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On the Future of the Artistic Spirit

By: Riley Mann

We are the future of the artistic spirit; we are the new visions of emerging theatrics.

I saw it in DCP’s Frankenstein (2019); I saw that if I channeled my mind to a higher artistic calling (a prophecy theatric in its parliament and authoritative in its bylines) I could become a cell of that kinetic organism that I deem “art”.

That’s when I began to audition — that very next week. I met DCP’s best, the mentors that told me that I had that “spark”, the ones that encouraged me that I could make my life a work of art if I constantly surrounded myself with people who did the same. I met the people that I would soon call friends, who just so happened to be the most creative leading voices of this Dutch Country Playhouse: The Spigels encouraged me to keep writing and take the initiative in my visions, Michelle Rieder helped me become the best performer I could be in my earliest shows here, Carly Covel put my writing into publication and gifted me her copy of The Crucible when I informed her of my captivation with reading all of the classics. I admit that the community of individuals here want the axis of the world to continue to fixate on the meliorating core of artistic transcendence, the same kind of transcendence I deem almost religious.

The DCP Junior Membership (from left to right): Claire Spigel,Riley Mann, Ben Cordner, Pockets Seachrist, Izzy Valleley, Xavier Hicks, Helen Spigel, Cassidy Butler, Audrey Heimark, Reese Mann (not pictured: Aubrey Yaroschak)

These same individuals wanted a youthful collection of fresh perspectives that would take on the challenge of making the red-and-white on the theater’s exterior reveal all of the colors prismatically contained within the soul of these hues; I had not realized how many people I have met over these past few years that wanted the same reality that I yearned for as well.

Last year marked the year that I became acquainted and eventually theatrically entwined with many of the performers in DCP’s Joan of Arc (by Darrah Cloud) (2023), people that I deem my great friends. In my first DCP production (Miss Nelson is Missing! [2020]) I met little Izzy Valleley, who now stands at my side as my producer. Last year was the year that my sister (Reese Mann) fell in love with the metaphysics of the air we breathe in this playhouse, and with the passing years I am certain she will continue to discover the realms of her great talent and dedication to the art of this life. Last year was the year that I shared the stage with my partner-in-crime (Pockets Seachrist) in DCP’s Pinnochio (2022) and one of the most buoyant women that I know, Cassidy Butler. Last year was the year when Cassidy and I laughed when Xavier Hicks asked when we were a couple because of how much we were around each other —- it was in this same instant that I learned to value the talent of our youth because I saw a lot of myself in Xavier, who is certain to discover so much more of the most authentic variant of artistic joy as his performing career progresses, and I encourage him to keep displaying his talents to as many people as he can.

It was in the next instance that I truly learned to appreciate my friendship with Audrey Heimark, who to this day I still whisper to her about our final plans for the Joan of Arc production in our precalculus class when we should be drilling logarithms. My new friends involved in this show captivated me with their immediate presentation of their talent. I know that one day Ben Cordner will make a notable name for himself in film one of these days, for I sensed his love for movies — when he declared his admiration for The Lighthouse (2019) by A24 Films — in the air that surrounded him. This team cannot thank Aubrey Yaroschak enough for her remarkable artwork of the martyr Joan herself posing valiantly with her sword in the air — which is included on the front cover of our digital playbill.

In this theater, I find the disposition of the arts is less abstract than I often interpret it to be because my certainty about my love for its people is so concretely distinct. When we permanently fall in love with making our lives a work of art, we must stay beside the people who are fixated on their cycle of enhancing their higher visions. Under this playhouse, there exist the roots of my spiritual evolution, and inside of the playhouse, there exists a beautifully peculiar ensemble of voices that will drive the future of its pursuits. I hope we all learn to trust these voices and give them a place at the table, even if this means fashioning a new table altogether — because there is never too little room or time to contemplate what theatrical and artistic directions my generation will traverse down as we grow older.

We are the future of the artistic spirit; we are the new visions of emerging theatrics.

The DCP Junior Membership Outlet Production of Joan, Girl of Arc by Darrah Cloud plays one night only, Saturday April 1st at 7:00pm. Tickets are by cash donation at the door, all donation benefit DCP Theatre, a 501(c)(3) organization.

Original artwork by Aubrey Yaroschak

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