Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your Theater Company's Sustainability (Theater)

So, I hear you theater company is broke. I hear you are waiting on grants to come in. I hear your individual donations are down. You are having a hard time keeping your board members.
Well, friends, let's take a look at this!

1. Product:
When I was a kid, a store opened by my house in Louisville, Kentucky that sold things for your kitchen with olive patterns all over them. Spatulas and martini shakers and aprons and olives. And they ALL had olive patterns on them. Now, this store didn't last too long, and do you know why? The answer is because it is a shitty idea and olives are the wrong thing. If you put penises on the aprons or Looney Tunes characters on the spatulas, maybe you would stay in business.
That's the thing with a business, you have to sell something that enough people want for you to be successful. So maybe you should think about if your theater company sucks and sells olive martini shakers when I can go to Target and get a martini shaker with the Rolling Stones logo on it.
2. Evolution:
Sometimes things don't go the way you thought they were going to go. I could've sworn I was going to be a woman. Or at least Puerto Rican or Jewish, but fate had it's own agenda. Now I'm just a regular looking white dude, which has it's benefits, but at the end of the day I look just like most other people in our industry. That means I'm competing for work against Rob McLean, Geoff Button, Rob Kauzlaric, John Steinhagen, John Wilson and Trey Maclin. How do I do that?
Well, history tells me that if you want to survive in a hostile environment, you need to grow plates on your back or get an antler or something.
You need some tool to make you different and help you fend off predators and make people want to see YOU and not the House Theater. For example, I can put my leg behind my head and I'd like to see Dave Skvarla try that.
What can you offer me that I can't get elsewhere?
Seanachai has the market cornered on Irish people for example, so don't start another Irish company or you will probably fail.
3. Survival:
Everybody needs money, but do you really think that Chase Community money will really save you? It won't. Don't get me wrong, it can definitely help you out, but in the long run, you are going to need to make some changes. Let's take a look at the Journeymen. The Journeymen began in 1994, and in 1998 David Cromer directed the definitive American production of Angels in America, which got national interest in Chicago again until we blew it with Hizzoner. But the Journeymen couldn't survive with this one show! So they hunkered down and waited for their chance to shine again and now here they are with some sort of gay Romeo and Juliet which I bet is good but I probably won't see because Shakespeare with gay characters is like an olive shaped meat tenderizer to me. But they waited and lasted for the right time to make a peice of art that they NEEDED to make for whatever reason, and now they are back on top! Way to go Journeymen!

So listen gang, let's all take care of each other and get each others backs during this financial storm and also, stop making shitty plays. People love plays about politics and Ghostbusters, so just remember that. Also, please vote for my theater company in the Chase Giving, it just takes a minute and blah blah blah ;owiugahfweab

Your Theater Company

-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach


  1. Hey! We didn't blow Hizzoner, Hizzoner blew US.

  2. Right on... I ALSO was surprised that I didn't grow up to be a tall white guy! And I've been working on my tail plates, but it's hard to eat all the fern leaves I need too to make that happen...

    Seriously, you guys are right on, though. I think Halcyon Theatre is on the right road... but you also have to remember that you can't just add plates to an irish guy with tape and clothes hangers to make him different. You have to BELIEVE in what you're doing. You have to believe that you have something unique to offer to the world...

    I think you also have to think of it in bigger terms than competing with John Wilson and Trey Maclin (good guys, for sure!)... the theatre community here is so incestuous, and the city has SOOO many people in it that I don't think get taken into account when companies are picking their seasons...

    My 2 haypennies, for what it's worth...

  3. just another theatre a-hole with an opinionJune 29, 2010 at 7:28 AM

    Very well written dudes...First one in a while that doesn't evoke folks to cuss out a stage manager, or punch a "professional" writer. I also dig the reply about believing in what you are doing,and that everyone is having sex with everyone-(I think that's what she means).