Monday, June 22, 2009

Sean Williams on Glee Club, Endings and Instant Gratification

Sean Williams has written a very compelling and thought-provoking post on Blue Coyote's show, Glee Club, and gets into a rumination on the indie theatre scene, and that pervasive, "What Happens Next?" feeling that invariably happens once you open and close a show.

Sean writes:

"[If] we make a play and every blogger shows up, and all the online reviews are great, and the actual print media comes, and the New York Times says it's great... then, what? It's a little easier to put on the next show? You can walk in to an agent's office with some hot papers, they sign you and then... what? You're writing a spec script for Grey's Anatomy, a show you've never even seen, in a medium you care nothing about, where there's a lot of money but where you do nothing but pine for the days you were writing off-off shows and cast your friends?

I mentioned in a blog post recently that our community is freaking me out with how good everyone's work is, but it wasn't until I saw the play yesterday that I kinda understood why. Glee Club sold out the performance I was at, and if there's any justice in the world the next show will sell out too, and then the run will end. And then what? It's a terrifying question, and it's one that every one of us asks ourselves three or four times a year. Of course that's what we're all writing about. The incredible horror of the fruition of our work.

I told Matt that I was hit by just how small the stakes were for the characters in Glee Club. I don't mean that in a disparaging way: it's what makes Glee Club all the more tragic (and simultaneously hilarious). The characters spend the bulk of the play convincing another character to do something really, really horrible for such a small and petty reason. (I'm reminded of the old joke about professors and academia: "The in-fighting is so fierce because the stakes are so small.")

Sean's post also resonates with me, especially when I think about the incredibly limited run Nosedive's show Infectious Opportunity has (I can't speak for Matt, Kyle & Co., but I'm guessing they may be having similar thoughts, as the run of Glee Club is also so short). These shows go up to the Great Production in the Sky much, much sooner than usual, so that question of, "Now What?" is much, much more pervasive.

Usually when we close a show, the answer to "Now What?" is, "We have preproduction meetings for the next show." For Infectious, I think the answer to that question is, "We remount in late 2010 or early 2011."

Why? Not for money. Or getting an agent. Or a TV writing gig.

I simply want more people to see it.

Anyway, read the whole thing here. Then buy your damn tickets to see Glee Club. I've seen it twice now.

Then when you're done seeing Glee Club, get your tickets for Infectious Opportunity. You'll like them both.

Wanting to know what happens next,

James "Now What?" Comtois

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