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January 25, 2008

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secret agent girl

"I can't help but wonder if on some level artistic directors are looking at possible programming choices and (even subconsciously) wondering which of these will someone enhace?"

Yes. Not always subconsciously. Enhancement is just another way that financial concerns influence programming. $100,000 from a producer, a big-name star - it's barely different.

On the other hand, I've seen enhancement make it possible for otherwise timid producers to put on really daring, exciting work - the enhancement money provides a cushion that makes it possible to take a chance, and 'taking a chance' usually, sadly, means producing something because it's good, rather than safe.

callie kimball

Great post. Thanks for writing it.

andy

Great post!

There is a lot more enhancement than people admit to - just as there are lots of dirty secrets about the production of "not-for-profit" theater that people don't discuss outside of cocktail parties.

That being said, in this imperfect world, there are definite upsides to "enhancement." One is that it allows commercial producers a lower-risk way to develop and cultivate innovative work. Sometimes a theater can choose a more "commercial" work because it is enhanced, but just as often it is a chance for a commercial producer to get a risky show into shape before it moves uptown. In some sense enhancement is like a "vertically integrated" development process, subsidizing the already-established trajectory of a project.

Also, "enhanced" productions can sometimes allow non-profit theaters to allocate more of their resources to the shows they KNOW will tank at the box office but will be artistic successes.

The practice of enhancement creates an interesting situation and raises some good questions about how art and commerce relate to one another. The point you make about "mission" is really apt and is ripe for continued discussion about whether or not most non-profits adhere to, or accomplish, what they set out to do.

isaac

thanks andy i appreciate what you're saying. I don't think enhancement is killing american theatre or anything. I think it's complicated, i think it's a double-edged sword (and i agree with you about its benefits), and I think we need people involved to talk about it more so we can know what we're talking about.

linda samet

enhancement money rules the game.
when money is offered to do a work, nonprofits consider that work seriously.
when a work merits a production, the work isn't done if there is no money.
where does that leave a talented writer whose work is highly recommended.
that writer is out in the cold.
the situation needs correcting.
i write musicals but it has become very difficult now to get something on the boards.

linda samet

enhancement money rules the game.
when money is offered to do a work, nonprofits consider that work seriously.
when a work merits a production, the work isn't done if there is no money.
where does that leave a talented writer whose work is highly recommended.
that writer is out in the cold.
the situation needs correcting.
i write musicals but it has become very difficult now to get something on the boards.

linda samet

one day theater might recover
a recovery
a theater recovery
to come alive as it once was
with producers seeking true talent
and then and only then the money should follow
and beautiful, artistic works can have
a chance
new works with a new vision


linda samet

the little guy, the non-profit producer, is in a little room
with the money guy
some money is on a table
MONEY GUY SAYS "ONE, TWO, THREE
PRODUCER RUNS FOR THE MONEY FAST LIKE A CLOWN
ALMOST MAKES THE TABLE FALL DOWN
WITH HIM ON TOP OF IT
he pockets the money
he's achieved something
art, great art, creative work, enormous talent
the deal is done
they shake hands
more about this the next time.

stean top

Enhancemrnt sounds like a pretty sophisticated form of trickery. Well comercial powers are hard to resist.

Tableau Condos

I personally think the enhancement process works. If you're a producer you have to think this is the way to go.

christian louboutin

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L SAMET

Today's enhancement keeps creeping in
Like a snake
Hidden from the public
Art that is fake
Gets to be done
Because the commercial producer wants iT done
He is insistent
The non-profit agrees to it
Contract is signed
What meaning does this have?
It's the game of a little mind.

L. Samet

Take out your bankbook or your rich father's bankbook
Show it to a producer
His eyes will be rolling
and he'll want to sign you up soon
Money went to his head
A greedy man with rolling eyeballs
Sticky fingers
But perhaps he can change
Maybe
Hopefully . . .


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