Austin as Arden
Evening, folks. After a few months away, there's far too much to report and discuss - I apologize for the long silence. Suffice it to say that we were extremely excited to host John Freedman and Maksym Kurochkin here in Austin for our New Russian Drama Festival.
One of the things I loved about working with Max last year, and this year, is that he really seemed to connect with Austin. I'd like to think that part of the appeal is the mild climate, the openness and artistically adventurous people with whom he's come into contact. And of course, we're staging his work and we're striving to do so at a very high level, and I hope that's meaningful to him. Austin occupies an important place in his imagination now, and that's important.
Toward the end of our trip, Robert Faires commented that in developing a plan for next year's NRDFest, we would be well served to think not only of the visiting artist's effect on Austin, but our community's potential effect on the visiting artist. He went on to compare Austin to Shakespeare's "forest of Arden" - a retreat from reality, a place of healing and restoration. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, in one of her discussions, invoked the importance of Baden-Baden, Germany, to members of the Russian intelligentsia; it was a bit of a melting-pot where diverse cultures came together. Russians would visit, absorb a bit of European culture, and return home, changed, reinvigorated. I should very much hope that our city can be something in that vein for our visitors - an opportunity to see their work "out of its native element" in Moscow, or SPb, or what-have-you, and to bring something back to Moscow that can only be gotten in Austin.
I'll continue noodling and will share what I can as we get ready for NRDFest '13. Before we get to that, though, I'll have more news for you about other exciting stuff we have planned for '12-'13. Talk to you soon, friends. -Graham