Well, not THE million dollar question, but a good one nonetheless. From the comments here, DPS asks a very good question:
In all of this, I continue to wonder why we're so worried about institutional theatre? Let them die out in 15 years. They've had a good run.
A fair point and one, I think, a lot of people would agree with. Like, a lot of people. We get our revolutionary fervor up and think, "Screw it. Let 'em fail." And I'm not one to argue that anything is too big to fail. But there is something to all of this discussion. I think the reason is here.
We want to let the institutions go? Fine. Then we need to have a pretty good and clear plan about how to NOT become institutions and repeat all the same mistakes. We'll make new ones, to be sure. But the story of the last fifteen years is that all of the small, hardscrabble, make-it-up-as-you-go-along theatre companies that cropped up in the late '80s and early '90s have either folded or turned into institutions. The system is going to push us that way. How do we push back? That's really the conversation.
I'm not saying I wouldn't love a seat at the big table, but if they keep serving what they're serving, I'll pass. I can make my own food. I just have to make sure my recipe is in order. (Not to belabor a metaphor...except I did.)