This weekend, I am in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a legendarily great theatre town. I am not, however, hanging out with any theatre people this weekend. I am instead hanging out with literature people. When people hear about my theatre background, the following conversation happens, almost word for word:
PERSON A: You know, Minneapolis is a great theatre town.
ISAAC: That's what I've heard. I have a friend who did the Jerome recently and several other friends who have lived or done work in the Twin Cities recently, and they all loved it.
PERSON A: You know, the Guthrie has a great building.
PERSON A: Yeah, it's a really world class building.
Never in this conversation is the work that is done at the Guthrie mentioned. And, indeed, I get the sense that the people I'm talking to have never actually seen anything at the Guthrie.
Similarly, when I was in DC, 99 and I took a cab to our hotel and had the most amazing cab driver of all time. He showed us great buildings and talked about the architecture and history of the city. He was at least in his mid-sixties and had lived in DC all of his adult life. Now, this being a DC cab driver, he was of course doing this to take us on a longer route than was necessary, thus charging us nearly triple what it should cost to get from Union Station to our hotel, but that's DC, baby.
And then he asked us why we here. We said we had a theatre conference to go to.
CAB DRIVER: Oh, a theatre conference. Great! Have you seen the plans for the new Arena stage? It's going to be great!
J: No, I actually haven't looked at them.
CAB DRIVER: It's going to be fantastic. A beautiful, a world class building!
ISAAC : Have you ever seen anything at Arena?
CAB DRIVER: No! But I love their new building!