Monday, September 9, 2013

Mondays are Dark

If you need any proof that summer is over, it's the number of stories coming out about the upcoming theater season.  The South Florida Theatre Season really starts in October, but you'll see a handful of plays opening the next few weeks, and there are a few shows still lingering from the summer.

We are re-instituting the Sun-Sentinel into our reading, for now.  Broward companies, as small as they are, need the coverage, and since the Sentinel is letting Rod Hagwood write stories, we'll start including them.  We still wish he'd learn to write reviews.  And we're disappointed that many of these stories are in his gay life column; after all, straight people like theater, too.  Yes, even the musicals.

Speaking of musicals
The Miami Herald reports that Book of Mormon tickets went on sale today at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  This is expected to sell out quickly.

Theater is a Growth Industry in Jupiter
Florida Weekly reports that the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has broken sales records for single-ticket and subscriptions for this coming season.  You know, the one that hasn't happened yet.  But it's not just the number of patrons that's expanding this coming season:
The record-breaking sales come as the Maltz is preparing to reopen after renovations and an expansion that will add 62 new seats that will be part of an upstairs club level lounge. This secondfloor renovation will include a private entrance, glass elevator, and expanded lobby, bar and restrooms, all adjacent to the new seats. Additional executive offices also will be added to this floor.

Too Big for the Gables
The Drama Queen brings us up to date on Tarell Alvin McRaney's Anthony and Cleopatra, a co-production between GableStage, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and New York's Public Theater.  It debuts at the RSC's Swan Theater in Strattford-on-Avon, then GableStage will present it at The Colony Theater, before it moves on to New York.  Why The Colony? Seating capacity.  Not simply because the play may garner more attention because of its international connections, but to accommodate Miami-Dade County students, who will be bused in to see it for free.

Speaking of Getting Bigger
Florida Theater On Stage reports that Thinking Cap Theatre is not only increasing its programming, and opening a new space, but it's growing the company as well.
Stodard is ramping up to the challenges by expanding the staff. The new managing director will be Mark Duncan, Assistant Director for the Division of Performing & Visual Arts and Associate Professor/Chair of Theatre & Arts Administration at Nova Southeastern University. The new director of education is Scott Douglas Wilson, who serves on the faculty of New World School of the Arts. Veteran actress Carey Brianna Hart will be the resident stage manager, and Renee Elizabeth Turner will serve as music coordinator.
It's great news for the community, and a good sign that things are turning around for the theatre scene.

And More Growth
The Sun-Sentinel reports that Sol Children's Theatre has re-branded itself as The Sol Theatre, which consists of the Sol Children's Theatre and a more mature company, Evening Star Productions.  Its first show will be I Remain... Jane Austen, and opens September 27.

Say, What's Avi Up To?
The Jewish Week catches up with Avi Hoffman, who's been performing his Still Jewish After All These Years at Stage 72 in the Upper West Side of Manhattan through October 23.

Theater: It's What Makes Us Human
The Atlantic argues that mankind is what it is today because it discovered theatre. 
Charles Darwin proposed two theories of evolution: natural selection and sexual selection.  To affect species-wide change, a trait essentially has to help you live or get laid.

Let’s look first at survival: Among the many things that set humans apart from other animals is our capacity for counterfactual thinking. At its most basic level, this means we can hypothesize what might happen if we run out of milk; in its most elaborate form—we get War and Peace. Stories, then, are complex counterfactual explorations of possible outcomes: What would happen if I killed my landlady? What would happen if I had an affair with Count Vronsky? How do I avoid a water buffalo? According to Denis Dutton, these “low-cost, low-risk” surrogate experiences build up our knowledge stores and help us adapt to new situations. (“Mirror neuron” research indicates that our brains process lived and read experiences almost identically.)  A good “cautionary tale," for example, might help us avert disaster. Stories can also provide useful historical, scientific, cultural and geographical information. Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines illustrates this on two tiers: In armchair-travel fashion, the book acquaints readers with the Australian Outback, while simultaneously describing how Aboriginals sang stories walking at a specific pace so that geographical markers within the story would guide their journey.
-- Jennifer Vanerbes, The Evolutionary Case for Great Fiction, The Atlantic, September 5, 2013
Heck, we'll buy that for a dollar!

Speaking of Arts for Survival
Butts In Seats suggests that arts organizations should talk up how the arts makes learning easy; if you partake of the arts in your daily life, you'll soon find that you've been learning all kinds of things along the way.  Which kind of builds on what The Atlantic article was talking about.

Speaking of Talking About...
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has a story about the difficulties facing a theater critic:
While groups of people stand around at intermission talking about the first act, critics usually stay at least somewhat detached from the conversation, especially if another critic is involved. I often have to find a polite way to extricate myself from a group when people start pressing me for my thoughts halfway through a show. I have my opinions, but it’s not the right time to express them.
Me, I try not to press the critics about their impressions of the show while we're at the show.  I don't like to influence them.  Although I do recall one critic (no longer reviewing in our area) who pressed me for an opinion, and then similar wording appeared in his review. Did we simply share the same view?  Would he have written the same words if we had not spoken?  We'll never know, and that's Jay's point, I think.

Speaking Out

HowlRound holds a round table discussion with Will Power,,Polly Carl, Paula Vogel, and south Florida's Teo Castellanos. 
...Will, I wonder if you’ll start things off with us today and talk about what motivated you to recently publish an open letter regarding your decision to turn down an opportunity to work in Florida as resident artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts following Florida’s upholding of the “Stand Your Ground” statute. Why did you draw the line at Florida? I think of the fact that you work in Texas, and there are some things that go on in Texas that you could have said, “Oh, I’m not going to work in Texas.” Talk a little bit about what motivated you and why the open letter?
It's an interesting read about artistic integrity, and the choices we are faced with.

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