Monday, May 15, 2006

great ideas and big picture

Some very good ideas and suggestions have come in on the Showcase Code issue, check them out in the comments to the post below. I've noticed that in this town when we start talking about unions, people get tense and knees start jerking. I'd like to hear from union members if you're out there, pro and con. Bottom line, if the union actors working downtown are happy with the code, then any effort to change it or create something new is going to be quite a struggle and may not be a legitimate cause. It's their union.

Other issues I'd like to kick around:

Rehearsal space- There's a lot of empty office space in New York. In Dallas, years ago, a deal was worked out between realtors and theatre companies. Only issue, I believe, was insurance.

Creating an endowment- How much revenue is generated in this city from all of the film and television that goes on? What would 1% of that mean to a bunch of small theatre companies? Can we make an argument to the city and to the massive media conglomerates that as the research and development wing of American culture, they should invest in us? Can we make the same argument to the League of American Theatres and Producers? Broadway shows that recoup begin to give half a percentage point back to the New York theatre?

New audience- How many colleges and high schools are in New York City? Why aren't we inviting them to take part in the unique cultural opportunity of downtown theatre? We'd be getting a good, rowdy crowd, filling some otherwise empty seats and engaging with a new audience, getting to know them now.

This is an especially insane week for me, so I'll try to stay in the conversation but if I grow quiet, don't worry, I'll be back. If anyone knows of some cheap and or free rehearsal space, let me know, I'm a little bit screwed. Too many balls juggling and dropped one.

Obies tonight. Always a strange evening.


Brent Cox said...

I'd like to speak to the new audiences point.

I think that approaching local schools is a strong idea, but I'm interested in, as a supplement to new audience development, old audience preservation. Which is also new audience preservation, ultimately.

Basically, in my experience (and other's I've witnessed) the core audience greys and stops leaving the house for entertainment. You've become accustomed to drawing from a reliable pool of audience in the hundreds, and time passes (as you grey at the same rate) and the audience pool dwindles and is not replenished.

So, at the same time as energy is spent on developing new audiences to people (and create) theaters in the future, how to fend against attritition? Is it just, "It is what it is?" Is it a question of, "Make better shit?"

Ian W. Hill said...

As an AEA actor as well as Off-Off-Bway producer, I love my union in all respects except for the damned Showcase code, which hasn't helped me in either position.

It's not a "right" unless you can waive it, and I'm tired of the restrictions placed on productions that are being done for love of the form that are going to lose money no matter what.

John said...

"It's not a right unless you can waive it..." Now, I love that. Can you expand, Ian?