Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Flip Side

In which I eat my words, at least a little bit. So after being a little bit flip yesterday here and here about the declining state of large theatres, Isaac pointed me to this post from Mead Hunter on his being laid-off from Portland Center Stage. I don't know Mead personally (though I think we're Facebook friends), but it sounds like a pretty big blow, both personally for Mead and for the theatre in general. (He also has a great follow-up here.) The news is full of stories like this one, big and small. So...maybe theatre is dying and the sky is falling.

Mead's post, though, has much hope and a fair amount of upside in it. Ol' Scott must be happy that Mead is remaining in Portland and setting up shop there, rather than heading off to the Dread NYLACHI(DC...KFC...MSNBC). I'm very much encouraged by Mead's SuperScript Service for reasons that I'll go into in another post, but mainly because he's building a revenue stream out of his artistic skills (and using the internet to do it). So check it out. As my favorite boys say, I always dream about a unified scene. (I think I might have mentioned them before...still buzzing from the show the other night...)


City Dater said...

Theatre is not dying and the sky is not falling. Maybe people don't remember the last recession (or that post-9/11 period when productions were "postponed" because audience members were huddled in their homes waiting for another terrorist attack), but there were layoffs and staff furloughs then too. And literary office positions tend to be the first ones eliminated when budget cuts are a priority -- after all, if theaters are worried about cash, they start doing more known titles and fewer new works, which means less need for script readers and rehearsal dramaturgs. A number of regionals built big literary offices during the boom years...and now we're in a bust.
It's mostly going to be interesting to see what happens to the companies that invested heavily in property rather than people...if no one wants to see what's happening in their fancy expensive theaters, how will they pay for them?

Scott Walters said...

There is a wide distance between theatre dying and theatre being in the pink and skipping off for an ice cream treat at Dairy Queen, and if I were to place theatre on that continuum, I wouldn't count on any softserve.

Yes, I am happy that he is staying in Portland, not because it isn't Nylachi, but because he has been a part of Portland for several decades, his family loves Portland, and he is devoted to it. Would that more artists felt the same.