It is my impression that many of my readers have followed my arguments, and acknowledge many of the problems I mention, even if they personally prefer working within the status quo. After a month, I think I need to move on from the description of problems to the development of solutions. This is a much different project. It is fairly easy to describe what one is against, but much more of a challenge to describe what one is for. Nevertheless, it is a necessary step if the discussion is to progress beyond simply rehearsing the same kvetches that have been heard in bars and coffee shops for years.
So draw a line in your mind at this post. While there may be times when I will discuss what is wrong with the current system, my focus from her on will try to remain on possibilities and solutions. This will require that you read me in an entirely different way; you must join me as a collaborator.
Over the coming weeks, I will start developing some approaches and models that might help to achieve the overall goals. Some will, no doubt, strike some of you as misguided, and it is my hope that you will use my comments box to explain why. I ask only one thing: that you not base your reaction wholly on your own preferences writ large. If, for instance, I make a case for creating theatres in smaller cities, I hope you will not tell me that you would never do that because you just love big cities. That's a personal preference, and it is admirable that you are clear about your own life choices. I have no problem with that, and applaud you with enthusiasm. But there may be others who do not share your preference, and to use it as a reason for questioning the efficacy of a proposal, or even worse, to universalize your own preference as representing "most theatre people" ("I would never leave New York for a smaller town, and I think most theatre people share my aversion") is simply unhelpful. As Sir Toby says in Twelfth Night, "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
Also, I will be posting things in a very preliminary stage -- very little will be polished or completely thought through. That is where you can help me to fine tune, or even start over completely if the medicine is worse than the disease. This will help enormously.
So the goals:
We will be working to create a model for theatre that does the following:
1. Gives theatre artists as a group control over the development of their artistic lives.
2. Provides sufficient opportunities for creative activity to help develop skills and vision.
3. Encourages a more even distribution of professional theatre in areas that have been historically underserved.
4. Allows people interested in focusing primarily on live theatre the means to do so.
5. Promotes a standard of living that provides individual security and increases lifestyle options.
6. Contributes to the development of distinctively American theatre and theatre artists.
Other goals may arise as this discovery process continues, but those will suffice at this stage. Some of the strategies that will be used to develop these models will include those listed to the right:
I would also add that part of my focus will be on the development of an educational model that could promote the knowledge and skills necessary to work within this model.
- Strengthening the artist-audience relationship
- Making a positive contribution to one's community
I hope you will join me as partners in this quest for a new theatre.