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Author Topic: Weekly - Played out  (Read 53741 times)
John Longenbaugh
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2007, 11:54:22 AM »

Hey there:

I want to address, briefly, this question of whether or not we're gaining or losing companies and theatre artists.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to track down statistics on this issue, but really, there are no such statistics. The City of Seattle doesn't keep some database where the comings and goings of local theatre artists are addressed. Anecdotal evidence from Chris or other folks that they've seen a lot of new faces at events like 14/48 is heartening, but means little.

I think it's great that TPS has seen a rise in their membership in the last few years, and believe it says a lot for the work of Karen, Sam, and the rest of the TPS crew. They've aggressively pursued companies and individuals, this past year in particular, to up the numbers of people who belong to this vital and useful group.

However, just because the numbers of TPS companies and artists have risen in 2006 is no reason to believe the number of OVERALL artists or companies is on the increase. Would that it were so, but as we all know, only a fraction of theatre companies and artists in Seattle belong to TPS.

So where do I get my impression that there's a smaller pool of theatre talent in Seattle now than there was five or six years ago? Artistic directors, for one. Every one I talked to (and that included reps from fringe, mid-sized, and professional theatres) said that there's been a notable decrease in numbers of local actors they've worked with in the past, and in audition numbers for new shows.

I've also got an interesting document from 1999. It's my phone listings for all area theatres from that year. Put simply, half of them, and that's not an exaggeration, just don't exist any more. Now admittedly a lot of those are fringe companies, which are infamous for their short lives. But remember the Fringe Festival? Do you realize that anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of the companies that performed in the Festival were local?

I work in theatre. I love theatre. I don't want theatre in Seattle to go away. But to merely state that it's a "boom and bust" cycle that will turn itself around is to me naive. San Francisco had a great theatre scene a decade ago; development killed off the majority of smaller venues, and the number of companies that were active decreased as a result. New York is having similar problems right now. To turn this situation around will take hard work, organization, and some serious cash. Ignore the problems and I guarantee they'll get worse.
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Christopher Comte
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2007, 02:41:16 PM »

I think there are several points in your response John, that require some challenging:

First, with regards to the Fringe Festival, yes, many of the groups who participated are no longer around.† But, let's keep in mind, many of the so-called local "companies" that participated in the Festival were ones that existed ONLY to participate in the fest, and had no other life outside of it.† With the festival gone, these groups admittedly no longer had a venue for their work, and went away.† But, I don't think that necessarily equates to an overall "loss" of companies - unless we want to use a very broad, loose definition of what a theatre company actually is.

As for what the casting directors are seeing, yes, I'm sure there's been a noticeable drop-off in terms of local performers with whom many, especially in the mid- and upper-tiers have previously worked, since these are the ones most likely to continue to advance their careers by moving to larger cities such as L.A., NYC & CHI.† As for the reduction in new people being seen, I believe at least some (although not all by any means) of this can be attributed at least in part to a general sense that, after banging their heads against the wall for several years trying to get parts at the bigger houses, many actors have simply given given up - not performing, mind you - but rather auditioning for companies that don't cast them.† And that's something that goes all the way up the food-chain from the smallest fringe company to the Seattle Rep.† Doesn't mean those performers aren't out there, it just means many of them are either generating their own projects, or have developed relationships with directors and theatres that preclude their having to audition for specific shows.† Case in point:† Annex Theatre doesn't require company members to "audition" for our shows; if you're a bona-fide company member, you automatically get bumped to the call-backs.† It isn't meant to discourage new people from auditioning - far from it - but it does provide a way to eliminate at least one hoop in the process for people who have worked with us in the past, and who have developed an on-going relationship with the organization.† I would imagine many companies employ a similar practice for people they know and like.† However, for directors who may not have previously worked with those companies, I can see how it might appear that they have a somewhat smaller audition pool, but it could also be a somewhat skewed perspective, since a lot of people may have been scheduled into the call-backs, who didn't in fact attend the first round of auditions.† Again, I'm not saying this accounts for all or even most of the phenomenon John is reporting, but it is something that should be taken into consideration.

