Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brendan Kiley wrote a manifesto of sorts at The Stranger--called Ten Things Theaters Need To Do Right Now to Save Themselves. Thought I'd run down my reactions to his Top Ten.

1.  Enough with the goddamned Shakespeare already.

I get the sentiment, but I don't think this is such a hot idea. His five year moratorium on all Shakespeare would actually mean a generation of high school students would never hear any Shakespeare, and I think that's not a good idea. I also question that Shakespeare is actually the anvil that's keeping most theaters from innovative programming.

2. Tell us something we don't know.

The sentence is a great impetus, and I'm behind a lot of these ideas.

3.  Produce dirty, fast, and often.

I'm also a fan of this as well.

4.  Get them young.

Agreed, though I would have liked more specifics on how to do that...I think almost all theaters KNOW they need to do this, but they're befuddled as to HOW.

5. Offer child care.

Much more specific than any of the other proposals, this seems like a workable idea...and I agree, it sounds a lot better than many current theater education programs--more hands-on, more apt to generate real interest in theater, and generally more kickass.

6. Fight for real estate.

I feel like this is happening now--I mean, for those in the know (and they tend to be the ones who survive) fight for affordable arts spaces all the time.

7. Build bars.

Brendan ignores that many theaters have liquor licenses now--they often have bars, but they suck. The fact is that the current theatrical management across America doesn't understand nightlife well, or they would be club owners rather than theater operators. So more than getting licenses, it's the matter of understanding how to make something cool. Much harder to fix.

8.  Boors' night out.

Eh. There are a lot more interesting ways to truly build community--like doing work that springs out of and from the stories of the community itself, environmental theater, immersive theater--than apeing conventions from another era and having people throw shit at actors. This one is weak.

9.  Expect poverty.

Sigh. Brendan, everyone ALREADY expects poverty, so this is not news to anyone. And no one is sitting around "expecting" a living wage for "talent and a mountain of grad-school debt". That's just dumb and a straw man argument. You'd think the way some people write about actor's entitlement that we had an issue in America where they were OVERpaid rather than UNDERpaid.

10.  Drop out of graduate school.

Agreed, wholeheartedly. Get out and learn it in the theaters, kids.


Brendan, how did you forget this?

3:46 AM