The Playgoer: Spaceship Lands atop Lincoln Center Theatre

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Spaceship Lands atop Lincoln Center Theatre


Welcome to the future--where apparently Lincoln Center will always be a balmy 70 degrees and patrons will all be smiling and somewhat medically sedated.
Actually, like a slick ad graphic, the focus here is not meant to be the surroundings but that little rectangle on top of what we know as the Vivian Beaumont of Lincoln Center Theatre.  It's the blackbox (or, should that be "whitebox"?) of the future! Or, in other words, the new home for "LCT3":
The new theater’s programming, called LCT3, will feature the work of emerging playwrights, directors and designers, and will be aimed at new audiences, with every ticket priced at $20. It has been a long time coming — Andr√© Bishop, Lincoln Center Theater’s artistic director, has wanted a black box space since he came to Lincoln Center Theater in 1992.
The new theater will seat 131 in a fixed configuration — no thrust stage or moveable seats. Mr. Hardy has surrounded the seats with a curved wood enclosure. The addition as a whole, at 23,000 square feet, will include a lounge, rehearsal space, dressing rooms and offices. The second level is to have a green roof and the terrace.
Don't rush over there with your new script just yet--constructing is only just beginning next month and it won't be ready to open till probably two years from now, in early 2012.

Well that's too bad about the fixed seating, I guess.  But otherwise, so far so good, I say.  The $20 ticket price is essential.  But I wonder whether LCT subscribers (or "members") will have first dibs.  I've come to believe that any big subscription theatre that wants a developmental space for new work should NOT include it in the mainstage subscription.  The new space is not just a chance to find new work, but a new audience--so why risk it by filling the house with the usual crowd that might be most resistant to new work anyway.  You risk the advance income from subscriptions, but--you gain much hipness when young folk can enjoy sitting around other young folk at the theatre for a change.  Make it a different "scene," man.

But hey, nice at least not to have to go down to another basement.  Maybe the view will be nice.

Here's another rendering--with yet more of those spooky phantom patrons...


matt said...

Love the idea and the design. I also like that they go up, as opposed to plopping down another building on the LC campus. Pre show should be a nice buzz having it all together like that, similar to E59.

Unknown said...

I really don't understand the point of fixed seating in black box all. Except for maybe comfortable seating.

Anonymous said...

Why are you such an unrelenting ageist? Lots of white-haired folk are as artistically adventurous an youngsters - and many young people (if they pay attention to theater at all) are artistically conservative. Age is really not an indicator. And why assume that young people want to be among only other young people when they go to performances? It's no fun being the ONLY young person in an audience, but variously mixed audiences always see most interesting to me. Look at the age mix at a thriving joint like Le Poisson Rouge (okay, not at the late-night dance parties, but at the avant-garde or other concerts: you probably get a good 50-year age range in there.)

Ken said...

As a middle-aged but still "emerging" playwright (i.e., I ain't had a lot of productions) I hope this new drive to find “emerging playwrights” doesn’t take the lazy path of only looking at the standard arenas for new writers (MFA programs, the O’Neil Conference, etc.). There are plenty of us who aren’t in school anymore, have never been picked for the O’Neill, aren’t in New Dramatists, haven’t had a play done at SPF, or the Lark. But still, we’re good. We need opportunities. There’s no point in Lincoln Center inaugurating a space where they supposedly will take artistic chances, if their selection process is going to be timid and conventional.

Anonymous said...

I've got $10 that says their programming directive morphs from representing emerging playwrights, directors and designers into a workshop space of sorts. It will merely be another vehicle to have shows produced - with the same people at the helm.

It will just be a nicer, above ground version of the the Roundabout Underground. And look at the roster on that place since it's opened.

Emerging? Emerging to where? Laughable!