Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hello, ATL

So far, in my brief time in Atlanta I have held back from calling it "The ATL" and I think that's just better for everyone. I don't think I ever want to call it that out loud, but I seem to always want to write it as "the ATL." You know, so you know I'm down with the vibrant ATL hip hop scene. Sorry.

Anyway, I'm in Atlanta for the second time ever (the first time involved performing in a murder mystery for Worldcom pre-scandal)! For some reason, I have met more people from the Atlanta theatre scene than many other places (Hello Megan, Freddie, Sean, Jasson, and now more!) There seems to be some sort of connection between California and Georgia. I'm not sure I can explain that right now, but I have always been intrigued by the theater scene here and happy to get a little dab of it.

I'm seeing Colorado at Dad's Garage (as would be suggested above). Firstly, in my brief, um, less than a day's time exposure to the theater, I must say that it is awesome. Here are some the reasons:
  • Tin Roof - (apparently less awesome in certain weather)

  • Feels like a down n dirty speakeasy, where you could gamble, get in a fight, drink too much, and see a play.

  • Buckets of beer for sale

  • Great taste in play selection

  • Play at 8. Improv at 10:30

  • Unpretentious

  • Generous

  • Audience demographics where I'm not the youngest person in the room, and may even be older than the median age. OK, I might be around the median. Buckets of beer unite all ages!

  • Artistic director, Kate Warner, makes amazing scones.

There are other reasons, but it's just fun to step into a theater environment and feel "oh they got it going on here. This is the future of theater." I don't mean that in a grandiose way, but it's a vibe around the theater and plays that makes it feel accessible, welcome, and appealing to a diversity of crowds. I feel really lucky to have worked with some great theatres that are reaching non-subscriborial audiences. I was talking with Kate and she raised the point that for theatre to reach young (or any new) audiences, you have to go beyond just marketing a specific "youth-positive" pieces and make the entire building welcome at any time.

[A big part of this welcome, I think, is tickets under 25 bucks. (and if you let beer in the theatre, you can bolster the sales even more) Let's see more 10 pound seasons in the US! C'mon corporate America, step up, underwrite seasons! ]

OK Enough of that.

Most importantly, the production of Colorado here kicks ass, if I don't say so myself. It's a superb cast that gets the comedy and keeps the characters identifiable and real. It's wonderfully directed, paced and toned perfectly, and the right audience to enjoy it! I'm thrilled to be produced here. Boo yeah!


Anonymous tim said...

Have you noticed that the theaters that seem to do the "youth audience" thing right often have an improv component?

I haven't been able to put my finger on it, but there's something about the way an improv group cultivates an audience that's different and often better than what theaters do. Beyond serving food and allowing beer (which I think is a huge thing, by the way), there's something about the accessibility of the performers or the less-rarified atmosphere.

When I was doing improv back in Austin, we always took pains to make the experience fun from the moment people walked in the door. Music, food, beer, performers mingling with the crowd and talking to people before the show.

Compare that to most theaters, where you're greeted by an 80-year-old usher, the room is dark and quiet, and it feels like you're in church.

Anyway, congratulations on working with Dad's Garage. Those guys rock, and your play seems a perfect fit. Hoorah!

11:48 AM  
Blogger pnachtrieb said...

Yes, for some reason improv or sketch is a more welcoming format. Maybe because it's comedy? And there's beer.

I guess the trick is finding the medium where you can still mount work that can be interesting/diverse/challenging (whatever that means), but doesn't scare people away from going. I guess it's a more global problem of how we perceive art in this country. A false dichotomy between something being entertaining and something being sacred preciously artistic?

i'm rambling, need more coffee

7:34 AM  
Blogger meeegan said...

That dichotomy is at the center of a documentary film a friend of mine is making. You're on to something!

And congratulations on COLORADO's happy stay at Dad's. :-)

1:38 PM  

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