Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Comment of the Week

Here are the contenders for this week:

Comment #1: a new comment on your post "New report: Are nonprofit theaters too closely tie...":

People get confused with the term not for profit and something that doesn't make money. We are in the business to make money. Our product is the art. Our consumer public is our audience. Our market is the region surround our building. Theater companies get caught up in their mission statements, they get trapped behind dramaturgical jargon and community kiss-assery. Non profit theater isn't soley about the mission statement or catering to their communities it also about supply and demand, laissez faire economics. In a market economy where producers have some influence on who to bring their product to, regional theaters should be in bed with Broadway. It brings the arts to the masses and helps balance the budget back at home. Do people go see farm teams because they like baseball? No, they want to see what is up and coming, what may some day be the next big thing. They want to lock it down now. I don't think nonprofit theaters are close enough to commercial producers. Regional theater is a breeding ground, a petri dish for the future. Give people what they want - a good show here and now and also a money maker later. 

Comment #2: a new comment on your post "Getting the Most Out of Gen Y":
What I find the most interesting part of the article is the discussion about how Generation Y "curates" their lives. I've never thought about it like that before, but it is absolutely 100% true, and is an important thing to note when trying to market the performing arts to my generation.
Because we grew up with the Internet and Google and Youtube, and now we have iTunes and Spotify and Pinterest, we can choose EXACTLY what we want to watch and even preview it so that we know whether we'll like it or not. Because there's such a huge array of things we could choose, we choose and then stick to our choice. Sure, there are some adventurous people who will try new things and listen to an odd band because it suddenly pops up, but for the most part, we rely on what we already like and sometimes on what our friends recommend to know what we should focus on.

For the performing arts world, that means its hard to draw in new viewers or audience members without furst creating a loyal following. Few Generation Y-ers will go see a play without having heard anything about it. We need to have a friend who can give us an honest review, or have it become a Twitter trend. It doesn't mean that it's impossible, it just means that maybe companies are going to have to think of other ways to market to my generation, which some have already started to do with Twitter and blogs, etc.   
Comment #3: a new comment on your post "Fran├žois Hollande wants to abolish homework. Is th...":
Public education, perhaps the most important thing that governments are in charge of and constantly trying to reform without ever seeming able to quite get it right. Of course, Hollande would want to abolish homework; I might be mistaken, but I think that his thought is based on the idea that once kids go home, they do not all have the same type of support from their parents when it comes to their schoolwork, and for this reason they do not end up having the same learning opportunities. Suppressing homework, however, would end up taking a lot away from ALL students, instead of just some. This is definitely a tough issue, but no homework isn't the solution. At the end of the day, homework forces you to actually revisit and put in place the concepts you might have just listened to or jotted down in class; this second phase is essential to efficient learning and education. So, yes, homework can be a pain, and yes, we need it anyways.
Also, we don't have four day weeks in France. Wednesday is a half day, but we finish school much later than US schools everyday. And once you get to high school, you also have school on Saturday mornings. I'm just sayin'. 

Comment #4: a new comment on your post "The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre: Underscore, Mother...":
This article directly relates to one of the key things I learned this past mini; the way you tell the story should amplify the story. This idea relates to broader concepts (i.e. form vs. content) but for the purposes of this article I'm only going to comment on this specific idea.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is interesting because it tells a story in a way that mimics the story. In other words, since the story is about Andrew Jackson maturing from an angst teenager to a darker adult, the show is structured to mature from a rowdy, funny show with a emo-rock score to a more serious musical.
I believe that this is where musical theatre is going. Now that the genre has socially-recognized pre-established conventions (I'm thinking along the lines of Oklahoma! era musicals) artists can ignore those conventions and to push the boundaries of musical theatre to tell stories in the more innovative and engaging ways possible within the genre. I think this process happens with all genres of media (books, poems, graphic novels, theatre, horror movies, romantic comedies, etc.), but I can't exactly pinpoint the milestones in the process of each genre off the top of my head.   
Comment #5: a new comment on your post "Pulitzer Winner Bruce Norris Retracts Rights to Ge...":
It is great that he actively corrected something that he felt was wrong. Asking the white actor to put on blackface for a show that really delves into racism is just a tad counterproductive. They probably shouldn't be putting on this show if that is how they feel about their country's Black actors. Then again, maybe they should so that the audience can witness the hypocrisy of it all.

However, just to play devil's advocate, I wonder how we (the US in the eyes of the Germans) are perceived through this issue. At what point do we interfere with another culture too much? Why do we take it upon ourselves to change other people and places? They are working through a certain point in their own history regarding race. America certainly didn't take foreign advice when we oppressed people with a skin color other than white. I'm not saying that we shouldn't revoke the rights to produce this production because we should inspire change. At least in the sphere of the arts, where change is constant, there is more room for influence. What I'm saying is that the US shoves it's own ideals at other countries and groups of people with the presumption that we are "better" and "correct". Maybe our persistence should be considered next time, not necessarily on this issue but on the numerous issues that we are involved in around the world.
Votes close Thursday.  Put your votes in the comments here.

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