So Little Rock, apparently another Kaufman-Hart Prize Winning new COMEDY , Bertrand Priest is up and running at the REP, see the Times story on it, and audiences are not very forthcoming. Running well under normal ticket sales, one has to wonder where all the "theater" folk are when local theaters aren't doing stale productions of Annie, A Christmas Carol or Our Town. Your children don't need to be in a show for you to go see it, be an adult, go out without them once in awhile. For the love of all that is live entertainment, get off your butt and go see something that doesn't have "extended scenes" or "director's commentary". I can understand Bible belters getting offended during a sex scene in Angels in America or something, but they do realize it's a play right? There's obviously somekind of artistic expression or bigger message to it, it's not... I don't know....the Chippendales or Thunder from Down Under [which I'm sure will sell out, filled with tons of church going ladies who don't even know the way to the Rep, sigh...]
And if low attendance for a show that has won the most valuable of all playwriting awards in the nation, an award that should be considered a jewel in the Little Rock and Arkansas cultural crowns, isn't enough, people are walking out, "offended", by some of the language.....[sigh]....really? Seriously, this is how it's going to be? Are we going to continue to be a society that doesn't separate vulgarity from art? So there are four letter words in the show, I don't think there's anything worse than what will be in Die Hard 4.0: Die Hard or Die or whatever they're calling it, but I'm sure people will turn out in droves to that. The language isn't any worse than what you hear in the little league ball park stands from parents, at a Razorback game from Hog Fans or at your local watering hole. Maybe it's the intimate setting of a theater, maybe the fact you're not wildly drunk on booze, Hog sports or your 7 yr. old's playing time, I don't know, but people love to make a big deal about walking out of a theater. It's some words that are part of a larger narrative, you will not go to hell for watching a play, you may feel like you are there during the performance, but you will not be damned for all eternity.
People, love it or hate it, the Arkansas Repertory Theater is a nationally recognized live, professional theater, that with a little more public support, [and I don't mean people who write big checks that the write off on their taxes, though that helps and you should spread some of that cheese around to the other strugglin theater groups in town, I mean the general, working stiff public, that once only had live theater to look forward to and now need to put their behinds in the seats.] No matter if you are a postal worker, a crane operator, a doctor or a barrista at Starbucks, live theater and the cultural and social experience it creates should be part of your life throughout the year. And yes, just like eating at a new restaurant, you aren't always going get exactly what you expected and sometimes you'll have to stop at Wendy's for a snack after, but at least you've tried something different and helped keep live, local, non-cookie cutter-mediocre-staged-national-tours at Robinson, productions in central-Arkansas alive.
Shame on all of us, Little Rock, for not supporting creativity, diversity and a national honor in our own backyard. Word around the campfire is the award is probably on the way out due to lack of response to the productions of the show....shame....shame....shame....and yes, I have reservations to see it and I don't plan to walk out when language you hear on The Shield and MTV's The Hills is used.....[shaking fist at all Central Arkansans]
* I say all of this without seeing the show. It may very well be a piece of crap, I doubt it, but it could be, I will report back on that. The point is, crap or not, without live theater there would be no movies, television, youtube, ShrekVIII, Will Ferrell, etc. So get out there and see some... I have got to start doing my theater POSTS, posts, posts! Look, I used the right word, not "blog" the whole thing is a blog, individual entries are "posts", I learning sen-sei....
LOCAL LIVE THEATERS: (off the top of my head, if I missed your favorite, firstname.lastname@example.org)