Monday, February 14, 2011

Don't Swamp The Lifeboats

Seattle's Intiman Theatre is in big trouble, like, North Shore Music Theater trouble (for those from the Boston theatre community.)

They have to raise 1 Million by September, or they will have to close the doors.

Coming on the heels of NEA Chair Rocco Landesman's recent comments about the problem of supply and demand in the non-for-profit theater sector, it was inevitable that this announcement would prompt the question: Should the Intiman be saved?

Isaac Butler has posed the question on his blog, and several commenters from the Seattle community have weighed in there, including playwright Paul Mullin.

Mullin has expanded on his comments over at his own blog Just Wrought, and he wants to be very clear:

Allow me to honor the clarity of Intiman’s ultimatum with some clarity of my own: I hope they die. I hope they do it soon and with a minimum of suffering. And most of all I hope they do it without siphoning precious funds from the rest of us who make theatre in the Pacific Northwest.

In her note on the Intiman’s blog which I quoted at the top of this post, Artistic Director Kate Whoriskey invokes the ghosts of The Empty Space and The P-I as if she actually suffered their loss instead of showing up on the scene quite recently and long after those beloved institutions succumbed. She merrily previews the upcoming season: “I will be directing my husband in The Playboy of the Western World,” assuming we would be delighted by this nepotism. She must imagine we were similarly delighted when we learned that she had been hand-picked for her position by her predecessor Bart Sher without any input from the community, the patrons, and very little, it seems, even from board “Without the Intiman, will we be as strong?” she implores in closing. And all I can think of is the Lone Ranger joke. He and Tonto are surrounded by a band of Apaches. He says, “Looks like we might die here, old friend.” And Tonto replies, “What’s this “we” shit, Kemosabe?”

Seattle theatre is alive and thriving. Buy me a beer and I will name you at least 100 theatre organizations in Western Washington more deserving of your donation than the Intiman.

Some of my Boston readers may remember Kate Whoriskey as the "hand picked" protege of Robert Brustein. Fresh out of the ART Institute, she co-directed The Master Builder on the Loeb Mainstage in 1999.

1 comment:

Thomas Garvey said...

Yikes! That show was dreadful. Hmmm. Wasn't Diane Paulus somebody's "protegee" too? And let's not forget that Sarah Ruhl is Paula Vogel's protegee. I'm beginning to wonder how many professorial protegees this art form can stand!