Thursday, July 10, 2008

How HoTFA might fail

Change should probably happen locally and virally

We talked not too long ago about notions of viral heroism.

Here is are some small ways to help the current How Theatre Failed America Crowd act with more viral heroism.

OK...so putting the show online could mean hurting its box office. Rather lets put those talkbacks online ASAP.

If you raise a question and dont have the answer, stop telling me that you deserve accolades for raising the question. Just shrug your shoulders.

Theatre has the power to transcend exhibitionism and become activism but only when the audience is prompted to act.

Who is the audience for these HoTFA performances and post show debates?

If it is only the actors then we have to at the very least brainstorm and figure out what hasnt worked and how/why that hasnt worked.

If anything is going to come out of HoTFA other than a well established network of opportunities for its author...what will it be?

Ultimately we arent questioning whether or not Theatre Artist deserve this sort of lifestyle or that, ultimately we are debating theatre's value to the (gulp) community.

Prove theatre's value first
Then prove the actor's value to theatre

Anyway that how it looks to me this morning

And...it's pronounced HauT-FA like HOFFA

7 comments:

Paul Rekk said...

Dammit, are we circling back to that value thing again?

Why does my theatre have value? Because I say it does. Why do my actors have value? Because I need them to do my theatre. Why should somebody pay me to do something that they may not see as valuable? Honestly, they shouldn't until they've seen it. Then they can decide what, if any, value it has for them. Including monetarily.

There. I got that out of the way early this time!

Devilvet said...

Paul,

Sad to say if it was that simple then we wouldn't be in this pickle. Experience shows that the majority of senitent beings disagree with you if not in thought than at the very least in action.

The people paying to see theatre are where the power lies. HoTFA is no longer about art. It is now solely about money and monetary value.

Your first ascertion is where the the whole fault in your logic lies. Your theatre has no monetary value until audience pays to sees it. That isn't the theatrical paradigm...it is the market regardless of product. Taking yourself out of market is the only way to ignore it. Which is what you appear to be doing.

" Why should somebody pay me to do something that they may not see as valuable? Honestly, they shouldn't until they've seen it."

Which came first the chicken or the egg...all the chickens are death and the eggs are smashed.

"Because I say it does" = not enough... not within the community or the market.

I'm going to say something you may take as condescending but it is a plain hard truth...struggle within in the market for 10+ years. Find out that 15 years down the road you have no savings, no one not even your audience cares what you did last year on stage, and the doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure or diabetes.

Market Value Distribution and Power are the issues... not self proclaimed value. Validation in the market is essential to an evolvution of HoTFA issue.

Paul Rekk said...

"The people paying to see theatre are where the power lies. HoTFA is no longer about art. It is now solely about money and monetary value."

Thank you, that's all I needed to hear. I can now remove myself from the conversation with no second thoughts. I had a feeling that this was where this was all headed, but no one will come out and say it.

As far as the 10+ years thing goes, I don't take it as consdescending, but there's no way for me to counter it. I either agree and admit to being a hopeless youth or a deny it and look to everyone else like a hopeless youth.

So I guess all I can say is we'll see what happens in ten years. If that's where I'm at, maybe I'll be supporting grassroots movements on the internet. But not now, because art is still about art to me, no matter who else cares.

RebeccaZ said...

Amen, Mr. Devilvet.

Scott Walters said...

dv, I disagree with your assertion that raising the question without providing The Answer isn't valuable. First, Daisey has provided some answers -- for instance, the idea of an endowed chair for actors. But when you say that flying in "freeze-dried actors" and a "freeze-dried director" from NYC is stupid, then how much more clearly do you have to say it: artists need to have stable employment in one place; the artists need to be more important than the building. That's where we're going.

Also, Mike Daisey IS going to put a recording of the show on-line, AND the script as well, for public distribution.

The audience for the performance and the post-show discussions have been people in the industry. And the first thing that has to happen, and that is absurdly difficult I am discovering, is to get people to actually say that the current system is fucked up and there is a better way to do it. Not "the current system is fucked up, so suck it up and play the game," as Don is saying.

And we're not debating theatre's value to the community -- this is an internal thing, not an external one. We are arguing priorities. We are arguing whether the artists are more important than the building, and whether a stable pool of artists who aren't worried about the diabetes diagnosis will create better or more art than the free agent one-and-done model we currently have.

And it is incredible to me that we are having that argument, because it is so fucking obvious!

Devilvet said...

STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!

Are you sure you wouldnt just rather yell at Don? I dont have the time or energy to re-explain my post today so I'll just tell you the big problem in your comment...

'is an internal thing'

- that's the problem. Until it becomes external...until audience's say we arent going to support theatre's with unfair labor practices towards their actors...then the whole thing is just alot of hot air.

If it is merely ethical or moral issue then it will remain abstract obtuse and circular. When it starts affecting the external and the internal then you'll see some change.

But you guys are now arguing about what you are arguing about...too much...

I am switching this off for now. I just cant give a dman about MD or your defense of him...it is all distraction from the goals...so I suggest you let MD defend himself (he does it dilligently if not particularly convincingly) and return to your own self proclaimed goals of decentralization.

If the market doesnt change then how does HoTFA succeed in doing anything...what is evident to me is that aside from excellent PR for a certain someone...HoTFA is already well on its way to having failed to change anything.

Tony Adams said...

"that's the problem. Until it becomes external...until audience's say we arent going to support theatre's with unfair labor practices towards their actors...then the whole thing is just alot of hot air."

Amen.

I think a second equally important piece is artists not working with theatres that don't treat artists well. If they can't get anyone to work with them, you'd be surprised how much more accommodating a company can be.

But yeah, most of the power (and priorities) for change lies in the funding.