Theatre and a Budget

I love being home.  I spent the whole evening in my apartment, sitting on the sofa in my underwear watching TV.  I had the air conditioner on, a Diet Coke in one hand and the remote in the other and was loving every minute of it.  I do have to admit that it didn’t take long for me to land on HGTV.  I become mesmerized by watching three designers make over a room.  Or a single mom look for her new house.  Or watching the young couple redo their kitchen.  As I’ve said before it’s like a car accident and I just can’t turn away.

I was watching HGTV when my roommate got home tonight.  He’d seen the Simpson’s movie and we spent the first half hour he was home laughing about are favorite parts.  My very favorite part of the movie is the nudity.  In case some of you haven’t seen it I won’t tell you the details, but suffice it to say I was on the floor laughing hysterically.  My favorite line from the movie is:  Look at that, you can see the four states that border Springfield: Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky!  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must.

After we discussed the movie we began discussing the lottery.  It’s Chuck’s and my dream that between the two of us, one of us will win the lottery and we’ll finally be able to move downtown, back into civilization.  Some place with a park view, a doorman, a state of the art kitchen, and some outdoor space.  I know it’s asking a lot.  But 115 million would go a long way toward heading us in that direction.   But until then, I’ll just be happy that I have my own bedroom with that queen’s sized bed you’ve heard so much about.

We actually sat up and talked for a long time tonight.  I don’t even remember how it started but we chatted about how much money it would take to start our own theatre company.  Realistically.  Not the, let’s do it the hard way method.  But the how much money would it take to pay everyone, get the sets and costumes designed and built, the lights hung and focused, royalties paid and a little money left over for marketing method.  I actually met my roommate when he was running a theatre company and he definitely knows what he’s talking about.  His round figure for what it would take was somewhere around 200,000 dollars.  And that’s just to get started, and that’s only if the space to perform in already existed and didn’t need any work.  Sounds like a lot of money to me, for a venture that might not pan out, and there’s no way to make back the money you spend.  We figured if we sold out 100% of the tickets every night for five weeks at a ticket price of 20 bucks we’d only clear around 37,000 dollars for the run of the show.  The 200,000 bucks was for 4 shows and if you can do simple arithmetic you can see replenishing the money won’t be done from ticket sales.  Now we have to start talking about fundraising, corporate sponsors, private donations, and begging.  Suddenly the job just became that much more difficult.

And why would we want to do this.  Well my friend Michelle in Maine has been talking about it, I think as a way to get me work.  It’s very kind of her.  Chuck and I were talking about it, and I’ve had the same conversation with a classmate of mine, so that we can produce the quality work that we want and actually have the time to make it good.  For example the show I designed today, we did in 3 hours.  Three hours of tech is nothing in the big scheme of things.  A large regional theatre musical gets about 104 hours of tech.  Even a non musical play at that size gets about 52 hours.  And yet I was trying to create art in 5 minutes with two flash lights and a torch.  And why was I trying to do this.  Well, because it’s what I do.  And at the end of the day it’s better than sitting in an office.  Although, I do have to admit the pay sucks and the benefits are worse.  But I mean really, do I need health insurance?  My appendix has already burst.  It can’t happen again.

So trying to get original works or even established works off the ground in NYC is hard to get done because it’s so cost prohibitive.  You can’t afford the rehearsal space.  You can’t afford the performance space.  You can’t afford the designers, the actors (at least not the good ones) you can’t afford nor is their space to build the scenery and costumes.  The lighting equipment available in most of the NYC spaces that are available if you can afford them, was bought in 1902 before the invention of electricity.  And yet everyday a trillion people get up and try to make it happen.  And I applaud them.  I’m just not so sure I want to be a part of them any more.  I don’t want to do theatre on a shoestring.  I don’t want to tech shows in 3 hours.  I don’t want to have to use someone else’s space and equipment.  I want to create my own art, with the people that I know and trust.

And so how do we make this happen.  Well, we start by playing the lottery.  Once again, is this realistic?  Probably not, but the way I see it, it can’t hurt.  For now,  I keep having conversations about it.  And one day in the not so distant future, I’ll get up off my ass and finally do something realistic to make this happen.  In the meantime, I’m looking for work or donations.  I prefer work, unless the donations are in the thousands.  At which point email me and I’ll tell you where to send the check.

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3 thoughts on “Theatre and a Budget

  1. Scott-O-Rama August 12, 2007 / 08:52

    You can’t win the lottery because *I’m* going to win the lottery. It’s my retirement plan.

    P.S. I really like this WP theme.

  2. Scotty August 12, 2007 / 11:55

    sounds like a big undertaking. I wish i had the means the gumption to do something like that. My partner and i would like to open a small gay bar in ou r small hometomw and we LALWAYS talk about it but i doubt we ever will.

  3. Donnie August 12, 2007 / 18:49

    I really love the new blog layout. It’s so clean, crisp, and spacious! 😉

    Wow…..that’s a lot of “grown-up” talk about the theater. He’s hoping you actually win the lottery and get the chance to shine!

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