Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mass Legislature Forms Cultural Caucus

From a press release from the Mass Cultural Council:

Elected officials created the first Cultural Caucus in the Massachusetts Legislature today to advance an agenda to harness the assets of Massachusetts’ $4 billion cultural sector and help the state’s economy recover from recession.

The Cultural Caucus drew more than a dozen Senators and Representatives from every region of the Commonwealth, who voted to elect Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz of Boston and Rep. Smitty Pignatelli of Lenox as Co-Chairs, at the State House. Chang-Díaz already serves as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development; Pignatelli is a member of the Committee. Rep. John Keenan of Salem, the Joint Committee’s House Chair, organized the Caucus. See a short video of the Caucus here.

“The arts, humanities, and sciences are central to our economic vitality in Massachusetts,” said Chang-Díaz, who is also a member of the Joint Committee on Education. “They also contribute significantly to the quality of our schools and the life of our communities. The Cultural Caucus will give us a chance to broaden and deepen support for this vital sector in the Legislature as we face continued budget challenges in the year ahead.”

Funding Versus Investing

Ashley Rindsberg in an essay for the Huffington Post:

Don't get me wrong, there is a cultural force in America that produces painting, cinema, music, and literature. But in no sense is it ours. Culture today is owned, operated and, in the final analysis, enforced by a profit structure. All things equal (to speak in native economic terms), this shouldn't be a problem. Art needs money, creators of culture also have to eat. But today, the wealthy and powerful no longer fund art and culture; they invest in it. And they expect their returns.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Feature? Theatre Moment of the Week

So, maybe I'll start a new little feature in which I talk about a moment in a currently running production that seemed to stand out for some reason or other.

This week comes from Company One's production of Tracey Scott Wilson's The Good Negro, which is playing at the BCA Plaza Theatre.

The play is a semi-fictionalized account of Doctor Martin Luther King's struggles in Birmingham. If you know the history of King, you'll know that there were struggles with infidelity, and playwright Tracy Scott Wilson doesn't shy away from those issues, (although somebody could contend that by "fictionalizing" King, Wilson is shying away.)

At a crucial moment of the play, in a very intimate moment, The Reverend James Lawrence, played by Jonathan L. Dent, confides in his close associate, Pastor Henry Evans. (Dent is foreground in the above photo, Cliff Odle plays Evans.)

The unspoken issue at hand is philandering and adultery. With a stillness and focus we don't see on stage much anymore, Rev. Lawrence asks his friend, "Why can't I stop?"

With the whole world watching, this man knows he needs to be beyond reproach - he needs to fly straight. But he is feeling helpless in the face of his...what? Desires, addictions, narcissism, egotism? All of the above?

The play is full gear at this moment. It is a quiet beat, but a moment of self-realization and struggle that one could imagine an intelligent and soulful leader like King actually having.

Have Young Will Travel...

Experimental playwright Young Jean Lee's Lear is igniting critical skirmishes in the Big Apple.

Here is TimeOut New York Critic David Cote:

What I find telling is how many reviews feel the need to compare Lear qualitatively to the great tragedy that inspired it. The inaptness of this tactic is astounding. Lear is not a deconstruction, parody or adaptation of any kind. It’s a new play in dialogue with the classic and our expectations of it (and that’s just in the first hour, really). Its heightened poetic language, compounded with a variety of other rhetorical modes, actually makes it dramaturgically closer to Shakespeare than 90 percent of playwriting out there, but we’ll let that pass. The real way to review it is in the context of Lee’s previous work and the last 20 or so years of stage experimentation.

Meanwhile, Lee's earlier play The Shipment has traveled to Berlin where it is reviewed by a German critic: (Spoiler Alert for those clicking through the extensive review.)

While I did not feel significantly affected emotionally after the show, the evening appears more complex as I think about it more closely. I also perceived a fundamental question -- and a fundamental problem -- in exporting this work to non-American countries. The performance aims at undermining the audience's deeply ingrained prejudicial modes of seeing. Each of the four parts addresses discriminatory perceptions, of which no one can be free, and it is the necessary labor of a meaningful Sisyphus to point them out time and again. The problem with performing such a labor beyond the borders of one's culture is that perceptions of discriminatory perceptions are necessarily very different there.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Will This Gag Ever Get Old?

