Working out of the Pocono office for the next few days. Snow on the ground, squirrels leaping from bare branch to bare branch, bright blue sky above.
Opened The Truth About Santa to enthusiastic, appreciative crowds, now waiting for the critics to send their holiday greetings.
And on Sunday morning a group of us officially launched the League of Independent Theater at Barrow Street Theater with our first Members Meeting. About fifty folks showed up bright and early and we started charting strategy and setting priorities for 2009. Very energizing and encouraging to sit with smart, committed people for a couple of hours and walk out with a sense of possibility and even faith that we can change things if we keep working.
If you haven't joined yet, you can download the application at www.litny.org.
Here's something I handed out to the members:
A NOTE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
I’ve spent the last 18 years working in Off-Off or independent theaters in New York City. I’ve helped build two of them and have performed, rehearsed, produced and presented in hundreds more. I’ve seen generations of actors, writers, directors, designers, technicians, administrators and small companies struggle, triumph, fail, go broke and then start up again. I’ve sat in meetings with funders and consultants whose criteria and advice bear no relationship with the working reality of our sector of independent theater. I’ve bit my tongue almost off when talking with mainstream journalists and Off-
Broadway producers all professing bewilderment at where the next generation of artists can be found.
And nothing, essentially, has changed in this cultural and economic territory since I started working here.
Rents are too high.
Audiences are too small.
Runs are too short.
Resources are scarce.
Recognition and respect are hard-fought and fleeting.
This is why I’ve worked to create the League of Independent Theater and why I’ve volunteered to be its’ first Executive Director. Not because of any unique gifts or insights I can provide to this organization, but because I’m unwilling to accept that the conditions we work in cannot be improved if we only, finally, join together and work as a unified force.
There have been efforts like this begun and abandoned over the almost 20 years I’ve been around and I’ve heard some natural cynicism about another effort to “re-invent the wheel”.
And my answer is: the wheel may be fine, but the road the wheel is rolling on leads to a brick wall.
LIT is an opportunity for us to begin to chart a new road, a road that leads to economic sustainability, civic support, institutional stability and greater recognition and respect for our members. With the same tenacity, creativity and urgency we bring to our productions, we can, by working together, create an economically and creatively viable environment for independent theater in New York City.
I look forward to working with all of you on this great endeavor.
Yep. That boat is in the water, time to start rowing.
And here's our MMMQ, for those of you still reading:
Which rock and roll drummer/demigod barged his way into the pantheon by publicly heckling the band's original drummer, driving him from the stage and then picking up the sticks to finish the gig?
Was the ginger-clad gent:
1. Keith Moon
2. Ringo Starr
3. John Bonham
4. Charlie Watts
5. Micky Dolenz
Winners go on a three-year world tour, losers watch the cricket match with Pete Best.