Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The August of Theatresource

So wait, there's a financial emergency at Theatresource?
That's what I hear.
Why isn't everyone screaming to the high heavens about it? Isn't that what they usually do?
Well, probably because I'd make fun of them.
I hear grumblings about you, too. Like there's stuff you say that's wrong.
Yeah? Ever hear anything specific about what I was wrong about?
Uh. No.
There's a reason for that.
So wait, what's the deal here?
Well we weren't paying SUI and disability to the State of NY for a while.
Was this when Jim was here?
Yes, and for sometime after.
Just gimme the final number. How much could we be hit with?
Realistically? I'd say you could whine and complain and get them down to about $20K.
Would you bet on that?
Er. No.
That's awesome.
But the best part is that we get to continue to blame Jim for stuff that happened a year and a half ago.
I don't really understand how we could have ever assumed that they weren't employees in the first place.
Yeah, no labor lawyer would have passed that malarky.
What about SSI and State and Federal Taxes?
As far as I know we could still be kittywhumped by them even now for our present "employees".
So what's the Board saying about Theatresource?
That it be closed by January.
I think I've heard that before.
Second verse, same as the first.
What about this new advisory board, what is it saying?
Well, the big problem is that we don't have producers coming in and putting on shows. Back in the day those folks used to be a dime a dozen.
Do they just not exist anymore?
I don't think that's the case, they're just not here anymore.
Why do you think?
Well one really obvious difference between the way the place is run now and the way it was run before (especially under Daryl and somewhat less so under Lanie, but not substansively -- it's just that Daryl was very extreme about it like he was on a Mission from God) is the friendliness toward strangers coming in the door. Leaving the doors closed, keeping it dark during the day, those sorts of things discourage people from coming in, which discourages them from wanting to volunteer or to produce shows.
I heard they said essentially that at the Advisory Board Meeting.
That's my understanding, yes.
And this is all because we're losing so much money by having dark nights -- like dark-long weeks. We've never had that before.
Not 'till the past year. Yeah, under Lanie -- Daryl used to complain that there were dark flopnights. Little did he know how much worse it could be with whole dark weeks.
Dark... weeks? How are we meeting any of our financial obligations this way?
Well, we got a grant for the Writer's Forum but used the money for general expenditures. And then charged the Writer's forum to do their show and come up with a budget.
Oh, right, and there was something else.
We also got some tax money refunded.
OK. So what's the big emergency?
Theatresource didn't pay SUI and disability.
Those can't cost too much.
They don't -- if you file them even remotely on time, but we didn't. So now there's all kinds of penalties.
And that's the number that's between 20 and 50 thousand dollars.
Aye. That it is, son.
Will that mean Ground Up will just move in and take over?
There will be a veritable fire sale. They certainly could. Or someone like them. I don't actually think anyone would know what's going to happen 5 months out.
Yeah, but would they want to?
There's a million dollar question. One issue which has plagued Theatresource is that it's a 50-seat theater in an $8000/month property. We have a lot of what is essentially wasted space in this building -- space which simply can't generate any reasonable amount of revenue.
Except for your studio.
Ha! Yes, except for that.
So, is this "closing the doors in January" thing official?
No, not at all. And of course, even when it is, it isn't.
For the last year the quality of the theater we've been producing has fallen... fallen...
Into the abyss. I know. At least the stuff we produce in-house. We're not very good at the physical act of producing anymore, much less as an arbiter of what should be produced. The Writer's Forum has tried to address that but has been having a very hard time dealing with the Board.
It's been in that place of darkness visible before.
Yes, it has. Not necessarily for this long, but we have crawled ourselves out of it before.
Do you think we can do that with present management?
Look into my eyes and ask me that question again.

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