Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shudder

Alison Croggon responds to the suggestion of pre-show "ads":

*Shudder* My local cinema doesn't show ads, and so I go there all the time. I find ads before movies offensive enough. Yes, why not? Product placement on stage, ads before, at interval, etc. So much for that breathless, magic moment when the lights go down and the entire possibility of theatre hangs in the darkness...


I know, I know. And yet... I keep finding myself thinking of Lopakhin's desperate attempts to persuade Madame Ranevskaya to save her home by building tourist cottages. She keeps brushing him off by saying "But cottages -- how vulgar." Consider me a 21st-century Lopakhin flapping my arms and begging our theatrical Lyubimovs and Gaevs to do something or the whole thing will be lost. Of course, you know what happens in the play -- Lyubimov and Gaev continue in their attitude of denial and the cherry orchard is lost. Here's a test: can we learn from theatre?

4 comments:

George Hunka said...

Perhaps the Century 21 real estate firm can be attracted as a sponsor for the next production of The Cherry Orchard; they could even have a few 30-second spots between the acts.

And what Alison says is true: the not-knowing of what to expect is lost, for we would know what to expect: commercials, just like everywhere else.

Lucas Krech said...

If that is what it takes to 'save' theatre then I am not so sure it is worth saving.

Scott Walters said...

Yes, by all means, let's not try anything new, because the current way of doing things works SO WELL that it can't be improved upon. We should just put up a sign in all the theatre lobbies across America: welcome to the Amtrak of the arts.

Alison Croggon said...

Hmm. Last night I went to see a physical theatre show (a very classy one - if Kage Physical Theatre ever come your way, go see it). The set was a boxing ring, the theme was masculinity, the sound was inventive, the lighting fantastic, the movement/choreography beautiful, and the result so much more interesting than I had expected. The theatre (I guess, 200-300 seats? the format was different from usual) was packed to the gills with young people - even the balconies were full - theatre arts students etc, so around 16-18 - and when it finished they all went crazy, whooping and standing up and cheering.

I reckon that's how you "save" theatre - you put on good, live theatre that doesn't cheat people, that shows them how exciting theatre can be, and how honest, and make sure young people see it. And maybe then they'll come back.