Monday, September 7, 2009

Mondays are Dark

Good Walls Make Good Audiences
There's a lively little discussion on the Drama Queen about the 4th wall.  Be sure to read the comments.

Casting News
The Alliance Theatre Lab has cast Sexual Perversity in Chicago.  And director Skye Whitcomb learns that even the actual physical walls of a theatre don't mean as much as they ought to.

They Think We Might Suck
MissionParadox points out that the performing arts doesn't actually start with open minds at curtian:
Most people, when given the option to attend a performing arts event, are more scared that the performance is going to be disappointing then they are excited that the performance is going to be good.
Yikes!  Imagine going to a restaurant expecting to hate your meal; expectations tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies!  His point is that we're not selling the play so much as convincing the audience to trust that they will be seeing something worth the price of admission.
My observation is that most of us in the arts are very good at putting up programming, but we aren't good at building relationships.
Butts In Seats picks up on this topic; he first thought of a post from awhile back that touched on the subject:
In the entry I talked about the efforts I was going to inform people about performances since they often commented they hadn’t seen anything about the show.
This is important, because this is why the Theatre Scene was started; to provide a place for people to learn about the shows going on in the area.
In that entry I spoke of using electronic notifications, word of mouth and opinion leaders to help disseminate information about performances. One thing I missed that Adam speaks about is relationship building. It is true that people need to view the information you provide as credible, but they also need to believe that you will provide an enjoyable experience even if they end up less than thrilled about the performance.
I have always been proud of my former employer, Florida Stage, for the level of trust they've built with their audience.  They sell out most of their tickets before they even announce what shows they will be doing.  Back then, Louis Tyrell boasted that he was selling theatre, not plays.  But now I realize that what he'd really done was to build exactly the kind of relationship described above.

Community Cartel
Seth Godin proposes a solution to absurdly high royalties paid by community theaters for the right to do productions that are mostly only done by community theaters:
Imagine contacting 3,000 high schools and finding 500 willing to join together and agree to act as a buying cartel. Now, the organizer can poll the directors at these schools and find thirty plays they'd be willing to put on next year.
I dunno.  I think I'd rather herd cats than get 3,000 high school drama departments to agree on something.

Fresh Perspective
Parabasis doesn't tell use much we don't already know about the problems facing small theatre companies, but it's a good rundown of the essentials; funding, space, visibility, and quality.  He also goes through the strengths: resourcefulness, community support, variety, and demographics.

He does add one point we really need to consider:
Success is poorly defined.  A show that sells badly can still be an artistic success. A show that no one liked can still be beloved by its creators. If success is poorly defined, failure is also poorly defined, and thus a company ceasing production is largely based on factors that have little to do with the actual work.
This article has spawned a lively discussion from different regions around the country.

This comment, in particular, is reminiscent of my own views on theatre criticism.

Deja Vu
Did you know that they're doing a sequel to The Laramie Project?  Bill Hirschmann writes it up for the Sun-Sentinel.

Meanwhile, in Palm Beach...
...the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed.

No comments:

Post a Comment