At a TJ staff meeting months ago, Ari asked, ‘what kind of theater do you want to have?’ The question has really stuck with me. The point of that discussion was on continuing our hard work on making the artists who join us, actors, designers, tech, everyone, making them all feel comfortable and have a good working experience. And it’s a great question to keep in mind. Who do you want to be? How do you treat your workers?
I’ve had the question in mind as I spend time with Forum Theatre. We are still putting it together, no full time staff, show to show we struggle to get it done. We are hardly at the point when we start focusing on ‘who we want to be?’ we have yet to have that power. But knowing, and I know, that Judas will be a success, and knowing we have it in us to keep working, creating art and discussions we are passionate about. I have the feeling it won’t be long before that question becomes a serious one.
Theater is hard. The Arts are difficult. The economy is hideous. And the mark of a person, in my mind, is how they respond, how they hold up. How they take care of those around them rather than just the bottom line. The point I’m trying to make is that I know who I don’t want to be.
New York Theatre Workshop, a great company that has been putting out new and controversial work, just made it to my no-freakin-way list. The blogs have been buzzing since ecotheater discovered a few days ago that, in an effort to cut a million dollars from their budget, NYTW fired their entire production staff. They fired people who have been with them for decades, they have fired the hard working, they fired people even when they had just finished building new costume and set shops for them! The New York Times reports on it today, saying that instead of having full time staff they will hire on a show by show basis. They are taking full time jobs away from 6 people and instead creating overhire positions, which I’m guessing are not incredibly well paying. This whole thing really disgusts me. Yes, cut costs, sure, but find a way to do it without spitting on people who have worked hard.