Friday, January 11, 2013

The ProAm Divide

[NOTE:  I'm still clearing out old drafts.  I notice Phillip Kelly has a few kicking around as well.  I may have to twist his arm and make him dash off an ending paragraph and hit "publish."]

I just ran across the most sobering and depressing thing I've read in a long time, "The Delusion Driving Much of American Theater," on Parabasis. Here's a sample of the pain:
In fact, I'm pretty sure in terms of number of productions, the majority (or at least plurality) of theatre produced in this country is probably Pro-Am (and i use this term to distinguish it from truly amateur productions such as community theatre).
And here's the thing: most of the artists working in the Pro-Am circuit have very very little chance of crossing over. They are, essentially, pursuing a delusion as a result of a category erorr, namely that the Pro-Am circuit and the LORT/Institutional circuit are part of the same system.
Did I say sobering and depressing?  Sorry, I meant inspiring and exciting:
I also think (and I'm trying to develop this into a larger and longer piece to be published elsewhere) it's in the LORT systems' best interests to try to find ways to learn about, be more involved with and collaborate with the Pro-Am system and start to break down the walls a bit. Why? Because, well... we have the audiences they want, the creative energy they need and the next generation of artsits likes working with us. 
Now, if only we could inspire and excite the staid old elitists who guard the gates of "real" theater.  They're open to taking risks and exploring new ideas, right?

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