How American Theatre saved american theatre
American monologuist and regional theatre reform advocate Mike Daisey has thrown down a blistering response to Theatre Communications Group executive director Teresa Eyring’s How Theatre Saved America, which was published in the current issue of American Theatre.
Eyring argues that the current repertory model in the U.S. is in fine working order:
“Many actors – instead of performing in several shows with a single theatre company in the same season – construct year-round employment by performing in different theatres throughout the year.”
“If actors manage to create community and continuity IN SPITE OF the institutions, no credit for that reflects back on theaters that refuse to support artists in a meaningful fashion: with staff positions, with health insurance, with a modicum of respect and dignity earned by working craftsman anywhere. Dribs and drabs of roles given when artists can jump for them are no substitute for real institutional support, and to claim otherwise is absurd.”
Daisey ends with a challenge to the magazine to devote an entire issue to the concerns raised in his hit monologue, How Theatre Failed America, opening its pages to “informed bloggers and theatrical luminaries.”
University of North Carolina drama professor and oft-quoted theatre blogger Scott Walters agrees enthusiastically with the suggestion, here.
What do you think? Are theatre’s regional institutions looking out for the artists? Or are they simply working to preserve their own outdated apparatus?