “get me…” person has just arrived. It’s happened every summer I’ve been here.
Over the last year I have tried to challenge myself to get off the beaten path and see more fringe work. Sometimes the bigger our subscriber base and budgets get, the more afraid we can be to take the kind of risks that some of the fringe companies are taking to uncover all kinds of important, powerful stories. Whistler in the Dark is flying this year! How awesome is that?
I do what I do because I have to. Quality people exist everywhere. So, really for me, the “where” in what I do has to do with where I want to make my life, and who I want my community to be. I stay here because this area is big enough to continue to surprise me yet small enough to still feel like my home.
Bridget Kathleen O’Leary received her MFA in Directing from Boston University. She is the Artistic and Education Associate at New Repertory Theatre and lives in Watertown with her husband Chris.