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July 11, 2008

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Scott Walters

Yes, Andrew, I read "The World Is Flat," too. You are talking about finding a way to "make it" in the world as it exists; Mike and I are saying the system is broken, consequently it is self-destructing, and the only way to save it is to change it. Mike has figured out a way to make it, which is good for him, but he is interested in making it good for more people.

I am interested in the health of the art form, which is based on the health of the artists in the art form. And what I see is a system that flushes out people just when they are developing understanding, wisdom, and quality. But they give it up, because they get tired of not having a real life, they get tired of worrying about the appendicitis that they don't have health insurance to cover, they get tired of working a day job and then doing theatre. And so they think: shit, I could live a better life doing something else; or else they think: I'd really like to make a contribution before I die, I think I'll become a special education teacher (a real life example from a very talented friend of mine who gave up after 25 years of going at it).

This isn't a game, it is lives. And it is about an art form on its last legs.

RebeccaZ

It's SO not on its last legs, my friends. C'mon. After business, the arts are what current college students are enrolling in the most.

I like the blackjack analogy because it gets down to brass tacks and I think it's quite an accurate description.

Life is a game, in my humble opinion. Artists choose to play the hand they're dealt and spin their wheel and place their bet. So does everyone.

Don Hall

And it is about an art form on its last legs.

Wow. That's just about the most arrogant hyperbole I recall reading anywhere...

Rex Winsome

A certain kind of theatre is on it's last legs. The theatre that depends on donations from faux aristocrats is dying as the faux aristocrats grow old and die.

Mike and Scott are saying that major changes need to happen. If you look at it one way their problem is that arts administrators are focusing on bleeding those soon-to-be-corpses dry rather than recruiting new audiences by nurturing the talent of the artists.

Don and Andrew seem to be saying those changes CAN'T be made.

I'm saying the changes are already happening, and they are more radical than the return to the regional theatre system that Mike is looking for and more actual than the theories Scott is talking about. Scratch the surface a bit and you'll find that there's a rich underground art scene that might not be providing health insurance or living wages either, but unlike the institutional model, it's growing, and it's radically different enough that it can turn Don and Andrew's world upside down.

Mike Daisey

I'm not advocating a return to the regional theater system in such a straightjacketed way, and nothing that's happening underground precludes change on an institutional level.

Also, I responded to the post here:

http://www.mikedaisey.com/2008/07/i-sometimes-speak-at-futurist.sht

Rex Winsome

Mike, i agree, there's nothing mutually exclusive about reforming the big institutions and fulmenting revolution in the underground, the two can work together. I think the underground revolution is going to eclipse any surface reform, but i'm not so stubborn as to push compromisers into the marsh because, I might be wrong. All solutions should be applied at once, whatever sticks creates a foundation for whatever comes next. None of us need to succeed individually for all of us to succeed collectively.

I'm sorry if my understanding of what you're advocating is inaccurate. I haven't been able to see the show and have hodge podged my understanding of your view together based on what is available on your blog and elsewhere.

RVCBard

FWIW, I think "Andrew's" name is Adam.

Scott Walters

I have nothing against any theatre that provide creative activity and don't provide a living wage and health insurance. Historically, such theatres have been the ones that were catalysts for change. My focus, however, is on the development of a model that does pay a living wage and health insurance. As you note, these are not mutually exclusive.

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