So it’s time for a link round-up.
Ads Implant False Memories: this is one of those articles that reminds me how strange the human brain is. On the other hand, interesting comment about how sympathetic our memories are, too. By feeling attached to something, whether through repeated viewing or emotional attachment (and probably both is best), we get these “false” images as our brain recreates an event. Descartes would have loved neuroscience.
What If … Theatres Took Deep Dives With Playwrights?: the questions presented in this article shouldn’t be tough, but they are. What if each regional theatre worked with one living, local playwright for one season? What would happen? Well, a lot of one person’s theatre would be produced. The theatre would probably narrow it’s audience down to a certain die-hard crowd, which may or may not be something said theoretical theatre wants to do. Theatres would probably have to sharpen up their mission statements. They’d also have to wade through several revisions (having recently worked with a living, local playwright on a 15-minute play for Freehold’s Studio Series, one of the hard parts of rehearsing with the playwright there is the amount of revisions. More time should be alotted for developing new works, because new plays have so much ability to change based on rehearsal circumstances. This is good, but also a very different environment than most directors and actors are used to). Theatres would have to put forth the effort to find a playwright that fits their mission statement to begin with. They’d have to find a good playwright (as with all art, there are lots of good and bad playwrights in the world). Basically, theatres would have to make tough decisions about what is worth producing and what is not, with no precedent from other theatres to tell them what their audience might want to see simply because it is popular. Now, one could argue that movie producers have been doing this for a long time, but I think the current trend of movies-based-on-books, or video games, or old TV shows, or movie sequels, and the constant flood of formulaic Hollywood scripts (zombie movies, romantic comedies, action films, etc) destroys that argument effectively. Hollywood doesn’t take many gambles on truly new scripts, and I suspect the statistics show that theatres and film studios gamble roughly the same amount, and succeed roughly the same amount. And when the measure of success is financial, everyone is doomed to fail.
Arts Marketing For Dummies: not so much about arts marketing as the failure of non-profit theatres to get past a profit motive. This article popped up at a time when someone asked me why I, as opinionated as I am about other theatres, didn’t just start my own company to implement my ideas. Aside from the usual fears associated with being a small business owner, the answer is that I don’t have any really good answers to the current problem with the non-profit theatre model. Being a non-profit offers some benefits, like tax-exempt income in the form of donations, but it also offers a lot of pit-falls, like bloated bureaucracy (of which I am a member at my day job!) and the sense that one is a charity case, dependent on the kindness of strangers, so to speak. The article quotes Paul Mullin’s assertion that theatres’ focus on bureaucracy has left the artists, who should be the caretakers of theatre, in a lurch. Bureaucrats have a secure income, while playwrights (like Tony Kushner), actors, directors, designers, are SOL financially. And this shouldn’t be the case. I vaguely sense that a co-op model might work for a theatre, and it seems to me like ensemble-based theatres are having more luck these days, but I just.don’t.know. And when I do get a better idea, I probably will start my own company. Until then, I argue with everything.