Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Open Thread: How Theater Failed America « Notes from Forum Theatre:

I was really glad to have this discussion. It was one of the few moments that I have felt a sense of being a part of the theater community in DC. Regardless of what shape I think or feel it’s in, I guess I am a part of it in my own way too. Mike Daisey’s point was, we all share a responsibility in helping create and shape the world around us, and that includes those of us in the theater.

One question still rings out to me: To whom is theater today speaking to? To each artistic director: what populations do you serve? Which groups do you aim to serve, think you serve, and really serve?

You could drop the theater tickets down to zero dollars and would you fill the seats? The DC Hip Hop Theatre Festival is free, sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and they pack it in. Lincoln Theater regularly pack in its 900-seat theater. But I would argue that those aren’t the people who are coming to see the well-known established theater companies’ seasons. DC is still Chocolate City, though less so now than earlier. DC is also a predominantly working class city as well — probably more so in the past. Do the theater audiences and industry folk represent the demographics of the city? If not, why is that?

1:42 PM