Finally, as for comparisons to San Francisco - we have to keep in mind that much of the loss of small and mid-tier arts organizations in that city (it wasn't just limited to theatre) was due primarily to the dot.com boom of the late 1990's, and the resulting skyrocketing real-estate values, particularly in-city.† Many companies that had been in their venues literally for decades were suddenly priced out of not only their buildings, but their neighborhoods, and in some cases completely out of the city itself.† While there may have been a few isolated cases of such similar displacements here in Seattle (the EST moving out of Fremont is one example; the Union Garage's problems, while not strictly fitting this scenario could be I think legitimately construed as a similar circumstance), we did not then, nor do we currently see the rampant level of companies being kicked out of their homes as occurred in SF, so I don't think it is a particularly relevent example when looking at our own situation currently.

This is not to say displacements haven't occurred - for other reasons - nor that the current real-estate market doesn't indeed make it difficult for new companies to find suitable venues.† But again, I point to the fact that some groups have elected to search in outlying neighborhoods, where development pressures are significantly less than in neighborhoods adjacent to the central core, and where there are opportunities to develop new audience bases, as evidence that we are nowhere close - yet - to the kind of situation experienced in SF in the late '90's or appears to be occurring in NYC and LA currently.

Personally, I would find John's concern for the demise of our theatre scene here much more convincing, if there were indeed evidence of stagnancy, but - and call me an optimist if you will - despite the recent loss of one, long-established, and venerable institution, and a long history of similar losses going back literally for decades, I just don't see the type of stagnancy or inertia about which John warns us not to be complacent, far from it in fact.†

Was the loss of Empty Space a terrible blow?† Absolutely, just as were the losses of† Union Garage, The Bathhouse, The Group, Aha!, ETC, Pioneer Square, Skid Road - as far back as anyone cares to go to cite "recent" examples of such similar events.† But, the sky didn't fall in when those groups closed, despite all the hand-wringing and navel-gazing, and I fully expect such will be the case now as well.† If no new companies were forming, if no established companies were filling the gaps left by the demise of these other companies, then I would definitely agree there was a serious problem.† But, it's simply not the reality, at least so far as I see it, from I hope is a relatively broad perspective.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2007, 02:43:15 PM by Christopher Comte » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2007, 10:30:34 PM »

I must admit I have been out of the loop the last few months as I have shifted my focus to a younger audience and am trying to build the audience of the future.  I might add that they are looking to this community for wisdom and guidance.

Over the course of 40+ years as a theate artist I have seen a cyclical  development of attrition and growth of theatres in four dynamic theatre cities in the course of my professional career, Boston, New York, Chicago and Seattle.  Of those four cities I have found that Seattle had nurtured more artists, allow them to grow, developed a considerable amount of work and still maintained a aura of a dynamic magnet of a city to come to and to find an artistic home.  Whether the person stays or goes frankly is of no matter.  What is important is that the work, the artistic integrity remains constant and not only constant but engages the artist to go beyond their preconceived notion of self.

I have seen many theatres rise and fall in Seattle and and I have been apart of a number of them as an artist, patron and supporter.  The first theater in Seattle that gave me a job (Skid Road) is no longer among us, but the legacy of that theatre and many theatres that came after it allow the new start ups, the fringe, the new REPS, if they only get the change, to grow, explore, to push the envelope.  To make us think.

There is a life cycle of a theater.  Some times that theatre dies and becomes a fond memory to the people who had the good fortune to work there.  Some times a theater dies and is reborn under the same name or finds a way to re-event it's self to serve a new and different population.  Who's to say which is the better course of action.

Over the course of thirty years in Seattle I have seen theatre comes in waves.  Sometimes we are on the crest and all is good, the world is our oyster and we can do no wrong.  However the wave does fall, the water comes in and the tide goes out and some loose objects are taken with it.

To be an artist, who sustains a career in such a volatile arena, either the gods smile on you, you are blessed with talent, a patron extends a hand and says " I believe in you" or you are so stuburn that you will not quit regardless of the situation and you dearly hope that an organization feel the same way that you do.

We all lament the demise of our cherished institutions that have faded into memory.  More will take their place, none will achieve the perceived memory of their accomplishments.  Some will achieve greatness in their own right, some will .........  There is a cycle, there is a circle.  Let us beat our breast now, full in the knowledge that history will remember, as it always has, that the arts are the soul of a culture.  Let us look to the soul, the legacy we leave.  How do you want to be remembered?  What truth do you wish leave for others to tuck away in their collective memory.

