In the Spring of this year I was invited by Theatre Vault website to submit an article listing areas and directions where Community Theatre (in a general sense) could stand improvement.
I responded, pointing out my favorite picky details that have slightly dented a 55-year love affair with good and great theatrical experiences.
Apparently my article was acceptable to the regular readers of Theatre Vault. (Nobody was breathing heavily at my front door.) And, a few weeks ago, the Editor of the TV website invited me to submit another article along the same lines.
This time I hesitated. For one thing, I felt I had adequately covered the subject the first time around. There’s a fine line between constructive criticism and theatre bashing, and I’ve been on the receiving end of spurious attack enough times to not wish to inflict that on anybody else.
But I changed my mind. In response to a recent less than glowing review of mine, a reader pointedly reminded me that I was “reviewing a community theatre production, and not Broadway’s latest and greatest.”
I found this comment to be demeaning, not only to the theatre group he supports, but also to the community of non-professional theatres as a whole.
And I’ve heard it before. “It’s just community theatre.” To imply that one standard should or does exist for professional theatre and a lower one exists for community theatre is to suggest that the many incredibly gifted performers in community theatre are not good enough to stand equal to their paid brothers and sisters.
In fact, almost the opposite is true. There are over 40 theatrical organizations in this city, all fighting for the same dollars and patrons. No group is going to survive without constantly challenging the others to improve. Furthermore, many years ago the area went off the “A” list for professional touring companies, simply because they knew they couldn’t compete with both the quality and quantity of local presentations. Only in the areas of elaborately staged large musicals will you see much in the way of professional theatre here, and even these groups don’t always make a profit.
The bottom line is simply this; there’s only one standard. As an audience member, if you like a show, it’s good. If you don’t, it isn’t. It’s as simple as that. Your judgment should be based solely on taste and experience, without qualifications. If you are working on a show, and have the mind set that it’s “just community theatre,” the show is dead already. Make it the best it can possibly be, and settle for nothing less. Invite – even dare – comparisons to anybody. A positive, rather than defensive, attitude is everything.
I’ve been around for awhile. I’ve seen this country change and change again. Some of it has been pretty good. We seem to be innovative to the point where it’s mind boggling. On the other hand, some of our directions and aspirations have been something less than admirable. (Why the Canadians speak to us at all has always been a mystery to me.)
During my lifetime a bunch of Presidents have come and gone. Some of ‘em were pretty good. Some of ‘em were just pretty. I’ve personally seen three, interviewed two.
I’m actually happy with the guy running the country at the moment. He’s not perfect – I think it would bother me if he was. But he still seems to be smarter than I am, and that’s why I voted for him in the first place.
Here’s an observation, then. I don’t think – in my entire life – I’ve ever seen so many disasters (man made and otherwise) fall over each other without a break as much as they have during the present administration. I saw a picture of the President today, and his hair is turning white. It’s not the first time, either. Other presidents have aged greatly during their time in office.
All this is leading to a question, rhetorical perhaps. Why would a smart person want the job? Think about it before answering. It’s a trick question.
In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure-dome decree: where Alph, the sacred river, ran through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground with walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Jack Bunny is the alter ego of a playwright, theatrical director, and drama critic. If you are at a party and see a 150 pound rabbit at the punch bowl, it might be him!
(On the other hand, it might also mean that perhaps you should step away from the punch bowl for awhile.)
ANOTHER DUMB GHOST STORY (Full length)
THE REVENANT (Full length)
CORIE (Full length)
MORGAN (Full length)
VOLLEYS (Full length)
ELYCE TIMES ONE (Full length - written with J.E. Ocean)
THE DISENCHANTED FROG (Children's One-act)
THE ART OF BUILDING BRIDGES (One-act)
FROM MY VANTAGE POINT (One-act)
THE TRIAL (One-act)
WHAT'S NEW IN LATHERDUE? (Reader theatre One-act)
ROUGH DRAFT (One-act)
THE GRAND GILDER (One-act)
Old friend remembered
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
I hate writing, I love having written.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
It must be summer. I can smell California burning.
Starbucks is where certain relationships go to die.
I can only answer the question 'What am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question, 'Of what story do I find myself a part?'
Walmart always makes me cry ...
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.
The Bible in the hand of one man is more dangerous than a whiskey bottle in the hand of another.
Can people stop dying please? Just for a little bit. maybe.
Mettle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
In my many years I have come to the conclusion that one useless person is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a Congress.
Wearing underwear is as formal as I get.
"Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain ..."
Our revels now are ended.
These, our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.