I am not sure where I first heard of the theatre company Outside the Wire (http://www.outsidethewirellc.com/), but when I learned that its founder had written a book, I was eager to read it. I am a huge theatre fan, and while I see the point in producing the likes of Noel Coward once in a while, I’ve always thought that theatre could do more than that. I grew to love 10,000 Things Theatre in Minnesota, not only because of their great performances, but also because of their mission (http://www.tenthousandthings.org/).
Doerries has written an eloquent, powerful and necessary book – a manifesto not only for those whom he and his company have served (the armed forces, the terminally ill and those who care for them, those who work in prisons, etc.), but also for those who make theatre. It’s long past time to restore the urgency and power of theatre to a new generation and a new audience. Chekhov can still have a seat at the table; the table just needs to be so much bigger now. So does the audience.
I hadn’t known of the autobiographical motives for Doerries’ work, so that part caught me off-guard at first, but Doerries quickly makes clear that his life in the theatre is not just a career, but, well, a life.
I hope, one day, to see a performance. In the mean time, I can spread the word about this book. Read it!
And if you know of other theater companies that do this kind of work, please put a link in the comments.