Scott Says, Enough With the Old Audience Stuff...

Scott Walters at Theatre Ideas says he is a proud part of the "aging" audience:

And that's actually the real problem with this audience: we are smart enough to know BS when we see it. You know why middle-aged, white-haired, middle-class spectators like me aren't rushing out to buy tickets to many new plays? It isn't because you're too "out there," too "radical" for us to appreciate; it's because what you write about is stuff we've already lived through and moved past. We've been to the puppet show and we've seen all the strings. Most of you have little to say that we haven't heard before, and thought about before, and probably lived through before. Being shocked isn't that big of a thrill anymore. Tell us something important about life. Something with some depth and complexity. Something with some heart and soul, some deep understanding.

All this conjecturing in Outrageous Fortune about how older audiences don't like "formal experimentation" is nonsense. The fact is that people who are over 60 invented postmodernism, and most of the other formal experiments that are happening were invented in the early 20th century. Are you integrating video into your performance -- Robert Edmond Jones suggested that in The Dramatic Imagination in 1941. Are you experimenting with ambiguous narrative? Akiro Kurosawa was doing that in Rashomon in 1950, and it was onstage in 1959. I could go down the list -- most were invented by the Dadists, Expressionists, Futurists, and Symbolists of the late 19th and early 20th century. How old is Richard Foreman? Seventy-two. Judith Malina? Coming up on eighty-four.

We're down with formal experimentation. but we also are experienced enough to recognize when formal experimentation is just a mask for having little to say, and we're not patient with that anymore. Patience is no longer one of our virtues. Our time is short, and we don't feel like wasting it while you rediscover Absurdism.

Lessons in Self-Producing

From James Comtois:

With our second play, Allston, we once again held auditions but widened our selection pool of actors by putting an ad in Backstage seeking 20something actors. Though we didn't offer any pay for Monkeys, we offered a small stipend of $100 per actor for Allston and foolishly ran the ad for three weeks. I received a total of 2,000 headshots & resumes over the course of about three and a half weeks. I'm not exaggerating. Morals of the story: 1.) Actors aren't scarce in the city, and 2.) If you're going to run an ad in Backstage or craigslist, just run it the one week.

Full Price for 45 Minutes?

From a Chicago Tribune article on the genesis of the O'Neill/Beckett double bill that Brian Dennehy has been performing in Canada and the U.S.:

Penned in 1941 but first performed in 1959 (after the author’s death), “Hughie” is the story of Erie Smith, a Broadway bum with a big mouth who hangs around a flea-pit hotel lamenting the disappearance of the titular desk clerk who was willing to listen to his drunken monologues. Its running time is only 45 to 50 minutes. So when Dennehy persuaded the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, R.I., to produce the show in 2004, he suggested pairing with a Sean O’Casey comedy called “A Pound on Demand.” In that minor bit of O’Casey, a pair of Irish drunks try to stay sober long enough to get some money out of their post office account. It is, to say the least, a play that cashes in on Irish stereotypes. Director Robert Falls, Dennehy’s longtime collaborator, showed up to see it.

“He was appalled,” Dennehy says, grinning at the man seated next to him.

“I told Brian that doing O’Neill with that play only diminished ‘Hughie’,” Falls says. “Brian thought you couldn’t charge full prices for a play 45 minutes long. Sure you can. Audiences are delighted to see a 45 minute play. Plus they are getting to see you, Brian.”

Dennehy snorts.

So when “Hughie” showed up under Falls’ direction in the Owen Theatre at the Goodman in 2004, it was alone on the bill.

I haven't seen this production, but my first reaction is thatHughie might diminish Krapp in the new formula.

Wow - A Churchill Festival

In Winnipeg there will be 11 productions and four readings of the British playwright's work:

Is Caryl Churchill the top girl?

That the British dramatist is the first female to be honoured at the Master Playwrights Festival seems to answer that question, but it is hard to know first-hand because her plays are so rarely done professionally in Winnipeg or in Canada. Locals will have to take it on blind faith that she is the greatest female playwright as ChurchillFest kicks off tonight on three stages and continues through Feb. 7.

