Sunday, January 31, 2010

Life Upon The Wicked Stage

After some discussion with the publisher, I submitted an article to the Theatre Vault website. If it is received well (or at all), it will likely be the first of several by various contributors. I've included it here because (1. I liked it), and (2. There's some truth in there.) If you have any thoughts in these directions, lemme know. I can always go for Part 2 ...

Many good things happened in Columbus community theatre in 2009. There is a breathtaking amount of talent out there. Often the only differences between professional and non-professional theatre are those nuances we tend to rationalize as “that’s just the way it is.”

Sorry, I don’t buy that. “Just the way it is” is an excuse for lack of imagination in one area or another. And so, with the thought of building up rather than tearing down, we point out some of the consistent problems community theatres choose not to address whenever possible.

In other words, here’s our first “this sucks” community theatre experiences for 2009.

I saw three musicals this year. In two of them I watched people lacking in muscle tone and rhythm while they stomped around a stage in an homage to the Frankenstein monster. Sorry, that’s not dancing. Embarrassing is what it is, and one of the reasons many people label community theatre as “amateur.”

Along the same line, dressing fat people in tight clothes does not make them look like dancers - it makes them look like fat people dressed in tight clothes.

The majority of shows I saw incorporated set changes that were more involved than the show they bridged. Please don’t do that. It takes time and nobody really cares.

I saw four plays this year that were written between a hundred and four hundred years ago. I suffered through a number of performers who had no idea what the meanings were behind the words they were speaking. Theatre managers, if you have any mercy for your audiences at all, give these people chloroform just before they perform. Better still, give it to us.

I saw one play this year where an episode of a television show had been performed as a stage play. The original script writers are now deceased. Rightly so.

I observed one community theatre that flatly turned down free publicity in the form of play reviews. This is sad on so many levels.

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