I’ve been actively writing plays for twelve years now; I got my union card as a “professional” actor ten years before that and had been studying and performing long before.  So I’ve been doing this for a while, not without success (nowhere near as much as I’d like, but whenever I talk with friends about where we’re at professionally in this ridiculous field, they look at me with a weird measure of respect, so I guess I’m doing okay).  But what goes along with pursuing the arts for a significant length of time is the nagging worry that all of your efforts have yet to make an impact.  This is especially true in tumultuous times such as these, as you watch the world fall apart around you and can’t help but wonder if the things you do – as an artist, a citizen, you name it – are making any sort of a difference.  In other words, you start thinking about your legacy, and whether or not you’ve even had one.

At least I think about that.

I was brooding about such matters this past Friday night, as I made my way to the wrap event for the short film I worked on last month.  Another project finished, another month gone from the calendar, and me wondering if anybody cared in the slightest.

“My friend says hi!” said our lead actress.  It turns out they’ve been rehearsing a new play, my name came up in conversation, and the playwright had told them that she knew me.  She apparently said complementary things about me, which was gladdening to hear.  So I asked the actress how exactly I knew this playwright.

“You were in Valdez together,” they said, referring to the Valdez Theatre conference.  “Two years ago.  She said you were part of the same dystopian thing?”

“Team Dystopia?” I asked.

“That’s it!  She said it was great.”

“Team Dystopia,” for reference, was a running gag shared by a number of us during the 2022 Conference.  (There’s a chance I’m the one who actually coined the term; I don’t want to hog the credit, though I’ll gladly accept it if offered.) I was there with my play An Arctic Confederate Christmas, which you can find on here on NPX if you’re morbidly curious – it’s as horrifying as the title implies.  And I wasn’t the only one in a fearful frame of mind that year – we soon realized that there were no fewer than eight plays in that line-up set in a nightmare future of some kind.  And so we banded together, loudly supporting each other’s plays, presenting a united front of artistic resistance in the face of our worst nightmares.

And here we are, two years later, with “Team Dystopia” still going strong.  And it is entirely possible that, if I have any legacy at all, the rallying of “Team Dystopia” is that legacy.

I am fine with this.

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