January 3, 2014

"The idea that you might voluntarily go out at night to see a half-dozen human beings act out a story in person..."

"... much less that you'd commit in advance to doing so at a specific hour on a specific day — is now alien to most Americans, especially younger ones."

15 comments:

somefeller said...

This is a good piece. I'd agree that the desire to see big, movie-like plays in cavernous halls has diminished. But most of the great theater I've seen has been in the sort of small venues that Teachout mentions, with those plays produced by small companies of dedicated artists, most of whom have day jobs. Maybe his idea of artisanal theater is the way to keep the art form alive.

PB Reader said...

Theatre needs to adapt to changing tastes and not expect a non-evolving public.

However, I think the requirement to sell-out theaters with no same-day availability is the blocking factor. Likely the financial model needs to change to incorporate the immediate demand customer base.

SOJO said...

Oh, I can go one better.

My (intelligent and well-traveled, really, swear to God) niece can not work the snail mail properly at 13.5 years old. She doesn't really understand the whole concept.

She put small package contents in some gift paper, wadded it into a somewhat spherical form with tape, addressed it, and threw it in her Dad's outbox.

Did I mention she was trying to mail this secretly, and so would naturally not want the package to attract attention?

Oso Negro said...

The decline of Little Theater is a byproduct of the mainstreaming of homosexuality.

rehajm said...

Drag queens in the Macy's Thanksgving Day Parade killed it for me.

CWJ said...

I've read the linked article twice now, and I still don't get it. Teachout is all over the map until he finally settles down on his small theatre theme.

So if he has really been all over the country reviewing plays, how is this a revelation? Outside of Broadway itself, and its traveling companies hitting the big venues on the road, small intimate theatre is the norm.

themightypuck said...

Likewise buggywhips.

Joseph Blieu said...

Oso:

Very Astute from a Dick Van Dyke Show point of view, you ARE the Ezera Kline!

Joseph Blieu said...

Oso:

Very Astute from a Dick Van Dyke Show point of view, you ARE the Ezera Kline!

Joseph Blieu said...

Oso:

Very Astute from a Dick Van Dyke Show point of view, you ARE the Ezera Kline!

Michael K said...

I once saw a presentation of "Faust" in London in a small theater in the Covent Garden where it was an all homosexual version. Helen was a gay guy and people began to laugh and cat call by the last act. I wonder if anyone would have the guts to do so now .

I had opera season tickets for years. 2008 ended that opera company. A friend had small theater season tickets and I used to go with him sometimes.

rcommal said...

Sed fugit interea, fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

With the participation declines in so many different organizations/institutions--churches, sports leagues, scouts, service orgs, apparently the theater too--I always wonder what exactly people are doing with their time that they weren't doing thirty or forty years ago.

Crazy Jane said...

I enjoy theater in New York, but the high cost of staging musical productions has caused new fare to be mostly revivals and former television and movie stories. Now more dramas, again mostly revivals, are being presented, often in theaters that are too big for proper appreciation.

Prices are ridiculous, and audiences definitely skew old, which is also the case for opera and symphonic performances.

In all productions, the entry on stage of a known television actor provokes huge applause from the audience, usually interrupting the flow of events. Never happens with even the most prominent theater stars.

Freeman Hunt said...

There is a big theater here that gets the traveling shows. There is also a small, intimate theater that is always well-reviewed. Both seem to do well. The big one is having to expand.

Then there are all the community theaters. I don't know how they do.