Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Spasms of the Macrocosmos

I decided to go with two:

  • A variety of major Bay Area theaters—the Magic, ACT, Marin Theatre Company, the Aurora, San Jose Rep, and SF Playhouse—have opened their 2010-2011 seasons with plays that either prominently feature an African-American performer, or, more likely, center on a part of the African-American experience. What does this trend say? Why are these shows at the beginning of the season? Do any of these theaters make African-Americans a focus later in the season? And why, in a city in which Hispanics outnumber African-Americans by two to one and Asians outnumber African-Americans by almost five to one, are no other racial and ethnic minorities getting plays produced about their experiences?
  • Last month, when departing the Magic Theatre after a show, I was approached by a woman with a video camera about giving an “audience testimonial.” I declined because I was reviewing the production, but it seemed she was taking comments from anyone leaving the theater. Later, I received an email from the Magic touting the success of opening night—with filmed audience testimonials to prove it! But how do audience members feel about being used for marketing purposes in this manner? Are there certain pressures inherent in it that make for less-than-honest responses? Why do some theaters use it? Why do others refrain?

If American Theatre isn't interested, maybe I'll solicit another publication!

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