WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Globe, A.R.T. and Will LeBow's Open Letter pt. II

After several weeks of talking to people about the A.R.T. controversy, I'd like to revisit the discussion for a few moments.

First, John had a great point regarding the number of Boston actors that Donkey Show and Sleep No More employed. I think that's a great trend, but what I'm really talking about is extending a hand out to the community as an equal partner rather than as a paternalistic LORT behemoth. As I said in the post, I'm not saying it's necessarily intentional, but at the very least it's a crisis of communication. Many members of the arts community do feel alienated by the A.R.T. Of course, the A.R.T. doesn't have to do anything if they don't want to, but I the choice is theirs to make: Do we remain a cog in the theatrical industrial complex? Or do we refocus our efforts on local development and community outreach...

Afterall, I'm pretty sure it's a 501 (c)3. Correct me if I'm wrong, of course.

So in that vein, I would propose that the A.R.T. conduct events such as open workshops with their resident (oops) company, or perhaps holding more widely publicized readings to the public. And having to talked to actors who have performed in Europe, where it's considered a professional sign of respect to comp local performers, maybe send out a few extra discount tickets on StageSource every so often? What you might lose in ticket revenue, you'll gain in support. Because god knows, the last thing I'm going to spend my money on during hard times is a 50 dollar ticket. And I can't keep using my old student ID to rush tickets forever...

It's like development... if you establish a relationship with me now, I'll look at the A.R.T. as more than a transaction, but something I'm a part of. And in the long run, that's worth much more than 30 dollars in cash.

Moving onto comments by "Anonymous"

read more here about some of the behind close doors deals. much of what is being
expressed by the leadership is idealized banter appealing to artists looking to
break out of the mold and into new forms.
I would suggest reading that article first. It's interesting, as sections of the article seem to imlpy that there's some sort of nepotism going on at the A.R.T. However, it's not as damning as you made it seem to sound. I'm not sure if anyone's accusing Eric Bogosian and Jo Bonney for their collaborations. Since you bring it up, I do believe the burden is on you to make a case using that piece of evidence.

In terms of the form they are installing as the answer to what theatre can be in
the future the vessel is empty and void of any truly challenging ideas. there is
room for more inside of the structure of the donkey show to express, whether it
be Shakespeare or not, more than a thesis that extends no further than ' gee
weren't the 70's fun? anyone want to take their shirt off for another bump of
Now, I do find this rather parochial. Do you attend fringe theatre? There's been a number of productions produced at Oberon utilizing the space in a manner that would've been impossible at a traditional theatre. I find it doubtful that anyone of these young, vibrant artists were not inspired in some part by The Donkey Show itself. Theatre is an event, and as much as you wish to take away from what it means to audiences (and artists) who experienced catharsis during the said event, your grand statement merely serves to put words in the Diane Paulus's mouth. You seem to know a thing or two about theatre. But frankly, I do think you could afford to take it down a notch. You are being rather presumptious.

i would ask if you consider theme park entertainment theatre? can't we have
changed forms with substance? i want to be a part of the avant garde but only
when it is defined as the advanced guard that is moving forward with the skill
of a soldier to reconnoitre with intelligence the landscape and proceed as
guardians of what should always be considered sacred. whether comedy or tragedy,
entertainment or agitprop, the theatre is a tool for a community to hold the
mirror up to themselves and evaluate what they see.
Okay, the grammar is starting to annoy me. But I'll try to respond nontheless. Do I consider theme park entertainment theatre? I guess I would, but I also wouldn't say that it's good theatre. It serves it's purpose. If one can make a smal child smile, isn't that worth something on it's own? I don't go to Disneyland expecting to see Lope de Vega. Although I did catch a great production of Mother Courage at Chuck-E-Cheese as a child...

As an artistic community shouldn't we be more concerned that our two main figure
heads ( Dubuis and Paulus ) are more interested in developing, living, and
collaborating with our neighbors in NYC? When will we have an artistic director
who throws the weight of the budget around to add to debates and conversations
that are happening in our community? Rise up fringe you are on the outskirts no
more there are cracks in the pavement and there we can plant the seeds for a
revolution that will crack the foundations of any 'institution'.

I believe it's spelled "DuBois".

That being said, I do agree with this sentiment. I don't believe the future of Boston theatre lies within The Huntington or A.R.T., though I do believe they serve an important purpose. I guess I am concerned with it, but at the same time, I'm not sitting on my laurels waiting for things to change. That's why I produce. That's why lots of people produce. The major changes in theatre come from the the bottom up, and I'm okay with that. I'll continue to see the Hunt and ART, and I'll continue to criticise their bad shows and laud their good shows.

In the meantime, I think your passion and energy is better spent strengthening the fringe than bashing Diane Paulus. Give the woman a chance. I still think it's too early to tell.



  1. It's so difficult, in reading your blog, to understand what it is you're trying to say. I'm surprised most to read you criticizing anyone else's grammar or spelling when yours is so abysmal you seem to be taking every side, while criticizing both. What is your point?

  2. Hey guy,

    I wrote a follow up. It was posted a few hours after your comment. You weren't as quick to respond, as it's been a few days. I miss you, man!


  3. There's been a number of productions produced at Oberon utilizing the space in a manner that would've been impossible at a traditional theatre.

    On the other hand, I find that if the work isn't site specific, or specifically designed to be night-club entertainment, then Club Oberon can be a dreadful place to see performances simply due to line-of-sight issues. Great for spectacle, but rather awful for watching theatre where body language or facial expressions might be relevant to the audience experience. Last time I saw something there, the bloody handrails were in the way half the time (and moving around wasn't an option!)