Churchill is a bit of a mystery outside the high tower of academe. Her admirers claim she never became enough of a household name to lose her cult status.

The 72-year-old annoyingly lets her 30-play canon speak entirely for itself. She refused to be interviewed for ChuchillFest. In 1987 she broached the subject by saying, "I dislike the feeling of being pinned down as being one thing or another."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Thing I Noticed...

As I make my way, now slowly, through the last decade of theater, I noticed a lack of Boston productions of some of the bigger hits on the TCG lists.

Proof,Doubt, and W;t, for instance, all received a very minimal amount of productions in the area.

Light, of course, dawned and I realized that those shows had high profile touring productions through Boston. So, many, many theatergoers in the area saw those productions.

In this same regard, we probably won't see a production of August; Osage County for a while, as it is also coming through on a post-Broadway tour. Luckily for us, Broadway tours of The Goat and The History Boys never materialized here, so we got to see local actors and directors tackle the parts.

After All My Sons...A Different Drum....

Carl Rossi advocates for something very different...

The Huntington’s magnificent production of Arthur Miller’s ALL MY SONS justifies my long-unspoken belief that Boston’s leading theatre should cease its cautious attempts to keep up with the times and become, instead, a Museum of the American Drama, presenting classic and forgotten American plays from the 1920s to the 1950s --- the old-fashioned three-act, one set, fourth-wall kind, done with taste and strictly in period --- not only would such fare satisfy its Old Guard audiences (who ripple like wheat in the wind over obscenities and nudity), but also artists/lovers of the drama who deserve to see it rather than making do with reading it. No doubt these thoughts will fall on deaf Huntington ears, but I shall bang my drum, openly and evermore, out in the wilderness that this is what the Old Girl can and should do; meanwhile, call its box office, won’t you --- two prominent local actors (NOT imported “names”) brilliantly guided by an acclaimed Miller director should be stimulus, enough. (When the applause that ends Act One sounds like the applause heard at curtain call, you know you’re seeing a winner!)


And I’m serious about the Museum of American Drama --- the proof is in the current pudding.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Aaaaannnd the Most Produced Play?

So far, the most produced PLAYS in Boston in the last decade are.....

The Weir (3)
Picasso at the Lapine Agile (3)
The Cherry Orchard (3)
The Woman in Black (3)

Lots and lots of plays with 2 productions.

So Far....

With my production spreadsheet growing to over 600 productions spanning between the 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 Theatre seasons in Boston, I thought it might be time to give an update on the playwrights in the lead:

Anton Chekhov (12)
Israel Horovitz (11)
Conor McPhereson (8)
Richard Dresser (8)
Harold Pinter (7)
Moliere (6)
Stephen Sondheim (6)
David Mamet (5)
Noel Coward (5)
Theresa Rebeck (5)
Richard Greenburg (5)
George Bernard Shaw (5)
Tom Stoppard (5)
Yasmina Reza (5)

Note: The data is not complete, but includes most of the shows from our Professional Theaters: Huntington, New Rep, Nora, Company One, Merrimack Rep, Stoneham Theatre, Gloucester Stage, Publick Theatre, Speakeasy Stage Company, Trinity Rep etc. For those theaters I have fairly complete information. There are still a good many plays that I don't have the author's names for so I can't really label them fully.

I purposely have not include productions from Actors Shakespeare Company, Boston Playwrights Theatre or Shakespeare and Company. The reason is that when I started this project most of the talk was about excluding Shakespeare because he wins hands down. I, therefore, also excluded Boston Playwrights because they are specifically devoted to new works, much like Playwrights Horizon in New York City.

Another way I broke down the information is by types of plays.

Classic Canon - Plays up until around 1900 - Greeks up to Chekhov,Ibsen, etc
20th Century - Plays after 1900 and up to around the early to mid 1990's.
Contemporary Plays - Plays written from around 1990 up until 2010.

As a note of explanation: David Mamet's Speed the Plow would be labeled 20th Century, but David Mamet's Romance would be contemporary.

I understand that this seems arbitrary - because it is. But I had to draw the line somewhere.

What I tried to do when labeling these productions was use some sort of judgement. As an example: Speakeasy Stage produced a fun, hip version of Craig Lucas's Reckless this past December, but I didn't label it as Contemporary because the play was first produced in 1988. However, if Speakeasy had produced that play in their 1999-2000 season, I would have labeled it Contemporary.

