Earlier today, I was speaking with friend and colleague Jenny McConnell Frederick, Artistic Director of the Source Festival and co-Artistic Director of Rorschach Theatre, about the complex process of evaluating scripts for season selection. While it might not serve as consolation for your hope chest of rejection letters, I found her thoughts insightful, productive, and inspiring. She's agreed to let me share them here with you.
"Artistic expression is intrinsically subjective. What makes art, in any medium, so compelling to me is that everyone can see something different in the same source material. (…that concept is how Rorschach got its name.) The things that move one audience member deeply, may leave another cold and vice versa. I am keenly aware of the absurdity of trying to "judge" art--whether it's via a theatre critic, the Helen Hayes awards, or the Source Festival selection process. There is no truly objective approach…because such a thing doesn't exist in art. And it shouldn't.
When I'm reviewing readers' input, I'm always struck when I come across two perspectives that are aggressively divergent. And that moment reminds me that there is never a "right" answer in these things. It reminds me that just because I am moved by a play, it doesn't mean everyone else will be. To all of us making art, there is always an audience out there for our work. Whether it's been selected/awarded/reviewed the way we'd like it to be--for every person out there who's rejected it, there's someone else out there who loves it, or will love it when they discover it."
Jenny McConnell Frederick is Artistic Director of CulturalDC’s Source Festival and co-Artistic Director of the award-winning Rorschach Theatre, which she founded in 1999 with Randy Baker. For Rorschach, she has directed numerous productions including the Helen Hayes Nominated Voices Underwater and God of Vengeance as well as a recent sold-out run of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. As Director of Artistic Programs at CulturalDC she oversees the selection, development and production of more than 25 new plays each year for Source Festival. Additionally, she runs CulturalDC’s Mead Theatre Lab Program and Flashpoint Gallery through which she works closely with visual and performing artists to create, develop and produce their own work. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and her newest producing endeavor, a two year old son named Thane.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!