Week 25 | Artist 25: Created to Create 2016 | Steven Barkhimer, Actor/Playwright/Director/Instructor
Steven has appeared in more than 100 professional productions in the Boston area since 1998. Member of the Resident Acting Company of the Actors Shakespeare Project; regular appearances at Central Square Theatre, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Lyric Stage and others. Director of award-winning productions of The Compleat Works of Wm Shakespeare and Fully Committed. Author of Windowmen (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding New Script; IRNE Award, Best New Play; Kennedy Center Award, Best New Play); composer and lyricist for Stoneham Theatre’s Lobstergirl. A collection of original songs,Time Was, is available on iTunes and elsewhere. Where were you born?
Where do you live/work?
Brookline Village, just outside of Boston.
What fuels your desire to act? There is a shared presence between audience and performer, as there is between a congregation and the participants in a worship service, or, less soothing perhaps, between debaters and an attentive crowd of interested parties. The same relation may obtain between friends (or contentious individuals) having a casual conversation, but the conscious choice to share this presence with a community of beholders seems profound to me, important, and yes, addictive, and finally, somehow necessary to the process of evolving as collective beings, rather than strictly-self-interested, solipsistic, infertile, windowless monads.
The best thing about being an artist is... Not the money.
The biggest obstacle in working with self is? The continual need to promote oneself or one’s work takes too much time and energy, and are not necessarily the talents native to the artist.
What advice you would give self at the very beginning of your training and professional career? Sounds cliché, but Make Sure you have to do it, and Never Expect Unreasonable Gain.
Are there any rituals you created to help you "face avoidance" that plagues any artist occasionally? Would you describe what works for you? Deadlines are my friend. Unless something gets under my skin and compels me from within to finish a project, I tend to seek opportunities elsewhere rather than complete my own work.
Talk about a piece of work that you experienced recently that moved you and how it found its place in your your work? I re-watched several Bergman films recently: Virgin Spring, Cries and Whispers, Winter Light, and was inspired afresh to find an artist whose vision was unsparing and yet compassionate, universally recognizable and yet absolutely individual.
What other art form do you connect to? How does this craft/discipline help you in your work? I’ve never fully appreciated sculpture, and I feel my relation to much visual art is not as visceral as I’d like it to be. Words, poetry, theatre and film seem more reliably to have an immediate impact on me. It’s odd that in the last few years, I’ve also seen many more sports than in any given decade of my life so far, and the daily discipline of athletes impresses me greatly.
Describe your ritual or productive day at work? One of my failings, I feel, is that I’ve no ritual. I have periods and pulses, alternating obsessive energy with paralysis and torpor.
Describe effective techniques you use to increase your focus/productivity when working on a project? Arbitrary deadlines produce a marvelous sense of economy upon the artist. I do not so much employ a technique to become more productive, but an instinct kicks in to winnow out the inessential and to concentrate on what I really want out of a given work.
How do you reward self for a job well done? Find another job.
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2016
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.