Here is how things breakdown for completed entries:

35 Classic Canon
115 20th Century
392 Contemporary

Let me know if you have any suggestions

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moving Along - Little By Little

Merrimack Repertory helped me out with my compilation of productions in Boston from the last decade. They sent me a detailed spreadsheet with productions, directors and playwrights. As a bonus, the sheet includes notations: World Premiere, Regional Premiere, etc.

I have started to reach out to companies for listings. Some are incomplete on their websites, and some companies have shut their doors.

Working through this project is interesting. I am amazed at how many of these productions I have seen. Frankly, I have forgotten some of them until now seeing them listed. I am even more amazed at how much I have not seen. I am a pretty hardcore playgoer - in a good year I will see up to 150. But so many just slip right past me, and, with the nature of theater being so ephemeral, I will not probably get the chance to see them again.

Also, at this stage of gathering data, there is a small myth I am finding would be hard to perpetuate in the face of the facts - at least for the Boston area.

Over at the Playgoer blog, Garret Eisler discusses Terry Teachout's findings in looking at the TCG data. Teachout came up with a list of most produced plays in the last decade. Most of them were contemporary plays.

Eisler observes:

These are just the plays that likely occupy the "new play slot" in a subscription series. (Except for Glass Menagerie, of course, which I would prefer to just bump down to #11 for argument's sake.) Companies will still splurge on a cast of 10 or 12 for, say, The Crucible--already downsized, of course. But remember that many theatres budget a season based on number of total AEA actors employed. So for every Crucible or Shakespeare you do, you have to balance that with a Proof. And it probably makes more sense in these calculations to splurge for the surefire popular favorite rather than on the new play no one's heard of. (In other words, if you want to do a big new play, like say Farnsworth Shakespeare for you this season!)

I want to unpack this a little bit. First, let's look at the myth that large regional theaters program the "chinese takeout" menu: A Shakespeare, five classics and ONE new play.

The "new play slot", as Garret calls it, seems not to exist as I look over the LORT seasons in the Boston area. I think this is a persistent belief, and one that I held for a long time, too

Taking just a couple of examples from Teachout's list:

The Drawer Boy by Michael Healy

Merrimack Rep produced The Drawer Boy in the 2002-2003 season. That season also included:

Fallen a World Premiere by Craig Warner
Women Who Steal by Carter Lewis (Only two years old.)
The Pavilion by Craig Wright (Also only about a year from its first production.)

When the Huntington Theatre Company produced Rabbit Hole in the 2006-2007 season, they also produced:

Radio Golf by August Wilson - only the second or third production of the play in the country.

Mauritius - a brand new play by Theresa Rebeck.

Persephone - a world Premiere of a new play by Noah Haidle. (He was commissioned.)

To be accurate: Rabbit Hole and Radio Golf played the Mainstage while the Rebeck and Haidle were at the Wimberly.

I could list more instances of this, but I think you get the picture.

Now, as far as cast size I am not so sure that theater companies won't invest in large casts for new plays.

How Shakespeare Won The West at the Huntington Theater Company last year sported a Shakespearean-sized roster. Trojan Barbie by Christine Evans at the American Repertory Theater had a pretty large cast as well. And I would add that even the Bard's productions are reduced overall. It is quite common to have people double and triple cast to fill out a Shakespearean call sheet.

It will be interesting to see how this keeps progressing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quick Update on Compiling the Last Decade

My spreadsheet compiling the last decade of Boston theatre is now approaching 500 productions. I worked on it last night.

It is getting a little harder as some theaters don't have their production history online and some list only the play titles without the authors. So I'll have to go back and fill in some of that information after researching it..

Chekhov is still up there, Moliere is gaining. Conor McPhereson (5), Richard Dresser (6), Harold Pinter (5) and Tom Stoppard (5) have rallied as well. Dresser has a relationship with Merrimack Repertory and they have produced at least four of his plays.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Most Produced Playwrights In Boston?

So, following up on my link to Terry Teachout's column about plays this morning, I learned through Isaac Butler that Rob Weinherdt Kendt has supposedly found a hole in Terry's reasoning.

