It’s a CREATIVE business

I returned to my alma mater, Hampshire College, last night, and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to offer alumni support to performance artist Peggy Shaw, who has released a new anthology book. I discovered that her troupe, Split Britches, has developed a WordPress site and performance archive right here.

On a personal level, seeing the breadth and rapt attention of the student audience assembled in the Red Barn, where I once performed my final Hampshire theatrical production, reminded me of creativity and enthusiasm and their important role in the theatre business. It may seem obvious to note, but I feel that those goals are something that (I) someone might lose sight of in the professional theatre world, where the focus is often on what the production might do for the (company’s) revenue, and for the freelancing artists, if and where the next gig is coming.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

Where’s the love for the independent art? The art that speaks to people and where the personal investment of the cast and crew shines through? I’m sure it is there, somewhere, and I want to find it again. Not to forget about it.

On that business side, I’m reminded of the musical Curtains, which I saw in 2010 at PCPA Theaterfest and even features a song about the theatre business – excerpted below.

CARMEN:
BUT LET’S FACE IT YOUR COLORATURA SUCKS BAMBI,
THOUGH IT BREAKS YOUR MOTHER’S HEART,
FORGET ABOUT THE PART,
IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO KNOW
WHY I REALLY BACKED THIS SHOW.

YOU ASK ME FOR MY MOTIVES
WELL, YOU NEEDN’T BE SO SMART,
IT’S A BUSINESS.
IT ISN’T MAKING HISTORY,
IT ISN’T MAKING ART,
IT’S A BUSINESS.

SHAW AND IBSEN TAKE ‘EM AWAY,
AND DON’T BOTHER ME WITH MOLIERE,
THOSE RUSSIANS NEVER PAY.

SO GO ON CRITICISE ME,
PLEASE, PROCEED WITH YOUR ATTACK,
IT’S A BUSINESS
I PUT ONE MILLION IN
AND I EXPECT TWO MILLION BACK,
IT’S A BUSINESS

SO, WHAT CRIME HAVE I COMMITTED
IF I’ PUTTING UP A FIGHT
IT’S A BUSINESS

AND I WANT THOSE PAYING SUCKERS
OUT THERE GIVING ME THE BUSINESS
EVERY NIGHT

CARMEN:
Am I getting through to you Elaine?

BAMBI:
I’m sorry mother but to me the theatre is a temple

CARMEN:
What so it should only be filled on Shabbat? Give me a hand fellas.
(they clap) Very funny. You know what I mean back me up.

CARMEN:
THE NOT FOR PROFIT THEATRES
DON’T NEED TO TURN A BUCK
THAT’S NOT BUSINESS

GUYS:
THAT’S NOT BUSINESS

CARMEN:
SO GIVE THEM LYSASTRATA
AND I WISH THEM LOTS OF LUCK
I DO BUSINESS

GUYS:
SHE DOES BUSINESS

CARMEN:
DORKY SCHMORKY
MONEY MISSPENT
YOU WON’T SURVIVE YOM KIUPPUR
YOU’LL NEVER GET THROUGH LENT

I ONCE KNEW A PRODUCER
WHOSE PROTENSION KNEW NO BOUNDS
IN THE BUSINESS

GUYS:
IN THE BUSINESS

CARMEN:
HE MOUNTED SAMUEL BECKETT
I DON’T MEAN IT LIKE IT SOUNDS
IT WAS BUSINESS

GUYS:
IT’S WAS BUSINESS

CARMEN:
SO NOW HE’S DOWN THE CRAPPER
WHILE I’M WORKING IN MY PRIME
IT’S A BUSINESS

GUYS:
IT’S A BUSINESS

CARMEN:
AND THE SHOWS I DO DO BUSINESS
CAUSE I REALLY KNOW MY BUSINESS
AND I’M GIVING THEM THE BUSINESS, HONEY
ALL THE TIME

BAMBI:
But what about the great poets of the stage

CARMEN:
Honey I put on the ice man cometh and nobody cameth

CARMEN:
TO STAGE HANDS
TO THE DRESSERS
TO MUSICIANS IN THE PIT
IT’S A BUSINESS

GUYS:
IT’S A BUSINESS

CARMEN:
THE OWNER OF THIS PREMESIS CLEANS UP IF WE’RE A HIT
HE’S IN BUSINESS

GUYS:
HE’S IN BUSINESS

CARMEN:
UNION WORKERS DON’T WORK FOR FREE
HEY HARRY ON THE SPOTLIGHT
BLINK TWICE IF YOU AGREE

See!

I’M NOT DEVOPID OF CULTURE
BUT MY FEET ARE ON THE FLOOR
IT’S A BUSINESS

GUYS:
IT’S A BUSINESS

CARMEN:
I DO THE KARMA SUTRA
WITH A RICHARD ROGERS SCORE
THAT’S GOOD BUSINESS

GUYS:
IT’S A BUSINESS

CARMEN:
YES GREEN’S MY FAVORITE COLOR,
AND I DON’T MEAN ON THE GRASS
IT’S A BUSINESS

GUYS:
IN A BUSINESS

CARMEN:
AND THE SHOWS I DO DO BUSINESS,
YES I’M GOOD AT DOIN’ BUSINESS,
AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY BUSINESS SWEETIE,

BLOW IT OUT YOUR…

GUYS:
IT’S A BUSINESS

CARMEN:
BUSINESS

ALL:
IT’S A BUSINESS
IT’S A BUSINESS
IT’S A BUSINESS

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About JP

Once upon a time, there was a boy from New England. He grew up with a sense of adventure, loving to travel around the Northeast region. He could always count on the presence of a Buddhist community in his family and friends. Later, those interests merged. His sense of adventure continued to grow, expanding across Europe and then back the other direction across the USA.

Posted on February 9, 2012, in Theatre. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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