"I have recently discovered the thrill of the process. To come together with like minded souls to create work that would otherwise not exist - that's incredibly empowering."
Kate "Revz" Reeves is a creative powerhouse whose expertise & offerings are vast, deep and exquisitely original. From writing, directing and designing epic theatrical productions to navigating the online galaxies of social media - she is a self-taught graphic designer, photographer, digital illustrator, typographer, stationer, calligrapher, blogger, art director, brand developer, social media expert, small business owner and instagrammer - and not to mention a first time mum to a delicious bundle of daughter. Kate generously (somehow) found time to contribute to our courageous conversation here at theVproject, graciously sharing her thoughts on hard work, trusting the process and dealing with 'bad' reviews...
Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. Do you agree? Unequivocally. To be truly creative you must lay your soul bare. Bare to your collaborators and your audience. Assuming you desire to create something real.
‘Creativity is not reserved for a select few. It's available for anyone who has the courage to take it.’ Why is leaning towards creative outlets often met with fear? Because it leaves you emotionally exposed. Art, or any form of creative expression, is not simply a "job" like other professions can be (often it's not even technically a job, depending on whether you're being paid or not) it is an incredibly personal pursuit. You may create it for others, for an audience, but it is all about laying your point of view on the table for discussion. Along with discussion comes opinion and criticism - and it's far easier to criticise than create.
Worthlessness, lack of self-belief, perfectionism – there are many blocks that prevent us from leaning into vulnerability. How do you move past them? What do those blocks & blurts look like for you? What do you think we can do to make them less controlling/dominant? Theatre is good for this because there is an end point ; opening night. You can't "put it off" so you have to make decisions and arrive at choices. If you hadn't locked yourself into an a season and all the practical things that go along with it months before, you may never say "ok, it's ready" because it really never will be. You're simply forced to say, "this is the closest I can get to a truth for this moment". But for me, my major blocks come directly after one project is finished. They threaten to quash creativity and make you question continuing with the work. When you're on the treadmill, working away on the current project you can only see as far as the finish line. But when the show closes, or the project comes to an end and you feel your career or place in the conversation is in stasis, it can be very frustrating and make you question your pursuits. But inevitably the bug comes to bite again, eventually.
"To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength." Vulnerability is often seen as something we admire in others but detest in ourselves. How do we actively try to close the gap with these concepts? When considering all the things that make you feel vulnerable - response to your work, criticism, validation of your point of view, commercial success - I try to look at my "self" within the work as a separate entity to my actual self. So that Kate-the-director can be far braver than Kate-the-human. I try to wipe the idea that my parents, family or anyone who's validation Kate-the-human craves are in the audience. I think Kate-the-director has a responsibility to seek the truth and that may not always be the neatest of choices, so in my mind I populate the audience with open, discerning theatre-goers and colleagues I know would be interested from an objective point of view.
“When you breathe into fear it becomes adventure.” What was one of your most terrifying/rewarding experiences? I directed a production of Charles Mee's Orestes 2.0 at Griffin. It was "twittically acclaimed" and praised by a lot of bloggers, but slammed in the print notices which unfortunately really affects ticket sales. I had rallied this brave cast through a tough rehearsal period with tough material (also it was the height of sticky Sydney summer and we were rehearsing in an airless old church!). They'd all really come on board and laid themselves bare (some literally) and the reviews hit them pretty hard. I decided to post the bad reviews to the theatre doors (along with the good ones) as an invitation for discussion about our show and hopefully get a new audience to come along. It was a tough, meaty production and I really believed in it, but the cast had to get up there every night and walking past those reviews at the hour call must have been a really challenge for them. But it was ultimately rewarding because it gave people permission to really discuss the work, get online and add their opinion and it hardened my skin to the subjective nature of this weird job.
“Creativity is inspiration coupled with initiative. Acting on our creativity is an act of faith.” How much do you rely on ‘divine intervention’ to create? Do you feel you control your creativity or does your creativity control you? I don't even consider divine intervention. I completely orchestrate 100% of my creative output. Things "come to me" but only if I create a fruitful environment in which to turn on that part of my brain. If I waited for inspiration, I don't think it would ever come. You just have to sit down and do it. Like most creative people, I'm actually inherently lazy. But, like, so is everyone.
"Only when we're brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." How much of your creative process is a battle with power? Do you always find the end result empowering? No, not always the end result. In fact, that's often a bit of a let down. I have recently discovered the thrill of the process. To come together with like minded souls to create work that would otherwise not exist, to produce entertainment or contribute to the conversation in your community - that's incredibly empowering.