Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Banding Together

UPDATE: Isaac Butler has posted his response over at Parabasis. From what it seems like, a director's experience with such a show is very different than a writer's or performer's. Check it out.

I just realized that my previous post was my 200th on this site. Shouldn’t there be any fanfare or something?

[insert sound of kazoo here]

Okay, there we go!



As an addendum to my previous post, in addition to keeping costs down, presenting nights of one-acts from various writers with various directors and cast members can be another way for small theatre companies to not only stay afloat but also develop audiences.

The Blue Coyote Theatre Company's recent Standards of Decency Project is a good example of this: an evening of nine one-act plays centered around a central theme. The show had at least 39 people involved in it (perhaps more).

Seriously, folks. Thirty-nine.

If each person involved in the evening of one-acts could bring in six to a dozen people (friends and well-wishers) to the run (something very doable), we're talking 234 to 468 audience members (just from friends and personal well-wishers alone).

Since the theatre showing The Standards of Decency Project, the Access, seats 64, we're talking three to seven nights of the run being completely sold out from the get-go (and from what I've heard, that certainly was the case with the show's attendance). Added to that, each writer/actor/director involved received a wider audience than they would be normally used to.

Homer Frizzell, Joe Ganem, Jason Green and Mac Rogers experienced a similar situation with their short-run of F a few years back, which had a large number of enthusiastic cast members involved that resulted in standing-room-only crowds (and the implicit cross-pollination, giving each person involved several new audience members for their work).

(I've had similar experiences with my participation in Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company's REVAMPED shows and Friday Night Fight Club's "Circo Pelear," managing to rope a few friends into seeing it, but still having the show sell out, since the large number of participants did the same.)

Now, this is different than theatre companies jointly producing a work, or multiple companies putting up multiple shows in a festival setting. From what I've seen and heard (and experienced with Nosedive's Off-Night Series we did back in May of 2005), that often brings the opposite results: drained energy, inflated budgets, diminished audiences and a large number of theatre artists ready to kill one another.

In tough times, presenting multiple acts from multiple theatre artists under one roof may be a good way to develop audience bases and give the region a sense that there is indeed a theatre "scene."

You could do worse, in my view.

Far, far worse.

Throwing tired ideas to the crowd,

James "Pseudo-Innovative" Comtois

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to chime in that there is another added benefit that I feel comes from the production of evenings of short form work by multiple artists is the cross pollination of artists that happens at those events. It is one of my favorite things about REVAMPED is watching artists be exposed to each other's work, sometimes for the first time.

Anyways...just thought I would add that small, inelegant tidbit.
much love,

11:38 AM  
Blogger parabasis said...

James et al.,
My response, in which I try to explain the problems I have with one-act nights is here:

I was going to write it as a comment to this post. But then it went on too long. Hope you find it worthwhile reading!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Cat* said...

Not much to add... but I Did feel as if you deserved Kazoos


12:54 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Nice. Thanks. About time somebody gave me the kazoo fanfare!

12:57 PM  

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