Sunday, November 20, 2011

Theater Companies

So this show, She Kills Monsters, got a good New York Times review.
The Flea are kind of an interesting company. They have a resident company, the Bats, who (it is my understanding) aren't really told when they audition that if they get into the company they'll be expected to volunteer some number of hours each week y'know, cleaning floors and stuff. Other than my obsession with being incredibly up-front with people about things, The Bats seem like a good model for a theater company.
Here's the thing with being a company in New York doing extended runs of shows with (to the producer) reasonable (read: $25) ticket prices. You really have to be non-Equity. What I mean by this is that the producer simply cannot sign an Equity contract.
You cannot do a long run under a Showcase code contract. Showcase code only provides for performances:
Up to 12 within four consecutive  weeks. At least half of the total
number must be presented on a weekday (Monday through Friday) and in no event may
there be more than one two-performance day per week
Step Option:  4 additional performances may be added at a stipend of $10 per member
plus minimum transportation, per performance  
So you can't do an extended run. Nor can you do, for instance, every Friday and Saturday night for 12 weeks.
In addition, the ticket price is limited:
(i) Up to $18, TDF voucher acceptable
Now note that the Producer is incapable of making a pile of filthy lucre on any off-off-Broadway show. The best any producer can do is to not take a bath on the show. So we're not worried here about actors being given the shaft while the producer is in a hot tub smoking a cigar and playing with those heavy gold chains producers invariably wear around their necks.
Where is my gold chain, by the way?
But in addition to that, it's my feeling that Actor's Equity is harmful to theater in New York City. This is part of why I think Chicago has more interesting and innovative theater. But that's for another time.

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