The Playgoer: While They Were Striking...

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Friday, November 30, 2007

While They Were Striking...

Congrats to blogger George Hunka for making his way to the Guardian theatre blogs, for what looks like at least an occasional gig. Check out this post of his, where he is eager to reassure our friends across the pond that the Broadway strike hardly shut down the real American theatre.

Over the past few weeks I've been making my usual rounds of the off-off-Broadway theatres and the parties to which theatre artists are inevitably drawn, and within these two weeks I don't think I've heard one word about the strike uptown. Down here, it's business as usual: performances, hundreds of them each week, in theatres ranging from well-appointed performance arenas to grungy black-box theatres and basement spaces.
Indeed, downtown, life--and a lot of great work--has gone on. I admit to being somewhat singleminded about the strike the last few weeks. Honestly, I do think it's an important story informing how theatre--at least some theatre, the well-advertised kind--gets made in this country. But obviously it's not the whole story.

Truth is, when you blog as a hobby, and often have time for only one or two posts a day, you --okay, I--tend to post about what feels most urgent, immediately available. But enough defensiveness!

It is also true--as we've repeatedly seen the last few weeks--that the larger media's fixation (forget the blogosphere!) on the strike, while flattering they're paying attention at all, only served to reinforce that Broadway (esp. musicals a la Grinch)=American theatre. And we haven't seen major outlets like the Times take advantage the lull on the Rialto to shine the spotlight elsewhere. Yes, the Times covered some Off and Off-Off shows, but not more than usual it seemed. Not to mention encouraging Broadway ticket holders to go do some shopping instead of some Shopping & Fucking, as it were.

So let's make sure on this site we ignore this no longer! What shows did you see the past 19 days that were running that made you forget there ever was a Broadway?

I'll go first: Lulu at BAM (by Frankfurt's Thalia Theater); Adam Rapp's Bingo with the Indians at the Flea; Farquhar's 1699 The Constant Couple at The Pearl. Actually I had very mixed feelings about all 3. (And 2 of them were reviewing gigs I didn't choose.) But all of them were vital and alive evenings of theatre--created by artists under 40, I'll add--with tickets available for under $35.*

But I'm sure there were even better things going on. Tell us!

*Correction: I previously said "most tickets under $35, but I suppose that may not be technically true in all cases. In BAM just the Balcony, really (especially with a subscription). And the Pearl is only affordable in previews, unfortunately. (Given it's the Pearl....)


Anonymous said...

Chicago's The Hypocrites production of "The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide" at 59e59. Crept up on me and stuck around. Good show. Also, "Richard III" at CSC. Cumpsty does his thing, but I think I'm missing the boat with what they're trying to do on 13th st - I rarely feel engaged. Hopefully "The Seagull" will change that. Next up: "Peter and Jerry"

Anonymous said...

I concur with "The 4th Graders." I saw the first production a few years ago and it was so chilling and sad and funny -- it sounds like a really arch concept, but the execution is terrific.