Monday, January 25, 2010

The Problem With Theatresource

I'm there every day seeing what a mess it's become (and over the last 10 years I've seen quite a few messes, but none on the scale of the present non-management.) Artistically the place is a disaster. We can't get volunteers because organizationally (and artistically) it's such a trainwreck. And, of course, we're in greater debt now than we were when the Artistic Director was pushed out a year ago.

So many people I talk to complain about Theatresource and say "Yeah, I don't bother coming around there anymore." The problem with this is that as the only founding member of Theatresource who's still there every day, I tend to be the only one complaining.

Of course, the absentee Board of Directors won't respond to my emails anymore.

Essentially they have found themselves in the position of "If we ignore Drew, we can continue to do nothing" because rather than complain, everyone else has been simply dropping out.

The shows are getting no support. The Source is close to being openly hostile to theater companies coming in -- the entrance is dark and unfriendly, music is played in the main space while rehearsals (and even shows) are going on because the manager "needs to hear it" while she "works". I see these poor actors trying to work on lines and such while irritating techno hip-hop has to be played all day long. The space is frequently without anyone on duty, but unlocked and just left open. Security is apparently of no concern whatsoever. (Or the opposite happens, the incoming theater company is left out in the cold with no one to open the space for them. In November and December that happened six times when I showed up -- although I wasn't coming in early in those two months. So you can imagine how much more often it happens and I wouldn't know.)

But the Board isn't interested in hearing any of this. Which, as far as I know, makes them personally liable if anything goes wrong. In the past we indeed have had crazy people come in, thefts of laptop computers, even assaults. I mean, it's New York City. We should at least look like we're being careful.

In my office in the back we have a camera uploading images to a server, but that really only tells me if anybody is messing around with my stuff.

And all of this is too bad. The In-genious Festival, which is a surviving remnant of the previous Artistic Director's legacy, is a popular festival. There are some excellent writers involved in it. The production this year is an utter mess. I mean, we've had we've had exciting crazytime festivals before, but this is just a mess brought on by passivity and nonchalonce on the part of the "Producing Artist" who is by far the least competant (and, honestly, the least caring) General Manager that Theatresource has ever had.

My feeling is that most of the old regular volunteers and people who used to make Theatresource was it was are just "waiting it out". They figure the present regime can't hold on forever. I would really rather not wait it out. I would really rather go forward. It sure felt like we were going forward until now.

So please, if you are feeling all "O forget this place" don't. Sure, I'm being ignored, and the management is filled with dissimulation galore (good luck finding out what the balance sheet is by our new Executive Director). But if you want what Theatresource was for 9 years you simply have to start complaining to the ED and the Board (complaining to the General Manager will simply result in her blaming a volunteer, whatever volunteer is convenient -- and she certainly won't mention it to anyone who might have the power or interest in firing her.)

2 comments:

Melissa Riker said...

Dearest Drewful -
Your posts make me so sad & create many questions...
I'm sorry I had to leave so quickly from the Source last night, there was space drama at NYR (surprising.) and I had a rehearsal starting in 15 minutes.
Lets have some chocolate and talk about all of these things. Soon please.

Andrew Bellware said...

Sure thing. You can email me too! Ya got my address. ;-)