I gave a lot of energy to the creation of an organization to by my advocate (TPS), to harold the truth, to beat the drum, to sound the alarm, so that I as an artist can chose to rally to the flag.  To "chose", as we all must; apathy, lament, remembrance, survival, advocacy, tenacity, determination to achieve, or leave a legacy for those who come after us.

I do not think that theatre has played out in Seattle.  The wheel is turning, grab the brass ring.  Who knows where it might take you.
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Louise Penberthy
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2007, 03:53:22 PM »

So where do I get my impression that there's a smaller pool of theatre talent in Seattle now than there was five or six years ago? Artistic directors, for one. Every one I talked to† ...

Except, of course, this is also anecdotal evidence.† Like Chris and other people saying that they've seen a lot of new faces at events like 14/48.

Anecdotal evidence is usually convincing to the person who hears it first hand.  But, like you say, it's not meaningful.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2007, 10:20:21 AM by Louise Penberthy » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2007, 07:37:19 PM »

How do we make a living?

After 30+ years of personally subsidizing this art form through low-wages, we need to get these cheap labor liberals off of our Boards of Trustees. These board members well know what it costs to obtain quality civilian workers (I'm talking department heads, here) at their not-for-profits. But they continually, year after year after year after year exploit and take advantage of the artists.

Case in point: This summer TAG posted a notice of employment for a new head of marketing and development. The starting salary was $35,000 annually plus benefits and vacation. A first-hire staff member at the moribund TAG makes more than I do at the Intiman - a larger theatre - after 30 years and 42 productions. And nobody pays a dime to see a theatre staffer onstage. I make less than $30K a year. I rent. At 53, I make so little, I quality for and am on the waiting list for subsidized housing in Seattle. And frankly, it's not like I'm a wannabe; I'm in the top 15% of work weeks in AEA and have been for a quarter century. Even with those stats, my annual pension at retirement is still under $20,000.

Ben Moore at the Rep makes a six-figure salary; the head of development at the same institution receives upwards of $80,000. I'm clearly working on the wrong side of the footlights.

In 1991 the top salary at the Seattle Rep was between $800 - $900 dollars weekly - GOOD pay at the time. In 2007, the top salary at the Rep is between $800 - $900 a week. Do you think any staffers at the Rep, or the Rep's Board members in their respective civilian jobs went for a decade and half without a pay raise? Doubtful. Intiman's board has seen fit to freeze actor salaries for the past five years. And we all know how asleep at the wheel ACT's Board was a few years back. And yes, yes, yes, we all suffered under the 'perfect storm' of 9/11 and the dot.com bust. New story-line, please.

Actors have no effective advocacy within the present system. There is no meritocracy. No home. We are migrant artists. Hired to prepare and pick an eight week crop of performances and then move on. Good actors have been so cheaply obtained for so long that our boards of trustees have forgotten us. These people create the budgets we labor under. And they know damned well that the pay they scrape up for the ACTORS is a sum they themselves couldn't or wouldn't accept.

Truly, only the young can afford to be in American not-for-profit theatre.

With apologizes to the great Willie Nelson:

Momas, don't let your babies grow up to be actors...
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Mathew Ahrens
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« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2007, 08:56:19 PM »

After Larry's post, all I can add is: DAMN! The cold hard words of experience just gave this post a good hard reality smack.

Why not evolve the discussion from institutional longevity to artist longevity; could that be the answer to this question we've been mulling over? The prospect of entering my fifties with no retirement is not my idea of a successful career. No offence to you Larry, you're an institution in this town.

In order to "save" theatre, can't we subsidize it with industrial work? Is there a way of forming a body that lobbies the State government into bringing the film and television industry to western Washington? And if there is such an organization, what can be done to empower it? When Theatre Communications Group executive director Ben Cameron came to Seattle a few years ago to give his State of the Arts speech, he had fantastic statistics on how theatres help local ecomomies. Couldnít we have that same model work with the film and television industry setting up a perminant outpost in Seattle and subsidizing local theatre? Is that impossible?

Canít we start suggesting viable solutions to our problems as opposed to throwing our hands up in the air over the questions? Weíve been living with the questions of sustainability for the entire history of theatre. Isnít 2500 years long enough? Canít we focus on answers instead. If anywone has suggestions on creating viability post them. Please.
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Rik Deskin
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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2007, 12:43:43 AM »

Thanks Larry! Putting into perspective what I have been trying to educate my board and company members about.

