This past Wednesday, people talked about and reacted to my post There is Too Much Theatre in D.C. It was exciting for me! I sparked discussion! Anyways, I just wanted to lightly (ha) expand on it in a couple quick points, outside of the stricter and more impermanent confines of Facebook and Twitter.
1) What would an organization that enables regional touring look like? What functions would it have? Presumably, the main function would be securing spaces. Such an organization would have to have ties to various venues that are interested in hosting local low-budget touring productions. But would it make more sense to organize it from the venue side, or from the artist side? (If that’s not a false dichotomy.) In other words, would this organization look more like a coalition of theatre-interested venues, that accept applications from artists? Or would it be a coalition of artists, that collectively share resources in seeking out regional touring?
Other possible functions: shared marketing; bill-matching (as in matching multiple artists with shorter works onto one cohesive bill); advocacy for the legitimization of regional touring, especially in terms of seeking reviews of touring works. Most complicated, I imagine, would be actually getting directly involved in assisting companies in making their shows tour-able (set mobility, etc).
Last question: would it make more sense as, like mentioned above, more of a coalition, where it’s a matter of the members helping each other out? Or would it make more sense as an independent body with its own resources? I imagine a looser coalition would be pretty easy to set up and would require little more than staging a regular meeting of representatives from theatre companies that are interested.
Okay, actual last question: where would the line be drawn in terms of genre? Touring would probably be just as valuable to dance companies, for instance, and of course to musical acts.
2) Food for thought: some musical artists in recent years have made the home concert a thing. You know, where someone’s house hosts a band, except it’s not really just some house party, but more a live-listening party. Could theatre (VERY small-scale theatre) ever be that? Would anyone ever collect twenty bucks from two dozen of their friends in order to bring some professional actors to their living room and do a live, energetic reading of Much Ado or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or some other such thing?
3)Why are shows treated like recitals, and not albums? In other words – theatrical shows are put on like recitals. The script, design, and acting is polished over a period of some weeks or months (years, in the case of the script) and then shown – recited – for the audience, much like a music student doing a recital to demonstrate what they learned. Well, like that, except somewhere between four and forty times over the course of somewhere between a weekend and a couple months, and with more of a “this is a finished product for you to enjoy” vibe. But why couldn’t theatrical productions be treated more like albums (okay, CDs… okay, MP3 collections) put out by musical artists? Musicians create a finished product and then tour behind it, and tour and tour (especially if they’re lesser-known) until the music’s been saturated and either succeeded in its market or grown too old, and it’s time for the next album.
In other words (he wonders mostly hypothetically – call it Hypothetical Friday!), why don’t companies rehearse shows to a fine polish, and then try and perform them, and keep performing them, and performing them, until they’re done? (Possibly changing in new actors and adding new direction as the show slowly reveals itself in performance?) Why is one short single run the standard everywhere except for Broadway (where shows actually do run as long as they keep selling), besides for obvious economic reasons? I say this more to spark more food-for-thought contemplation and less as a serious inquiry, because even I, in writing this, can come up with plenty of other reasons. Just something to ponder.
Talk to me! Continue talking to me! But be aware that I probably can only respond on Twitter or Facebook once per day, all at the end of the day. So, rather, I should say, talk to each other! Thanks.