The Playgoer: NYT on "The Line"

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

NYT on "The Line"

"Nothing is free in New York. Not even free theater."

They said it. Otherwise, just another portrait of the Mother Courage line as wacky adventure, in the Sunday Times metro section. (But on the theatre page online.)

Interesting info on the current CraigsList trade in tickets. But no mention of the more legit black market-esque "Sponsor" deal offered by the Public itself.

UPDATE: This story just got picked up by the Times radio station, WQXR, on their 7pm headlines. Funny, all they mentioned was the Craigslist sales! (Expect massive trolling going on there tonight...)

A prediction is suddenly coming to me--the scalping will become the story of Mother Courage this summer, and the Public will, for the first time, have to address it. I'm sure it's always happened, but the 2001 "Seagull" was before the age of CraigsList. If there's some outcry against the unfairness of being beaten out on line by scalpers, the Public will have to respond and possibly change some policies, no?


Anonymous said...

Maybe scalping will force a change.

But the bottom line is: A theater company truly animated by the goal of inclusiveness--across lines of class, city geography and age--would have chosen a different ticketing scheme by now. Or at least be in the process of working toward a new scheme.

On the other hand, a theater company that wanted to appear to be animated by the goal of inclusiveness--but was instead motivated by a hunger for publicity, dinner party buzz and the fringe social, political and finanical benefits that flow from being the gatekeeper to the 'hottest ticket in town'--would probably settle on a ticketing scheme very much like the one the Public is currently using.

Anonymous said...

Broadway tix -- and more to the point, those of "non-profits" like the opera (the Met at NYCO) are scalped all the time at extremely high prices. THat hasn't made anyone "have to address it." Why would the Public be any different. I'm not saying they shouldn't address it, but your hopes sound misplaced.

Anonymous said...

So we're now down to accusing the Public Theater of being insincere about inclusiveness because they hand our free tickets to a play, and of being shallow cocktail-party buzz whores because they got Meryl Streep to star in Mother Courage?

You know, there's a fine line between being a gadfly and simply missing the point. Can we have a nice long talk now about the Roundabout's big effort at "inclusiveness"? Or Lincoln Center Theatre's? Or Broadway's? Or is it better for them that they don't even try?

Anonymous said...

Is it a net positive that Shakespeare in the Park exists, even in its current (flawed) formulation? Of course it is. No one is arguing that we would be better off without it.

But I reject what seems to be Anonymous #2's implicit point: That since the Delacorte shows are a net positive, criticizing the Public's approach makes me a bad sport.

First, there is a lot of public money involved here, and exclusive access to city resources. I think Shakespeare in the Park invites/demands heightened scrutiny for that reason.

But there's also an opportunity that's being missed: If the Public really wanted to organize its summer season around making high quality theatre accessible to the broadest, most diverse audience possible, it could do a much better job than it is currently doing.

Isn't the "inclusiveness" ideal (which the Public itself lists as central to its mission) an ideal worth fighting for?