Mathew:

It just so happens that for the last few years, the Screen Actors Guild, IATSE, and the film-industry locally have been laboring to bring production to WA State. Last year, Congress and the Governor approved a bill that goes fully operational February 5. This has been developing behind the scenes since our state film office was continually put on the budget chopping block a few years back. The oversight committee has Abby Dylan, our National Rep in Screen Actors Guild in it's ranks and she is hard at work at getting producers to come shoot here and hire us locals in at least supporting, day player roles if not more. We are about to see a turn of the tide here locally. As far as connecting it to local theatre. If more production is happening, the impact will affect some of us in at least more union work days. With more people coming back into the state, the potential for patrons and funding is inherent.

Viabilty involves cooperation. It also involves innovation. The old theatrical model is broke, subscriptions are giving way to walk-up single ticket sales and actors are still treated as the bottom of the budget in most situations and I agree with Larry that this is no way to treat the main reason most people go to the theater: to see actors (no offense meant to the directors, playwrights & designers) bring a playwright's words to life and have a catharsis in the process.

Look, I know as a theater manager, how beset and mired a company can be with mundane things like business licenses, theatre insurance, admissions tax, taxes, rent & utilities, ticket sales and it really pisses me off that these bureacratic things have to somehow be taken care of before I can even think about given anything back to the artists dedicating their time to create an evening of theatre. And the hoops we have to jump through to try to get funding to supplement ticket sales is meticulous and time consuming. Especially for my (currently) volunteer staff.

But these fortresses that have been built not just in our city, but across the regional theater landscape, have the financial emphasis on administration over art. Obviously it takes proper administration to keep a company solvent and people should be compensated for their time, and most of us in the non-profit sector are underpaid or unpaid, but our professional actors (especially treasured veterans like Mr. Ballard) should not be temp employees, nor should the actors naive enough to work in a union house for less than union scale because a board of directors is dictating how many union contracts there can be in a production or season.

Yes, some of us do it for the "love" and slave away at our day jobs, spending the evenings on the boards, and thanks to Actors' Equity, at least when we work (once in a great while), we have things like pension & health, per diem and/or housing (for out of towners), but I agree with Larry: It's ridiculous for our honorable vocation to still be treated as the nomadic, gypsy pseudo profession and for actors to be continually exploited by those (not all of us) that pull in a hefty salary or at least more of a salary than our hard working, unemployed temp workers: the actors, directors, playwrights & designers.

As I continue to subsidize my own actor-run theater company, half of our box office (after shoe-string production costs--a mere pittance) goes to compensating artists that we work with until we can pay living wages to all of our staff artists.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 07:36:14 AM by Rik Deskin » Logged

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John Longenbaugh
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« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2007, 12:46:11 PM »

I'm glad that my article has sparked such a lively debate, and I'm particularly taken with Mr. Ballard's comments.

Are actors underpaid, even at the Equity level? Absolutely. Are theatre administrators overpaid? There, I'm not so sure. A managing or artistic director for a house the size of the Rep or ACT is essentially overseeing an operation that's equivalent to a mid-sized corporation. And I also think that someone like Susan Trapnell or Ben Moore could be doing a lot better for themselves out in the corporate world, getting paid a salary determined by the marketplace and not the strictures of non-profit theatre.

I do think that all of the big theatres are probably overstaffed, all the way from box office through to development and education departments. But somehow I can't muster a lot of enthusiasm for cutting arts administration jobs, and I really doubt it would result in more money for local artists.

The death of the repertory system for actors has meant that their status as freelance workers is assured. Even someone who's as clearly committed to local hire for artists as Kurt Beattie at ACT can't deliver more than a couple of roles per year to any local artist, including someone with the experience and ability of Mr. Ballard. Could they raise the pay for their artists? Some, probably. But such a gesture might end up being more symbolic than practical, when you consider that these artists are only being employed for eight weeks at a time.

Robert Louis Stevenson once said that you should never expect to be paid what you're worth as an artist, and I think that's true. Most of the time you're grievously underpaid, occasionally you're ridiculously overpaid. But a regular salary for an artist, in this country anyway, is a chimera.

The only workable alternative seems to be the one adopted by a mid-size operation like Taproot, where most of the staff are artists as well. If I was asked for advice from an up-and-coming actor today on how to prepare for a career in theatre, I'd say they should get some administrative experience under their belt, and get used to spending half, or more than half, of their career behind an arts desk. It's not the best solution, but it might be less soul-destroying than keeping up a full-time career as an office temp or waiter while you hope for the next audition.

