I've seen the tourists in Chicago. I've witnessed first hand the teeming, mouthbreathing masses of Americana parading themselves in their overfed, consumer-driven glory with their overweight children and spray-tanned wives. I've watched them smash themselves into the LaSalle Bank Theater to sing along with Jersey Boys and revel in the experience of taking a fifteen-minute Duck Boat Ride off of Navy Pier.And while Don admits that he himself has been a tourist in the past so "I'm not immune from my scathing view of the consumer of commercially popular fare with jacked up prices for the out-of-town rubes," clearly he doesn't include himself among the "teeming, mouthbreathing masses parading themselves in their overfed, consumer-driven glory with their overweight children and spray-tanned wives." Nope, while Don is a "summer blockbuster junkie," there is no doubt he remains his cool, hip, intellectually independent, non-consumerist, metropolitan self.
If it wasn't clear before, it should be clear now that Don's biggest objection to a commitment to non-Nylachi theatre is that he feels himself superior to anyone who doesn't live in Nylachi, and feels that they are intellectually incapable of an appreciation of what he might offer because they are all mouth-breathers. After all, what is a tourist except somebody from somewhere else? When he was called out for this attitude by Laura Sue in the comments for my post "On Small Town Audiences (A Reply to Don Hall)," (Laura Sue: "Don states what we local yokels have known for years: the theater community thinks we're stupid and don't have any taste. Gee whiz. I wonder why we don't go to the theater more?"), he denied it existed: "In no way have I indicated in anything that I wrote that I think folks in non-Nylachi areas are 'unsophisticated' or 'stupid' or 'don't have any taste.'" But this latest post certainly gives the lie to that denial, unless "mouthbreating" has become a term of affection without my knowledge. So that's Don's orientation, and it is clear enough for me to no longer be concerned with trying to address his objections to my attempts to create a non-Nylachi theatre. His objections are based in a deep prejudice that is classist, regionalist, and offensive.
In fact, he sinks even lower:
The real question is "Do we really want to spend time and energy trying to court these people to come see our shows?" Sure, we want the money and we want the audience, but in the end it is worth the energy and time spent sticking our sexiest pose out in the street and squeaking out "C'mon, Iowa. Me SO horny. Me love you LONG time..."?"These people." And then using a racist stereotype to boot. Way over the line. While I would agree with Don that wooing tourists is a waste of time, it isn't because they are unworthy of being courted, but rather that as focus should be on your community rather than visitors.
But what I want to know is where is the outrage of the theatrosphere? Where is Nick with his objections to the creation of an "us/them" argument? Isn't "non-tourist/tourist" and us/them argument? Where are those sensitive Nylachi bloggers whose feelings get hurt if I say anything even slightly less than adulatory about Nylachi? Do you think that non-Nylachians, here known as "tourists," should quietly accept being insulted by a Chicago theatre blogger while you demand an apology for the slightest tweek? That the Chicago bloggers find nothing the least bit objectionable in Don's slurs are clear in the comments. Paul Rekk jokes along with Don: "Don! You say that to all the Iowa girls? I thought we had something special!" Har har. And Rob Kozlowski has nothing to say about these offensive images at all, but is content simply to correct Don's facts about where The Jersey Boys is playing: "Actually, Don, that's now the Bank of America Theater! Whatta country!"
Oh, right. That's just Don. He's says all kinds of offensive stuff. Har har. But he's a good guy. No, really. Sort of like Don Imus -- he just gets carried away sometimes.
As long as theatre artists maintain a disdain for normal human beings, theatre will remain an irrelevant, unsupported coterie art form that is unable to "hold the mirror up to nature," but instead will "hold the mirror up to the mirror" and thus reflect infinite emptiness.