Performance Report #1 (as promised)

Theater J
SPEED-THE-PLOW
Performance Report # 1

Date: Oct 18, 2007
Performance Time: 7:30 p.m. (First Preview)

House Open: 7:00 p.m.
Curtain: 7:43 p.m.
Act I: 40:37
Intermission: 15:23
Act II: 16:55
scene change: 2:04
Act III: 27:19
Total Running Time: 1:42:19

House Count: 227 (sold out)

Stage Manager’s Notes:
* brief post-show discussion preceded photo call
* glow dots will be placed on the front edge of the stage
* all the painter’s drops need more splatter on them – strokes not just drops of paint – Michelle and Delia will take care of this
* need watch for Charlie – Jerry may have something that will work or Delia has leather banded ones in stock
* house lights will be brought to 30/40% during the scene change between Acts II and III

Artistic Director’s Notes for the Blog:
* How fabulous to have a sold out house with a great age range, a great range of regulars and new folks. As Jerry Whiddon said, “I love Pay What You Can audiences. They’re there because they really wanna be there.” And then he says, “Every night should be a Pay What You Can.”

And maybe he’s right, you know? Last night we brought in $1,250 and that was with Free Night of Theatre giveaways going to 71 people. What if every performance were a PWYC? Would we ever make $5,000 in a night? (We sorta need to, on the weekends) What if we had the option of making it always PWYC at the door, and the only tickets to sell at market rate were advance/reserve tickets that would necessarily be the best tickets; everything else would be first-come-first-serve. Would we see be a much better walk-up rate? A younger crowd that doesn’t plan, just takes its chances, for whom price is an issue? Or is the PWYC crowd just a defined small audience that lasts only a couple nights and we’d see a real law of diminishing returns and a devaluing of the offering, pricing ourselves way below our contemporaries? Huge questions, to be studied.

* Oh, yeah – the art (and stop thinking about MONEY – at the first instant that an audience walks in, all you can do is go ker-ching! How non-not-for-profit is that?). We played real well, our best run-through ever; the audience provided us with something missing throughout the rehearsal period: that of a context for establishing the drama of the moment. The audience confers reality on the expectancy of a seduction; on the imminency of an explosive reaction following the revelation of a betrayal. Meaning: We all became aware of just how deftly Mr. Mamet’s play works on an audience. The situation reall holds! There’s delight in the twists and turns.

In the lightning round talk-back after the show I asked if this 18 year old play still had relevance: “YES!” came the unanimous shot. “MORE,” said others. More what? More pertinence now than 18 years ago. Why? “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.” What does that mean? Come see for yourself.

Very spirited discourse. Appreciating the complexity of Mamet’s characterization strategy – giving us a kind of love-hate dynamic in our embrace and efforts to decode the agenda-driven trio.

In the 3 minute give-us-your-quibble-questions-and-criticisms session, a good note wondered where all the gadgetry was: If we’re updating the play, as we are, and setting it now in the present, why no Blackberrys, why not a proliferation of screens? We have a laptop, but we don’t use it that much. Are these Blackberry guys? Did Mamet write that?
A good question to ponder.

We’re very pleased and we also continue to work. We’re working moments in Act I today (as you can see in the SM’s schedule below), and tomorrow’s our last day of rehearsal, then 2 more previews, then we open Sunday at 7:30 – we’re all sold out – no “ker-ching” – just nice big smiles.

Next Scheduled Meeting:
* Rehearsal 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct 19th in the theater – Notes and working of Act I only – no tech