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« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2007, 02:07:22 PM »

When I was an instructor at Cornish, the seniors would often ask me what the future held for American Theatre. My simple and immediate answer was, "I don't know." I would then suggest that studying the Actor/manager model of the mid/late 19th and early 20th centuries might be a good place to start. We may have to go back even farther - if not the 'Lord Chamberlain's Men,' then perhaps the 'Bill Gates Players' or Paul Allen's Troupe. (I"m only half-joking here.) I do know we need to dis-enthrall ourselves with some of these institutions and start re-enthralling ourselves with the individuals who actually create the artistry we're talking about. Mr. Longenbaugh's Taproot model is another good place to start.

The current state of stage actors in America (excepting For-Profit theatre, naturally) reminds me of prospecting during a gold rush. The only people who really make a living are the ones selling picks and shovels, not the poor Jane or Joe doing the panning in the stream. University Training Programs, college and theatre administrators, photographers, talent agencies - the picks and shovels - can make a living; only occasionally does a prospector strike gold. I don't expect to be paid 'what I'm worth as an artist.' I don't even know what that highly personal and subjective amount would be. In a society not known for taking very good care of its elder members, I know I don't want to have to make the choice between paying the light bill or filling my prescriptions.

I also begrudge none of the pick and shovel merchants their livelihoods, I simply wish the migrant artists - actors, directors, playwrights, designers - weren't always relegated to occupying the lower levels of remuneration. And this is the responsibility of our Boards of Trustees.

I fully understand and appreciate the Robert Louis Stevenson quote on philosophical, artistic and even spiritual levels. I was saying the same thing in my forties. But Mr. Stevenson died at 44; I can only wonder how his thoughts and feelings might have altered after 10, 20 or 30 more years of life, art and neglect.
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« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2007, 05:59:04 PM »

Another problem with our voluntary civilian-world Trustees is just that: They're civilians. For the most part many of them don't actually understand what acting really is. Success is often confused with celebrity. (For some, participation is merely a means to enhance their civic resume.) In typical American fashion the problem is usually viewed from a binary perspective. Advancement is a ladder to be climbed. Many people outside the theatre can't conceive why every actor wouldn't want to go to Hollywood and make oodles of money in the movies. Or they think the dream of every performer has to be an appearance on Broadway. Some of us may wish to tell stories in our local communities.  Merchants can't conceive of something being priceless; they are naturally distrustful, even wary, of something that cannot be bought or sold. This is the same mind set that views time spent at University as a means to making more money, instead of a place of greater education and learning.

One more observation regarding Mr. Longenbaugh's quoting Robert Louis Stevenson  - RLS was writing novels and poetry at a time when theatre was the popular form of entertainment - not cinema, not television. As a Scot, he was also writing for a culture that valued - still values - theatre far more than our society today.
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« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2007, 12:47:09 AM »

What a fascinating discussion on here !
Don't have much to add right now, but wanted to say that I 've been reading you all and thinking about it all ( in between long tech hours ... heh).
Thanks for the great thoughts Larry.
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« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2007, 12:01:17 PM »

Mr. Ballard, with all due respect, you're in a different world than most of us.  I wish I could make $900 a week as an actor...hell, I wish I could make $50 a week as an actor. 

But I can't.  And never will.  Does that mean I quit being an actor/director/administrator/scene painter/set crew/box office staff/bookkeeper/building manager/et al?  Nah.  I've been doing this myself for 30 years (I'm only a couple years behind you), and I can't imagine doing anything else.  And I can at least make a little money in the arts.

And therein, I think, lies a couple of observations.

One, There will always be new fringe theatre, because of nutjobs like me.  It isn't dying, Mr. Longenbaugh...so far I haven't seen evidence of it, in either the community or your examples.  The only count we have, actual numbers, is TPS. And if that is indeed as you say (which I don't buy) only a *fraction* of the number of artists, and if that number is indeed increasing, well...that means more to me.

But Two, that also means artists are a buyer's market. Actors can be a dime a dozen, really...why pay more?  Yes, some oughtn't to be onstage, and yes I agree, there is the idea of dignity and fairness.  You, Mr. Ballard, deserve a living wage, a pension, steady work...if only for your years of solid work.  But who is going to give it to you?  Who is going to give it to any of us?

