The Intiman is starting to stand up, shakily

The Intiman has made more clear their previously vague plans to reopen, and personally, I am less than inspired. Other critics seem to be torn:

Misha Berson straight-up tells the facts

Bond Huberman of Seattle Mag is pessimistic

Brendan Kiley at the Slog actually sounds optimistic

Marcie Sillman at Crosscut.com is worried about the feelings of former patrons, as well as local artists

All the points made in these articles so far are good — the Intiman is listening to the public, they’re not spending money they don’t have anymore (paving the way for good fiscal behavior of other theatres), lots of great local artists are involved (including several members and former members of Washington Ensemble Theatre, as well as Cornish College of the Arts), their line-up is reminiscent of their original mission statement, and if the Intiman doesn’t raise the money with this sneaky Kickstarter-esque festival-I-mean-fundraiser, then they will close, and they only have 20% of the money they need.

So I don’t know. I’m not getting my hopes up. It’s a “festival” of only 4 plays, and while it’s good in some ways that the Intiman is partnering with Cornish, it’s also a way of getting cheap support and labor for their productions. But, that means they’re focusing on using the income from the festival to go toward their next real season, and internships are part of a theatre artist’s existence. Yes, some of the plays in the line-up hark back to the old school mission statement, but there are local, original artists creating shows for the festival, including Marya Sea Kaminski and Dan Savage. On the other other hand, the line-up strikes me as a ploy on multiple levels – not only is it aiming at the previous, probably-disgruntled audience, it’s aiming at a whole brand new audience who will probably want to see more of this cabaret-style work. Which would basically be fine, except that this lineup of local titans brings their own fan-base to their work, so the Intiman is trying to poach off their hard work marketing themselves.

Not that any of this is new to the world. And frankly, I don’t know what else they’d do that could make me, personally, happy with them again, other than putting on a full season. And and, I don’t have a good way for them to raise the money for that other than what they’re doing. And and and, they’re taking the public’s concerns seriously. And FINALLY, this is a pretty good preview of what they have in store.

So I’m neutral on the whole situation. Will I go see the festival-I-mean-fundraiser? I haven’t decided. Do I support the direction they’re taking? Sort of, but I worry that they can’t keep it up. And, like just about everyone, I don’t see the “We have $200,000 so far but we need at least $1 million” as very encouraging. At this point, maybe it’s better to find other theatre companies to take over the space.

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