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January 24, 2010


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(spam idiot just above...)

I bet the decline in arts attendance in general is our adaptatation of PR hype techniques to reach a significant penetration of the uninformed mass-market, but the same rules apply as when we see a car commercial -- if the product's so good, why the hard sell?

From our perspective, it's that the arts don't have market share, not as a sports team would, so when we do reach out it has to be big and loud. Then again, our best sales come from word-of-mouth -- but we've gone to discounted to free tickets, to no significant effect.

How do we step off of the wheel o' hype, and come to our audiences from a real place?


I think the only way through is out. Off the wheel o' hype, and out to find the audience we connect with. If your people aren't going to the institutional theatres, find them where they are.


McCraney, I have to assume, is in no greater danger of turning mediocre than most of us are of turning suddenly and inexplicably awesome.

The juicy dramatic arc of the artist who, upon being anointed a great gift to humankind's understanding of itself, finds the pressure too great and self-destructs, is worthy of a great play. Which you may want to write or direct or whatever, once you're done with this Outrageous Fortune exercise. But one needn't be superhuman to be diligent and level-headed and able to focus and produce good work ... apparently in spite of the slavering crowd that wants him to fail.

PS On a related topic, most audience members will survive the blow of learning that a show that they've heard described as great is merely very good, and thereby live to see another show if they want to without the spectre of exposure to another non-masterpiece looming darkly. Or at least I hope so, because I'm going to see In the Red and Brown Water next Friday and have other plans over that weekend that I would hate to miss out on, due to a theatre-induced condition.



When you're there, eavesdrop on people's conversations during intermission. Hopefully, you'll see what i'm talking about. I wasn't just wildly conjecturing. People were angry that In The Red and Brown Water wasn't Hamlet.


In my extensive experience, people in a Studio Theatre audience in DC love to show off that they have read the reviews and yet have formed their own opinions. That's an inducement to see more theatre, not less, for the people you are overhearing, and one reason I'm glad that DC has a thriving reviewer community.

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