Monday, January 17, 2011


We have a branding problem at Theatresource. Back in the day Fiona came up with the best name for a women's festival: Estrogenius. OK, that's pretty funny and it's catchy.
Soon we had Homogenius, Juniorgenius, InGenius, EthnoGenius, and now TestoGenius.

Now, I love a lot of the guys doing the TestoGenius festival but I have to say the name? Ugh. And why?

OK, so I'm going to start from a position which goes against the current orthodoxy about women in theater. The first year we produced Estro, Theatresource really needed to produce Estro. But that's not because of the lack of female playwrights on Broadway. We have nothing to do with the Broadway system. Exactly one of our shows in 10 years went to Broadway (and then only for a couple months). We are not a feeder institution to Broadway or even Off-Broadway.

We needed Estro to bring more women into Theatresource becuase otherwise there were a LOT of straight white guys running the place (yes yes, you -- snickering in the back -- we needed a women's festival to bring in more hot chicks for those straight, single men. Are we done? OK, now pay attention.) Leading into that first Estro we had relatively few female playwrights and directors working at Theatresource. After that first Estro (when I counted at one point) we were rolling about 50/50 at Theatresource -- about half the shows were written/directed by women.

So the important part of these festivals was to bring in a group we didn't have at Theatresource before. I think that's why "Homogenius" failed -- it's not like gays are underrepresented in theater. Plenty o'gays, everywhere. We're fine.

JuniorGenius? Brilliant. Keep up the good work. Bring youngins into a professional environment. They love it. Their parents will buy lots of tickets. It looks good on our CV.

You know who's not a part of our community in proportion to their proportions out there in New York? African Americans, Asians, and Latinos. And for years there's been talk of AfroGenius or EthnoGenius or something like that although it never got off the ground.

But TestoGenius? Why don't we make it just part of InGenius? Or call it "Uncle Vinnie's Whiskey Hour". I mean, who wouldn't come to that?

Sorry guys, I just can't even say the words "TestoGenius" without feeling a bit sick to my tum. I feel like we all need those rubber things that hang down from a truck's trailer hitch...

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