As befits the season, I spent some time recently thinking of what my New Year’s resolution would be. I tend to think the generic ones don’t particularly count (“Go to the gym more”, “read more books”, etc), because most people are always trying to do those things anyway. I like to make mine be something more specific, and there have been a few articles banging around the Internet lately that have really reinforced my choice in resolution:
Get more people to see small theatre.
As the Artistic Director of a fringe theatre myself, it’s always on the to-do list to get more people to see the work that my small group of artists creates. And I’m always curious as to who those people are that don’t see theatre in general (Who are you? Clearly not reading this blog, in any rate). Combining the two into a super-resolution seems like exactly the thing I can get behind—I don’t want you to just see my theatre (well, of course I do), but I want to encourage everyone to go see and explore the massive small theatre scene exploding in the area today.
This article in the Boston Globe highlights some of the local theatre groups that did fantastic work in the past year, and laments the outstanding number of people that saw none of it. That saddens me. This year, I plan to make an even more concerted effort to fix this.
The Globe lists several reasons you should be seeing more small theatre, but it’s really the first one that gets me: To hear the voices of important young playwrights. The article focuses specifically on Tarell Alvin McCraney and The Brother/Sister Plays produced by Company One. Well-deserved praise, surely, but I say go further. Skip the adjective. Seek out the voices of young playwrights, period. Discover—not only discover, but encourage—new voices. If they’re not quite “important” yet, with the right support they can get there.
The second reason the article puts forth– “to explore the early work of established writers”—is all well and good. Go to those shows! But those established writers couldn’t have gotten to where they are without support. Exploring the early work of now-successful artists seems like a backwards procedure to me. Seek new artists, and seek them early! Get in on the ground floor. Think of it as a sneak peek of the future.
You know what? Push it even further. Don’t just search for young, emerging playwrights. Seek out young, emerging artists. Actors. Directors. Singers. Dancers. Designers. There’s an entire city of talent just waiting for your eyes, ears, and minds.
There’s just so much going on in this lovely town of ours. With the fantastic work by Whistler in the Dark, and Fresh Ink, and Flat Earth, and Theatre on Fire, and everyone else (and yes—plug!– Vagabond), there’s no excuse, really. Talking with these theatres and more has shown me that 2012 will be a fantastic year for theatre here in Boston. We’ve laid it practically at your doorstep. Now help a guy out with his resolution and join us.