The Playgoer: Daisey Debates Rages On

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Daisey Debates Rages On

Ok, well I thought I left the Great Daisey Debate behind a couple of weeks ago. But it still rages on between a few bloggers: Scott Walters, Nick (of the Rat Conference), Cote, and Mr. Daisey himself, who, in addition to commenting on said blogs, has updated his personal part of the story on his own site.

I'll keep staying out of it for now, especially given the lack of any new revelations.

But here are a quick--and slightly less serious--5 Lessons of the Daisey Debacle I take away from it all:

1) No water bottles in the theatre. Yes, you know how water is the one "safe" concessions item ushers will let you take into the theatre? Well after seeing what one angry patron can do with a half-liter Poland Spring maybe we should rethink that. And the big commercial theatre owners may want to rethink that new openness policy on concessions in the seats. Sure they need the bar-income. But just more stuff for people to throw.

2) Warnings: Okay, we've all had a good laugh over the inane "warnings" we've seen in theatre lobbies or programs, where shows give away every possibly offensive thing that may transpire in the next two hours, from smoking to smooching...But I guess the Daisey incident reminds us why theatres can get paranoid about heading off offense in the first place. Do we tolerate the silliness to help preempt mass walkouts?

3) Groupthink Group Sales: Group sales are great, and large groups--like students--help put a lot of asses in the seats at nonprofits. But be on your guard when someone purchases block of 87(!). Seems already a volatile situation to me.... How about at least deliberately not seating them together, so as to obfuscate any coordinated action at all?

4) Video all your performances. Actors Equity be damned--if something amazingly surprising happens during one of your live shows you'll wanna YouTube it.


5) When a show is deemed "inappropriate for children," it is usually inappropriate only for the parents/guardians accompanying them. I remember working on a childrens theatre piece at a theatre company, watching all the adults in the room fret over every line of the script--at certain innuendos or political statements--as if 8 years olds would even notice. I tried to argue, but then shut up when I realized they weren't really looking out for the children, but themselves and their fellow parents in the audience.

It's like watching movie sex scenes with your parents. It can be just awkward and icky for the kids. But downright traumatizing for the parents, who are only thinking of how to answer when asked "Mommy, Daddy what are they doing?" And too many parents seem to be facing that challenge with old fashioned avoidance. Or V-chips. Instead of being a true adult and seizing that "teachable moment."


Anonymous said...

Very funny, yet very true on that last point. Thanks for the laugh.

Mike Daisey said...

These are funny. One addition for point #2: that particular monologue actually has a warning using "colorful" language, built into the cell phone announcement--so I don't know if *anything* could have helped, beyond me using gosh and darn more often.