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August 25, 2009


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The showcase code sucks. I've often thought of just not using equity actors in my shows, which would be a shame, but it would be nice to have all that extra rehearsal time.

Tony Adams

If you're having space problems I feel bad for you son. I've got 99 problems but the fringe ain't one.

Ben TS

What's your issue with the "festival glut?" I get how some festivals can be annoying/tacky/exploitative, but I don't quite see understand they're a substantial obstacle to theatre being made.

Joshua James

Certainly those things you list have had a negative affect on indie theatre, I would not or could not disagree.

I would mention, however, that you did not experience indie theatre BEFORE the Fringe, and therefore must imagine the change in perception of indie theatre afterwards that I observed ...

It is just my opinion, of course, but I just wanted to note that neither you nor Sean were involved in indie theatre in nyc then ... you can't have it both ways, if I can't make a judgment / observation on the Fringe without participating in it, neither can you on what theatre was like before the fringe in 97 ...


(#) Attrition, Turnover, Institutional Memory, etc.
No one aspires to a life in Indie Theater. It’s a place where careers start, but everyone sees themselves somewhere else in 5 years. Whether that happens or not, there is rarely the consistent energy required to change any of the big problems. This only heightens my respect for the folks who put in time with NYIT, FringeNYC, LIT, etc.


I lived and worked in New York from '96-'98, but I was cast out of town almost the whole time. Nothing quite like opening a Christmas show in upstate New York shortly after Halloween...

I can promise you this, Gideon Productions has no plans to leave New York Indy Theater no matter what happens to any one specific production. There is too much that is good about it. Production at the next level, at least in New York, amounts to More Money, More Problems.

The showcase code does make it difficult to extend... but it's supposed to. The cast and crew don't have any ownership over the piece, they've put in an enormous amount of work and they get nothing when the show gets published or goes into rep or whatever. If you've got enough gas to extend, then the actors need some kind of compensation for their time.

Real Estate is insane. I'll give you that.

Also... Noise. There are 300 plays going up at any given time in New York, it's tough to get your head above the fray.

Of course, it's hard to argue that theater is a) too expensive for anyone who wants to do it and b) there are way too many plays going up at any given time. It can't be prohibitively expensive and also too prevalent...


Yeah, I'm sorry RLewis, but there are actually a LOT of people who aspire to a life in Indie Theatre.

Or, to be more accurate, who aspire to a life in the theatre where we don't have to relinquish creative control over our work. Right now the best place to do that is here. If Indie Theatre ceases to be a place where that can happen, then we'll just move on to wherever it can.

But that's not gonna be Broadway or Hollywood, I can pretty much guarantee that.


I guess this aspiration debate dances around what I identify as one of the greatest problems with NYC Indie theater, which is how do "professionals" distinguish themselves from "amateurs". In my experience, artists of the highest caliber and intellect share spaces, labels (Indie Theater, namely), and the like with inexperienced/dunce- like theater people who love what they do, audience be damned! This generates the "noise" Sean mentioned... audiences have been burned by bad indie plays in the past, there are few off-off venues you can trust to consistently produce top notch work. In any other city, some "indie" theater shows (by NYC standards) would be called "community" theater shows.

Not your show, of course...


I may be way off base, but the attrition/aspiration problem, as far as I can see, has to do with money. In fact, most of these problems have to do with money, no?
The lack of stage managers, for example, has everything to do with the fact that as soon as a person proves to be a decently competent stage manager, they have the opportunity to make money - but not with indie groups. Those of us who aspire to a life in indie theater have to find a way to make a living - which severely cuts down on availability of time resources.
If we could find ways to pay everyone what they're worth, we wouldn't be forced to juggle "real" jobs with our theater careers. (And how sad is it that so many brilliant artists have to call their administrative/marketing/office drone situation their "real" job?)
Rehearsal schedules would open up (after all, how can we rehearse 30 hours a week with actors who have to make a living?) - and, at the same time, with more money, we'd be able to pay for those rehearsal spaces.
Perhaps it's short-sighted or reductive to say so, but it seems to me that a lack of access to funds dictates far more than a lack of access to talent, location or interesting works.

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