A shade more than two years ago, David Loehr and I met during a gathering at Arena Stage. He encouraged me to do some writing for this web site. Since that time, this is the 20th post I’ve written and the I’m-not-sure-how-to-count themth post I’ve read. The contributors to this site are a group I’m honored to be a part of. I wonder some times about my qualifications, since I’m rarely awake at 2 AM; though when I am, Theatre is usually implicated.
The posts I read here are a mix of artistic examples, management ideas, inspirational rants about the value of theatre, and profiles of interesting practitioners. I find it frequently useful for ideas to reuse and to recharge when my particular participation in theatre wears me out. If you’ve somehow found this in spite of not being a regular, please dip in deeper. You’ll find it can do the same things for you.
The event where I met David was the same one that opened with Rocco’s oversupply talk. Hasn’t that been a useful provocation and thought provoker? My current mania for multiplying the audience for live theatre is to some extent a response to that day.
To that end, I’m dipping back into my first post for one idea to reemphasize.
Many people involved in Theatre also make programming for the screen.
Playgoing in film and on television is almost always portrayed as either very stuffy (Privileged people go to something classical in suits. A woman probably has to connive a man into attending.) or nails on the chalkboard irritating (Our protagonist is forced to attend some sort of post-modern play in which the friend who forced him to go mutters nonsense while another extra sprawls across a table moaning. Whole point of the set up is the awkward “So what did you think?” scene that follows.) There must be exceptions, but I don’t run into them.
There is a special exemption for attending student theatre featuring one’s own children. An exemption a lot of people make it real life as well.
There is a lot on the screen that makes play making seem fun and dynamic.
Most stage representations teach the audience that attending theatre is dull and probably not for you.
This bias could be turned around, in much the same way that popular representations by television and film of other changing social values have molded public opinion and policy.
So if you make popular entertainment for the screen, consider including some scenes in which characters the audience likes attend plays and have fun. If ten of you could do that, I’m convinced it would accomplish more than a $Billion national advertising campaign to get people to theatres.
Also, please feel free to draw my attention to any disconfirming instances that I might excerpt to use in that $Billion campaign if I ever get it organized.
Self ordained chaplain of the American theatre.