Rob posts the following on his blog:

This is a misleading conclusion, for a number of reasons. For starters, TCG's Top-10 lists exclude plays by Shakespeare because it's not a fair fight; he handily beats the other playwrights, living or dead, year in and year out. Also, more to the point, Teachout has compiled a list of the Top 10 most-produced shows over a decade, but the way he's worded this litany, it reads as if American theaters have produced "no" productions by these authors at all. "No history, in other words."

There's one other problem: By listing playwrights' names, Teachout exposes another flaw in his data-mining. A thorough list of "most-produced" playwrights over the last 10 years would paint a different picture. Conor McPherson, Sarah Ruhl, and August Wilson would probably be on the list, for starters; so, I daresay, would many of the writers Teachout lists above. Because while each year's Top 10 reflects that year's hottest plays while they're white-hot, it fails to register the hardy warhorses and Streetcars that don't crack the Top 10 but, over the aggregate of 10 years, are likely to outrun the temporary favorites. It also fails to account for authors, new and old, who are too prolific to rise to the top with just one defining play; maybe no single Chekhov or Williams play had as many productions as Wit or Doubt in the 2000s; but I'm willing to bet Teachout a lunch that Chekhov and Williams received more productions than did Margaret Edson or David Auburn.

On my lunch hour, just out of curiosity, I started to go through the seasons of our companies here in Boston for at least the past few years...

In very short order it became overwhelmingly clear that Terry's data appears to bear out. Newer work dominates the last decade.

Rob's point is well taken, but it doesn't appear, at least on what I see for Boston, to be enough to offset Terry's main argument. The names he lists are very rare birds on our landscape in comparison to newer works.

The exception so far is Anton Chekhov. Aside from Shakespeare, Chekhov pretty much rules the last decade. I have only gone through a small number of companies, but he is already hitting almost a dozen productions.

Shaw though less, doesn't fare too badly either. However, Rebeck, Rapp, Jon Robin Baitz, August Wilson and some others aren't THAT far behind.

More to the point though - new and/or newer work is increasingly dominating our stages.

I'll work more on compiling the data as I can, but it may take some time.

As a side note: There are immediately things I run into that can throw things off though.

For instance, the ART had something of a Mamet festival last year, so suddenly you have 5 Mamet plays interjected into the data.

I started compiling the data in a spreadsheet, and I'll continue to do so.

Terry Teachout - On What TCG Numbers Really Tell Us...

Terry Teachout, Drama Ctitic for the Wall Street Journal takes a deeper look back at the statistics TCG keeps on the Most Produced Plays at member theaters.

He mines the data, which goes back to 1994, and comes up with a list of eleven plays that are the most produced from 2001-Present. He makes some some interesting observations.

Then he goes back and comes up with an even larger list of "the 76 most frequently produced plays of the past decade." What did he find?

For me, though, the really big surprise was the dog that didn't bark. Only one of the top 11 plays, "The Glass Menagerie," is a classic, and it was written in 1944. The others were all written between 1994 and 2006. And in addition to "The Glass Menagerie," only five classics by playwrights other than Shakespeare—"The Importance of Being Earnest," "Our Town," "Private Lives," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Tartuffe"—made it onto the longer list.

As for the celebrated playwrights of the past who didn't make the cut, the list is alarmingly long. No Samuel Beckett, no Bertolt Brecht, no Anton Chekhov, no Georges Feydeau, no Henrik Ibsen, no William Inge, no Eugène Ionesco, no Arthur Miller, no Clifford Odets, no Eugene O'Neill, no George Bernard Shaw, no Aristophanes or Euripides or Sophocles, no Rodgers and Hammerstein or Frank Loesser or Lerner and Loewe . . . no history, in other words.

Friday, January 08, 2010

And... A Critic's Take on the TDF Report?

Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune reviews TDF's Outrageous Fortune - the just published book that is the starting point for many posts in the theatrosphere lately.

He basically sees it as an expensive whine:

Take this outrageous passage: “A playwright describes what he sees: ‘Every time I go to the Goodman Theatre, that audience is all over 60 and it's all white.'”

