Monday, October 13, 2008

I am not Isaac

But I’m going to respond anyway, so there.

Rob Weinert-Kendt posted:

Though I'm sure that all of us, in our darker moments, have thought a version of the following thought, it's still a little chilling and/or bracing to see it laid out so matter-of-factly, by Santa Fe-based arts writer Craig Smith:

Speaking as a former nonprofit administrator and fundraiser, I think [performing arts] groups should be looking to form partnerships or mergers, or even shut down and pass the assets on to healthier groups, if necessary, to keep their mission alive. As Jung quoted Freud: "Sometimes the doctor should not try to cure at all costs." Ditto for nonprofits: better to end an organization's life and pass assets on.
It would require self-sacrifice from some people, and put some out of a job quite possibly. But organizations with similar missions banding together ... could save energy, time, and resources they could then apply to doing what they are supposed to do: help, excite, refresh, renew, feed, counsel, support, cheer, nourish, nurse, and heal.

Though the LA Times' arts blog, Culture Monster, calls this a "supply and demand" approach, frankly it sounds more Soviet in its thinking and in its likely effects. Take it away, Isaac.

The large majority of performing arts groups don’t have a specific mission. Their mission is ‘we do plays’. Which is fine. I actually have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the 60% of performers arts groups with the mission ‘we do plays’ doesn’t work together. They may talk, they may go out for drinks, and they usually see each other’s shows. But they don’t generally work together.

I have often (in person) talked about Cambiare Productions (my theatre company with Will Snider)  being a theatre label more than a company. I am interested in collecting talent, but not at the exclusion of their working on other projects. When you don’t have a specific style (Vampire Cowboys, Yellow Tape) or method of creation (Rude Mechs, Rubber Rep) you don’t need to hoard people. And you shouldn’t be working with the same people nonstop. Stagnation is stagnation even if you’re stagnant with the most talented people you can find. I would much rather do projects as they come up with whoever is bringing them up than try to carve my own too small space.

I think that eliminating redundancies by doing co-productions is advisable. I think that in small independent theatre situations that the ego of My Company can get in the way of creating the best art.

I think that a healthy community will have a core of companies with many smaller more fluid companies in metaphorical orbit. Resources will find appropriate homes , and new alchemies will be discovered as people work in different combinations regularly. The talent, the magic as it were, is in the people, and in the combinations of people, not in a name or a facility.

Of course none of this has anything to do with people who make money at this… they have different concerns.

blog comments powered by Disqus