Thursday, July 23, 2009

metaDRAMA: To the Indie Theater Community

I know, I know, I may not always have the nicest words for your shows, and I know that I hold you to sometimes almost impossible standards, given the sort of budget and constraints you all work with. However, don't ever think that I don't love, appreciate, and value what you all do. I wouldn't be writing at all if I didn't think you all were worth holding to high standards--because the truth is, when I get blown away at the theater, it is almost always in a small, intimate house, by a bunch of passionate rabble-rousers.

I'm writing this because I had a blast taking part in the New York Innovative Theater Awards, not only as an awards committee member, but in getting to announce some of the nominees--a real pleasure to be on the other side of the footlights, nerves and all. I'm sure you all have the same sense and feeling that I do, standing in a room of your peers (or those you write about): that energy and pride that crackles off a cast of hundreds who are working often enough for literally nothing. To know that everyone's in it out of a largely pure love of theater itself. I said earlier this month that I was done with Broadway--more so now, especially after seeing the way the TONY Awards have still managed to steal some thunder from the IT Awards--but I really do mean that: I'd rather chill at the Ice Factory, rock on at The Brick, or get my feet back on terra nova. The Fringe Festival is coming up, which David Cote has suggested needs a curator: I disagree--I'd rather get lost in the manic excitement of having five minutes to get your set up in the changeover between companies at a sweltering hot venue. There's something real there, and it only makes the actual gems all the more amazing to stumble upon. I may hate your show this year, but damn it all, at least you're walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

If you're one of those people who just can't get enough of the theater--and I know I sound more than a bit sappy here--this letter's to and for you. Your work matters; please keep doing it. Then again, if you're reading this letter, you already know that, and kudos to you for that.


Freeman said...

Good stuff. Thanks for this.

August Schulenburg said...

Aaron, thank you for doing what you do. You are in the fray actually making a difference, rather than just talking about it. Thank you.

Qui Nguyen said...

Thank you for this note, Aaron, and thank you for the attention you give us all. It's hugely appreciated. And I second what August said, thanks for being in the fray. It's important work you do.