The Goodman audience could use more youth and racial diversity. No question. But that playwright is describing what he thinks he sees. Nothing is served by presenting such patently inaccurate and reductive anecdotes as fact (as distinct, say, from accurately surveying the Goodman's audience demographics). I've been to the Goodman many, many times. I've never sat in an audience all over 60 and all white. It is a stereotype.

If playwrights don't like audiences, they surely don't like critics, especially those with the audacity to clearly separate plays that they think their readers might enjoy from those that they think they will not. “Critics see their role as of consumer reporters giving thumbs up or thumbs down to something,” goes one complaint, “instead of thinking crucially about the strengths and weaknesses of a play, or the future of the particular writer, even in the face of imperfection.”

There is no mention that such imperfections may also be occurring in the face of a $50 (or more) ticket price. And three hours of your life. And — oh, never mind.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Charming New England Winter Without Makeup or Photoshop

Massachusetts Winter, originally uploaded by arthennessey.

And On the Other Hand...

After just posting about Elevator Repair Service's process for creating theatre, I thought I'd quote this bit from Adam Szymkowicz's interview with Theresa Rebeck:

Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A: I think that young playwrights should spend more of their time working on the basics of playwriting--scene work, dialogue, character, action. I think they should try to hear the rhythms of language in their own idiom. I think that they shouldn't worry so much about being "unconventional." A friend of mine recently confessed that younger writers are being taught, in some programs, that anything "conventional" is not cool. I think that's catastrophic thinking. Too many young writers spend so much time trying to be post modern that they don't finally write about anything at all.

By the way, Adam's series of playwright interviews is now taking suggestions!

Elevator Repair Service: Embrace Risk - Move Forward

From the Boston Globe's pre-show piece about Elevator Repair Service's Gatz, which opens this week at the American Repertory Theater:

Elevator Repair Service eschews mission statements, mantras, and even employing certain theater-making methods from one show to the next.

“As soon as I begin to recognize and name anything that we’re doing, that becomes a thing to not do anymore,’’ says Collins.

Adds Shepherd, “You have to be real dedicated to the idea of not having a method. Because it means you’ve got to spend some unpleasant time not knowing what to do.’’

To maintain a fresh approach, says Collins, the troupe members keep trying to invent new and different experiments for themselves.

“Part of it is just a willingness to try a bunch of stuff that’s going to fail - and to get excited about those failures. As long as you allow the process enough time, and the people are familiar with each other, and there’s a kind of openness about the whole process, then it doesn’t matter if your first six ideas completely fail. They’re going to generate new ideas and point you in some worthwhile direction,’’ says Collins. “I hate to think what ‘Gatz’ would look like now if we had pursued some of our very first ideas for it, rather than allowing ourselves to discover what we were doing as we went along.’’

Ragtime - A success in D.C. - Barely a Ripple in NYC

In the wake of Ragtime's premature shuttering on Broadway, Peter Marks of the Washington Post does some dissecting, (the type of which we read so much of with the closing of Neil Simon's Brighton plays.)

Here he examines the difficulties of transferring a successful regional run to the Great White Way:

When it opened in the Eisenhower Theater in April, the musical may not have proved itself to be truly seminal, but it now had a moving core and evoked in more emotionally satisfying ways a turbulent, evolving nation. Thanks to Derek McLane's ingenious set, the 28-member orchestra and the voices of a cast nearly 40 strong, it looked and sounded terrific. And Washington responded: "Ragtime" was a virtual sellout for the Kennedy Center, prompting the highly unusual step for the institution of an extension of the musical's run. All told, it ran in the Eisenhower at 92 percent capacity for 34 performances.

Still, there were sales advantages for "Ragtime" at the Kennedy Center that could not be replicated on Broadway: the institution's subscribers. They purchased 30 percent of the musical's tickets, providing a solid foundation of revenue, according to center President Michael M. Kaiser. "Plus, we have a marketing reach in a much less culturally dense city," he said. "We have an ongoing relationship to an audience. Whereas on Broadway, every time you start from zero. You have to build your single-ticket sales."

In a city with far fewer options for big-scale musicals, "Ragtime" may have had an outsize impact. When it moved to New York, it not only faced more intense competition, it also had to find a niche in a theater world that has grown more and more dependent on tourists - a negligible theatergoing category in Washington