Wednesday, February 02, 2005

And now, a story of the American theater that is not mordant or depressing, but hopeful.

I know--never here, right? Doesn't happen, right? It feels that way, a lot of days--an art form under-appreciated and often missing its niche, American theater spends its days and nights wailing as one light after another goes dark, until the very last subscriber goes home.

But not tonight in Seattle. The beleaguered Empty Space Theatre has made its emergency fundraising goal, and will continue creating challenging, contemporary new works. Read the skinny here, and this the part that makes my heart swell:

Most of the emergency fund contributions came from individuals, Galatros said. There were 2,293 such donations, the bulk of them under $500. The average contribution was $176. "The Space constituency has always been mostly ordinary people," Galatros said, "and it was basically those folks who came to our rescue." There was one corporate contribution, $8,000 from The Boeing Co., and gifts from two foundations, Lucky Seven ($25,000) and Breneman Jaech ($10,000).

In a world of constant corporate co-option and theaters who spend their every last minute watching the NEA and foundations for signs of whose ass they need to kiss faster this is fan-fucking-tastic. Theater by people, paid for by the people who want the theater to exist--it's so novel and rare and beautiful and right that it makes you want to sing a hallelujah.

I've never worked at Empty Space--it's one of the few places in Seattle I haven't played. But I hope to remedy that someday, and I'm extremely grateful that it's a hell of a lot more probable today, thanks to tons of artists, board members, volunteers and audience members who knew they had a great thing and wouldn't let go of it, no matter how much it might have looked lost.
4:49 AM