Thursday, September 21, 2006

Two Productions and a Treatise

I saw the opening of The Estrogenius Festival last night, which featured Mr. George Hunka's short and fascinating play, Bridal Suite. (You can read the text of the play here.) I do recommend going to the ManhattanTheatreSource and checking it out: this first batch of plays runs until tomorrow.

(Also, it was nice to finally meet you, Mr. Cote!)

Congratulations to George and everyone involved in the show(s). Best of luck on the rest of the festival. I'm now very much looking forward to seeing George's full-length endeavor, In Public, which opens October 18.

* * *

Over at Nosedive Central, Pete and Patrick are getting ready to stage their send-up to early-20th Century Grand Guignol horror theatre with a Nosedive side-project, The Blood Brothers Present, which will feature two older one-act horror plays from the Guignol tradition and three original vignettes, one of them written by yours truly. It'll be going up for two weekends in October at the 78th Street Theatre Lab. The two of them have wanted to do something like this for years now and finally the time has come (I think doing The Adventures of Nervous Boy had sufficiently whetted their appetite for violent, bloody, horrific theatre).

Seriously, folks. You really won't want to miss this.

* * *

Tom Loughlin writes in his A Poor Player blog about the problems of New York Centrism in the theatre blogosphere in an entry entitled, well, "NewYorkCentrism."

Mr. Loughlin writes:

"As an educator and also as a theatre artist, I have fought for years against this NewYorkCentrism, the notion that all good things in theatre happen only in New York, and therefore one must go to New York City to become successful and do theatre well."

He continues:

"I've invited a number of people to come to Buffalo, for example, if they really want to work and create good art. Why? Because it can easily be done. There are at least six "open" theatres in the city which rent out or are otherwise available for productions, and that doesn't count the odd church basements. There is a burgeoning new neighborhood up on Hertel Ave. with several abandoned storefronts."

There are some interesting and valid points he makes, although when push comes to shove all I can really say is, "Feh." I think this is simply because:

a.) I like living in New York and really don't want to live anywhere else right now (funny that I'm finding myself having to justify this idea more often to more people nowadays),

b.) In terms of theatre blogs, I just took inventory of the theatre blogs on my blogroll and did a tally of how many were New York- versus non-New York-based: 26 blogs, 16 of them are from New York-based bloggers, 4 of them from semi-nomadic, semi-New York-based (i.e., are known to move in and out of the city, depending on where they find work) and 6 of them patently non-New York-based. Obviously a majority of them are New York-based, but there's still a decent cross-section of theatre blogs I read and recommend that discuss what's happening around the country (and in Allison's case, Australia), and

c.) I had moved from a place where I would not have been able to stage plays with relative ease and affordability (Boston) to a place where I have been able to (New York), so in many ways, the "hype" about staging theatre in New York is not totally without merit. (In other words, theatre-wise, this city has done me good for several years now.)

(I am reminded of Matt Johnston's departure from New York to Boston and finding no work of any kind — paid or volunteer — in Beantown, then returning back to the Rotten Apple only to get a directing offer damn near within hours upon coming back.)

Is there good theatre happening in Buffalo? I'm sure of it. Why wouldn't there be? There's good theatre happening in New Hampshire (or at least, there was when I was growing up there). But obviously in the medium of theatre you can really only comment on what you've seen and can see. Since I live in New York City, I can only comment on theatre in said city.

And also, I'm not moving to Buffalo.

Seriously, fuck that.

Still, there is some merit in trying to convince college students about to graduate and wanting to pursue a career in theatre that New York is not the only option available to them. It does take a certain disposition to live in this city that not everyone has. I also think that if you move to New York solely to do theatre, you will be very unhappy (seriously, this city ain't for everyone). The idea of trying to convince a young theatre person to go somewhere other than New York is a good one.

Although there's definitely a lot of "tilting at windmills" in Mr. Loughlin's entry (to be fair, something not uncommon in the land of blogging), it's still worth a read.

Tired of these damn
kids coming to my town,

James "Cranky Local" Comtois


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