Thursday, May 13, 2010

metaDRAMA: You Have No Excuse

Unless ticket prices are eliminated entirely (as Oskar Eustice says he wants to do for the Public, though that would take more subsidization than Signature gets), you're always going to have trouble trying to figure out what the public really wants to see in the theater. In truth, what we learn from discounted performances (like SoHo Rep.'s instantly-sold-out $0.99 Sundays) is that people are eager for cheap theater, not necessarily the show that's playing. If every theater decided to make their shows free for one night (this, on a wider scale), and only "sold" tickets this way, you'd get a glimpse at what people wanted to see. (This is, more or less, what basic television does--also removing the trouble of getting to an out-of-the-way or run-down theater, too.)

But you can also learn a lot from pay-what-you-can theater (or keep-what-you-feel-you-deserve theater, ala the Mike Daisey experiment). I absolutely loved Lascivious Something, I hope you do, too. I hope you'll attend their 7:00 Sunday performance, and teach them something about the pay-what-you-can option, which should be that if the show is really good, audiences will reach back into their pockets and offer more. (I do this from time to time, especially since I'm usually not paying.)

Point being: Lascivious Something is pay-what-you-can on Sunday, May 16th, at 7:00. So if money was your objection, you now have no excuse.


Freeman said...

Something that is FREE and something that is DISCOUNTED have significant differences in how they strike the public eye, and how they affect purchasing, I'd bet. In fact, I wonder if devaluing something in the public mind by making it free is counter productive.

Freeman said...
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Aaron Riccio said...

Yeah, I'm not in marketing or sales, so I'm not sure what effect that would have on encouraging people to go to the theater, but I am all too aware that for some, the cost of something is enmeshed in its value (Rolex vs. Fauxlex) rather than in the product itself.

And let me clarify--I'm not saying that theaters shouldn't make money, nor that audiences shouldn't pay. As a literally "free"lance writer, I'm all too aware of the counterproductive "cost" of giving something away. I'm not even trying to suggest a better model or mechanic (though I do believe that if you could make your money through donors rather than tickets, more seats would be filled). Just saying that you should go see Lascivious Something. :)