From the publisher...

A.S. Waterman

December 2008


Out With the Old

It won't be long until we flip the calendar to a new year. Each new year brings a slew of resolutions and plans, and of course, that's a good thing. However, before we decide where we're going, it helps to take a long look at where we've been, because in many cases we don't want to go back there. Thus, here is TheatreLouisville's end-of-year list entitled "Out With the Old," and we hope it will help all of us "Ring in the New" with better things.

Ars Myopia
On November 23, The Courier-Journal published an article by Andrew Adler, bemoaning a supposed lack of variety in holiday offerings. As I pointed out in my online rebuttal, he apparently didn't look very hard. There's Alley Theater of Louisville: O' Santa's Beard Where Art Thou; Bunbury Theatre: Christmas Belles; Hayswood Theatre: The Butterfingers Angel, Mary and Joseph, Herod the Nut, and the Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree; Shelby County Community Theatre: Over the River and Through the Woods; and WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theater: A Christmas Carol Murder. And that's just in theatre. Wonderful holiday and non-traditional offerings are also available from The Louisville Chorus, Locust Grove, local art galleries and much more. But if one keeps looking only at the same things, what does one expect to see?

Ars Myopia is thus the first item on our "Out With the Old" list. Journalists, arts fans and the wider community, please take note.

Checking It Only Once
... that is, making a list but not checking it twice. Once again, pettiness has raised its ugly head within the theatre community, with instances of soliciting cast members away from other productions, retaliating against reviewers (and in one extreme case, even against a reviewer's spouse), sending anonymous hate mail, and the like. Such behavior reflects poorly on the entire theatre community, and it poisons the air for all of us.

Let's all think things through before we put our plans into action, checking and rechecking our lists, and then checking our knee-jerk reactions at the door. To paraphrase Scrooge, out upon ill will! It never should have come in, in the first place.

Mi, Mi, Mi
By that, I mean the "me first" principle, not the vocal exercise. (Actually, I love opera.)

Stuff happens, and sometimes people may find themselves truly unable to fulfill the commitments they've made. There is such a thing as being too ill to perform, or having a personal or family emergency. It goes without saying that producers and directors should always have a Plan B — and, ideally, Plans C and D. Yet during this busy season, when productions overlap as well as super-size, it may be difficult enough to fill out a single cast and crew, let alone one with understudies and backup.

Wouldn't it be great if theatre groups could loan understudies and off-season performers as easily as they exchange a bit of costuming or props? And even more so if theatre groups would communicate that option to one another? Maybe Theatre B doesn't have an actor who's a very quick study and who fits the physical parameters needed by Theatre A ... but then again, maybe it has, or better still, someone who has played the role in a previous production. (Occasionally, our tendency to choose the same plays does work to our advantage.) I have seen it happen, and I've seen it make the difference between a thriving production and a financial catastrophe.

In theatre, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. If we are the ones who must unavoidably exit too early, let's do everything we can to help those who remain on the other side of that door. If we are responsible for a production, let's share, offer and communicate. And whoever we are, let's sweep the insular mentality out with the trash.

Okay, Now Break a Leg
Please send us your candidates for the "Out With the Old" list. We'd love to publish them. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all who have sent us feedback and comments throughout our two years of publication. You have helped us to get better, and in so doing, have helped the entire theatre community.

Best wishes to all for a very happy and successful season!

— A.S. Waterman

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Copyright © 2008 A.S. Waterman. All rights reserved.

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Artwork and text are copyright © 2006 and 2016 A.S. Waterman.
All rights reserved.