Rebecca Goldberg, co-facilitator of the Field’s Fall Mixed Discipline session, writes about what Fieldwork has meant for her process. Rebecca is a theater artist and writer who has been a Field member since 2009. Her latest full-length play The Twelfth Story was developed in The Field and will be produced by Annex Theatre in January 2016.
When I first started going The Field, I had no idea that it would revolutionize the way I make work. I was stuck with the idea that writing was a solitary process and I carefully guarded all of my fragile works in progress until I felt that they were strong enough (actually that I was strong enough) to expose them to the harsh judgement of OTHERS. I’d been involved in so many writers groups that had the philosophy that if you couldn’t take criticism, you didn’t deserve to be there. It wasn’t that critical words destroyed me; it’s just that they were rarely helpful.
The Field’s reflective feedback process was a revelation. I started by bringing in my old tried and true drafts, but now I heard people talking about what I was actually writing instead of what they felt I should be writing. Around week three, I got brave enough to bring something brand new. Getting feedback on work that was fresh and raw was inspiring. It opened new pathways, it inspired me to keep working, and most importantly, I found that giving my work witnesses in its infancy made it live and breathe. Now fieldwork is my favorite and most productive way to start a project, and two of the works that I’ve created in The Field have moved into to full productions.
I was also inspired by the work of others. Seeing the bravery and generosity of other artists experimenting with new ideas, and sometimes new forms, was exhilarating. Hearing people carefully describing what they saw in this work was halting at first. Even very simple reflections such as, “I saw a woman in a yellow dress yelling at the sky” had meaning and the level of feedback quickly got deeper. I learned more from articulating what I saw in others’ work than in the feedback I received about my own.
It’s not secret that I’m an evangelist for The Field, but it’s because I’m a true believer in how it has made me a braver, more productive, and more accomplished artist. I’m so excited for the Fall Mixed Discipline session–there’s still space left if you’d like to come check it out.