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March 24, 2011

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Scott Walters

I think the key phrase is "for the public." Writers often write poems, short stories, novels that, when finished, get put into a drawer -- they've had the experience that comes from creating a work of art, but the public didn't see it. Similarly, I think theatre artists need to create productions as often as possible, but not necessarily for the public. Create productions in living rooms or church basements or coffee shops, rehearse them, learn from them, knock some hours off of your 10,000-hr goal, but don't enter the marketplace.

Paul Mullin

Paul Mullin

Paul Mullin

(I posted this earlier on the wrong post.)

Well, here in Seattle it certainly makes for an interesting thought experiment: if the many talented playwrights here simply stopped creating new works, would the Big Houses even notice? Seems doubtful.

I think the supply/demand rubric is dubious in the context of theatre. Let's face it. You are never going to reach a state of "pent up" demand. You'll be lucky if you reach a state of "demand."

So asking generative theatre artists to stop creating so much supply is tantamount to asking them to shut up and stop whining. To which I reply with a hearty, joyful "Fuck you."

("You" not meaning, you, Isaac, but those saying such poorly reasoned things.)

PS I half disagree with Scot. Unlike poetry and prose, the acting of creating theatre is only complete when an audience is present. So living rooms and church basements etc. are fine, so long as there are people present in them to hear and see. So DEFINITELY enter the marketplace. After all the other word for "marketplace" in our current context IS "theatre".

Great art creates its own demand. No one wanted Van Gogh's pictures. No one wanted Beckett's first plays.

Howard

Paul is eloquent. Scott is, as well.

It's a stupid idea to let the marketplace determine what you are making, let alone whether or not you are making something.

Art is not generally a "widget."

And you have to wonder where the assertion "independent musicians have understood this for a long time" comes from. Or even what it means - you'd have to be dead not to notice all the music being created independently of the market.

Perhaps the CATT post should be ignored? It doesn't seem very well thought-out, however well-intentioned.

Lyam

I'm gonna agree with Paul, but I also want to defend what Scott said, just a little. Live music only really exists for an audience, as well, but those audiences are sometimes to be found at house parties and the like. It seems to me that there is something to the notion of "parlor" theater, wherein one can test works on a smaller scale for a friendly audience, thus generating work (or simply sharpening tools) in preparation for larger projects for larger future audiences.

That said, the notion of reducing supply to create demand seems outright loony. I crave cultural product as much as anyone, but when there's nothing good on TV, I see what's on the Netflix queue. Starving the theatrical audience of theater isn't likely to make them clamor for more theater; it's likely to send them somewhere else. I would rather look at alternate ways of getting theater to them--ways that are less costly (if more challenging) than insisting that theater always be done in theaters.

RVCBard

I would rather look at alternate ways of getting theater to them--ways that are less costly (if more challenging) than insisting that theater always be done in theaters.

This right here.

Lyam

I should qualify a little, just so no one's thinking I'm suggesting that theater shouldn't be done in theaters. It just seems to me that there needs to be a way for artists to get around administrators in order to create demand, to actually make a specific artist, group of artists, or work-in-progress a more attractive gamble for the gatekeepers.

RVCBard

It just seems to me that there needs to be a way for artists to get around administrators in order to create demand, to actually make a specific artist, group of artists, or work-in-progress a more attractive gamble for the gatekeepers.

I think that way is already there (hence, why I'm planning to produce Tulpa, or Anne&Me at all). I think there needs to be a better way of connecting with these artists.

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Shelby Morrone

Perhaps the CATT post should be ignored? It doesn't seem very well thought-out, however well-intentioned.

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