Friday, October 08, 2004

Theatre Must Acknowledge that Money Exists:
If there is any doubt that money matters, just try not paying rent/mortage for your home or theatre. Paying actors, technicians, writers, designers, directors, and others something, even if it is less than they deserve, may not only be a respectful and essential component of treating them as professionals, but paying people allows them to spend their time and energy not doing something else. This is also true for producers. Not making money may not be sustainable.

The New York Post reports:
The producers of Peter and Jerry - an evening of two one-act plays by Edward Albee that was to have opened off-Broadway next month - have quietly and abruptly canceled the production because they fear the legendary playwright is no longer the box-office draw he once was.
In a letter to Albee, McCann [one of the producers] defended her decision by laying out in detail just how much money she and her investors have lost on his most recent plays, the sources said.
Those productions include the off-Broadway plays The Play About the Baby and Beckett/Albee, and the Broadway production of The Goat, which got generally strong reviews and a Tony Award for Best Play.
Albee is alledged to have responded:
Since when is anyone supposed to make money on an Edward Albee play?
SlowLearner (an NYC Playwright) points out, in a very good post, that:
...people who make their living investing in things want to invest in things that will at least make back their investment.
I'll go further and say that if they don't break even at least some of the time, they will run out of money and stop producing. SlowLearner continues:
I mean, if there are producers out there who want to keep pouring money into artistic work that isn't profitable, I think that's awesome. If someone were to buy me a DVD player just for the heck of it, I would think that was also awesome. But I don't sit here thinking I deserve a DVD player just 'cause I'm a cool guy and I know a lot about movies.
And goes further to say (emphasis added):
I guess I have an impulse to fight tooth and nail against surrendering to the idea of theater as a charity. I guess I buy into the idea that one indicator of one's value to a culture is the willingness of others to pay for your services.
SlowLearner asks if that is a bad way to think about the arts. I think money isn't everything, but it is a thing. In light of Defiant closing after their current show partly because, as Kara Loquist said:
...[people] aren't getting paid enough to own a house or do other things
money obviously matters (Kara Loquist, the current managing director, as quoted in PerformInk).

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