So, we have a theater community that won't ever die because of a mass of artistic types (mostly youngsters, but a few of us older folk), and because of that mass of artists, we can't get paid better.

Really, TAG would have a harder time finding a good marketing/development person than a good actor.  The M/D person, if they are truly good at their job, can make a heck of a lot more than $35,000 annually in the public sector.  But to make enough money to keep TAG afloat, they NEED good marketing and development, as Sam Read said earlier. So they hire someone at a 'living' wage, or at least as close as they can get. You have to love theater to take 35 when you can get 100 elsewhere. Can they find an actor for any show at $200/week?  Heck yes.

As for the salaries at the big regionals...the same logic could apply. To get the best, you pay for it.  You may say, are they the best?  And is it *right*?  Your mileage may vary. I dislike it.  But there it is.

So for salary and benefits, Mr. Ballard...you are indeed working on the wrong side of the footlights.  But then, do you want to be back there in the office?  To mangle a cliche, the worst moment on stage is a lot more satisfying then the best day in the office.  At least, that's true for me even after 30 years.  How much value can you put on the pleasure of performing?

What's the answer? Companies where everyone gets an equal share?  Good luck staffing that company.  Finding a bookkeeper.
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« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2007, 01:47:15 PM »

Mr. Dahlgren, you raise many salient points, and god bless you for being the 'nutjob' you claim to be. The Fringe will endure. But, returning the respect, I can only assume you must have another source of income that lets you meet the rent or pay a mortgage, or educate your children. Here, you have me at a disadvantage. Putting in a 40+ hour work week for a LORT gig leaves little time for much else - if I am to give my obligations the attention, focus, homework I personally, subjectively, feel is necessary. Mr. Dahlgren, I couldn't begin to do what you accomplish with all those hats you wear and still spell my name...

The Theatre is an insatiable, yet indifferent lover. But that inamorata is my career, not my avocation. If this isn't possible, then let's ditch the sham of this being any kind of a business, close down 90% of the college and university theatre programs propagating the myth, and get on with doing damned fine community theatre in our spare time. I'm just weary and fed up with subsidizing the 'big regionals' (where I've been fortunate to spend my lifetime) where most of their employees view this profession as a business, too.

As I said in an earlier post on this string, I do not begrudge ANY theatre worker making a living wage - onstage, backstage, upstairs. I just want to be considered equally, individually, specifically, and not as some cut and paste commodity to be bid upon like beef at a cattle auction. I thought we were creators, not hamburger. Again, finding these additional funds to support established, proven artists, is the responsibility of the Trustees.

The alternative is that only the young and/or wealthy or partnered will be able to afford to do theatre.
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« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2007, 02:51:14 PM »

Really, Laurence (May I call you Laurence?  I'm Keith) this isn't about you and me.  It's about the difficulty of making a living as an artist. You are right....I have another income.  Odly enough, I would have been able to concentrate more on my career if I had not chosen a partner and had children...I would have been able to put more hours in.

But I do not consider this an avocation.  It is my career.  It is what I earn my living at, to dangle a participle.  I too chose to stay in this area, because I believe in this community. But in most cases, it *isn't *possible to make a real living at it.

I saw that right away, at least in my case. But I stayed and made my choice.

The question is, How do we manage?  We all manage differently. Perhaps you're right, we ought to stop the colleges and universities from giving out Theater degrees. Or at least make them tell the graduates that it's highly likely they won't have a pension when they're old. Unless they teach other poor saps at the university level. 

I would hate to see you ditch this sham, as you say.  I think we all would agree, it would be a great loss to this community. But I'd like to think of myself as a realist.  The days of a few solid regional companies providing work for a few solid actors is long gone.  I wish I had a better answer.
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Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
lballard37
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« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2007, 06:11:08 PM »

You are so right, Keith, when you say we make our choices; the realism you describe and strive to live by is spot-on.

One comment in particular stood out in your post:

Quote
The days of a few solid regional companies providing work for a few solid actors is long gone.

And that, my friend, is the fault of the Boards of Trustees at those same companies (to bring my point full circle.)

I know this is true, because the Guthrie and the Milwaukee Rep - to name just two - have found a strategy, and look after their artists in ways that put the "big three" in Seattle to shame.

But that's another tale.
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