Friday, November 27, 2009

Day after Thanksgiving

I fell into kind of a defunk on what is known as the shopping day of the year, Friday after Thanksgiving, since I was not ready to shop. I could find no action on the Internet. That is not until a while a go when my son Raymond, the only family member not with us on Thanksgiving, blogged from Austin, Texas with an entry called "Test of Faith." And I thought, oh here is the answer to my prayer, somebody trying to do something out of the ordinary, communication on a higher level which is what I call art. Hmm, I read, and think, well, looks like he is having a day in the doldrums, it is tough selling theater to the masses, and I wrote to him, it was always tough to sell theater, 40 years ago, yesterday and today.
David Goldstein, head of the biggest theater company in Phoenix, in fact, it is regional and plays in Tucson, too, had a bad outing with a new Elaine May play this past week. I am sure loyalists did not let the play lose money even though the critics did not like it, but there was no buzz. No hit. He must have felt discouraged. With the brilliant Elaine May as the playwright and director he probably thought he had a sure thing.
Now I think there is no question that Raymond has the play, it is good, people like it when they come to see it, but getting the word out via the press is what can kill you. If they don't review it in time, if the public just never learns about it as money runs out, well, this has been the story of theater risk for years, not just today by any means, although there are always today's factors that contribute.
So you know what I told him? Son, come back to Phoenix. You all know I am a playwright, right? You should know it by now as many plays as I have posted up on Youtube, and my idea is that Raymond should return and form another playwrights' co-op. Clifford Odets was a playwright who made it big in the depression from just such an idea. There might even be some grants that could be found for such a thing. I know Raymond learned a lot from his first venture with a theater company. I learned from the formation of that company, too.
I know I wanted a bigger say than I got because the woman who seeded the company at first was not a playwright yet she wanted the biggest say. I thought the talent of the playwrights should have counted for a lot more than it did with her. With irreconcilable differences, Raymond had to walk away from that partner with nothing, leaving her with whatever profit she could take out of it from the purchase of the building, even seeded by other patrons. So we know the wrong partner can be fatal. That was one costly divorce even though he was not married to her. But she drove a very hard bargain when he wanted to split the partnership. Partnerhips with theater are risky. Too much riding on just one other person. And one person can't do all that work.
Raymond might be hit a little too fast with my idea, but we want him here, because we know he understands theater. If you want to do original theater, he is the big kahuna you want involved. He is Mister Playwright himself, having written and produced so many of his own plays and the plays of others!
I am not done thinking a playwrights' co-op coming out of the recession its self would work here. Why the first play I would want to do is this play I found in my closet, the fisherman's play, maybe call it "Fishing, Fightin' with Family, and Love on East Deer Crick." Doc might even find that becoming a lead actor for this co-op would be worth sobering up for. Doc has got a very good head on his shoulders, if he could decide something was worth doing. This idea, I am sure, is big enough. Because he won't be an asset even in the building if he is drunk. I will have to go down and run this idea past him.
Because I feel in my bones, Raymond is not done with Phoenix. Austin is hard. He is going to start thinking, hey, I know a thousand people in Phoenix, so it would not be this hard, no matter what.

It is so easy for theater to fail it is not even funny, but if first you don't succeed, here there or anywhere, try again!


Connie said...

Good Luck to Raymond in wherever his endeavors take him..

madcobug said...

Cute picture. I hope things turn out well for Raymond. Helen

Amrita said...

Stopping by to say Hi


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