You're right about a drama group having to consider its community, etc., before choosing a play. I belong to a fledgling drama group in my community and will be on the play-reading committee. I'm new at this so I asked a bunch of questions about what can be considered. The guy in charge said we have to see what's being performed in a 50-mile radius so we don't duplicate, nothing really racy because the community won't stand for it (by that I mean won't attend) and until we get established, we can't choose anything terribly unfamiliar. We also need to have a wide variety of offerings.
We'd like to be able to do original plays at some point, but we have to wait until people are regularly coming to performances. We also have to get community financial backing as well.
This is an interesting thread. I'm learning about some new plays that we might potentially be able to use.
How is this going for you? Any plays picked out yet? Do you have a fairly regular pool of actors that work with you?
I'm kind of in a strange mood about the theater right now. I really think the idea of a repertory company needs to be first and foremost. A place for people who actually enjoy acting finding an enjoyable environment to act in. But over the last, I dunno how long...I'm not really old enough to determine it...say couple of decades maybe(?), there's too much of a mentality...maybe coming out of colleges I don't know, whatever it is...where actors should be or expect to be bullied around....I feel antagonistic towards that idea, and I'm not an actor...great actors make it look easy, but it's fucking hard work for anyone...but who goes to the theater to see 'mediocre'? I don't. Do you? Does anyone want to?
I've done a little acting and the problem wasn't that I couldn't memorize my lines or 'emote' but that I could. Really horrible and my heart's in writing. But by going through that experience I developed a better sense of just how damned difficult it can be. So there.
I'm, by bits and dribbles, conspiring with a friend of mine to flesh out a mutual vision propelled on by my idiotic inability to be happy with the status quo. I'm an upsetter I guess. But I'm at the point now where I may very well turn my property into a theater because I don't want the local asshole deciding the fate of anything I write ( he doesn't have the talent to walk himself across the street much less direct anyone else ) nor watching local talent have any spark of creativity snuffed out of them doing the same god damned things they did four months ago. I hate art turning into mundane toil. If there's a sin, it's somewhere in that process...
You mentioned financial backing? How will you get it? What part of the production are you involved in? Please forgive my blustering and such. Just talk to me about your experiences because I'm sincerely interested. Most of all, just talk about any aspect of it that you wish. I might faint occasionally from the strain of making an effort to have a coherent conversation with you, but please ignore that because the exchange of ideas is well worth having I think. . For my part anyway
It's moving ahead, but things are moving slowly because of the rotten economy. We've set our sights on a downtown building that's large enough for the theatre itself, green room, dressing rooms, offices, and the like. We just need to find about $350,000 to get started. Finding donors has been difficult. Even the wealthier people around here are reluctant to donate. But we've got some ideas. Our town is having some meetings to talk about its financial future and what we need to do to attract business and we're hoping the town sees our venture as something to support.
We were going to do a play this spring, but since we'd have to rent a venue for rehearsals and performances, pay actors and house them and all the other inicidentals, we had to cancel those plans. If we'd had a place of our own we could have managed it. We're going to host a madrigal dinner at Christmas and we're hoping that can be a huge fund-raiser. I'm mostly involved in publicity right now but I want to get into play-reading, too.
I think theatre (I mean good theatre) can only help a community. It brings people to town for dinner, to hotels, maybe to shop, etc. We have a good volunteer theatre company that puts on quite good shows, but there's nothing quite like watching the professionals.
I understand your desire to keep a tight rein on your own work. I can't think of a much worse fate for a writer than to see his or her work altered beyond recognition. And while many actors are eager to take any role, it has to be hard when you have to do the same things over and over and don't get a chance to stretch.
Anyway, keep us posted on your plans. I'm thinking about writing a series of 1-act plays, but I'm going to have to do some research first. Perhaps I can send you something to look at when I get something done on them.