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Do you hear music?

Well, and we’ve had two official performances, plus the Open Dress, with five more to go. They have gone mostly well, although the sound effects have been very bad indeed, coming in at the wrong places or with the wrong sounds, or not coming in at all. The sort of thing that comes off very amateurish. With lighting, a fairly good job is unnoticeable and therefore not a problem (while of course a terrific job may be noticeable and not a problem), but with sound, it is always going to be noticed. And if it’s not terrific, it’ll be terrible. Ah, well. I can’t really blame the tech guys, who don’t have money for expensive equipment, and don’t really have the knowhow to make the cheap/free stuff work like the expensive stuff.

But the sound is the only problem. Our lead (who is, after all, seventy-five years old and on-stage almost the entire time) managed to commit all the blocking and lines to memory. Well, and there have been some minor line fluffs, but nothing significant or particularly difficult to run with. I had predicted she would, of course, but I have to admit I was just a bit afraid she wouldn’t. My character does a lot of Yes, ma’aming, which makes it difficult to save my castmates if they go up. So, I bet you were going to ask me if I ever think back over the past sort of thing. But in the event, it has not been necessary.

The houses have been small, but attentive and they appear to enjoy themselves. I wish we had more people—we’ve been drawing forty in a house that seats at least two hundred—but I don’t have any idea how they could get those more people in to the seats. Or at least, I don’t have any ideas that don’t involves either the expenditure of money or lots of work that nobody is willing to do (including me). So.

I do wonder aggressively cutting ticket prices would help much. I would surely try it, if it were my decision. They are charging $18; I would cut that in half. Or do a two-for-one, anyway, which isn’t quite exactly the same thing, but is close. Or I would offer season-subscription discounts down to that amount, with individual show tickets for twelve or fourteen. It might not work at all. Let’s see: they sold eighty tickets this weekend for something less than $1400, as I am sure that there are some discounts. If they could sell another forty at the lesser price, they would make around $1000, losing $400 or so, which is a lot of money for a place like that. But they could (I’m guessing) make some of that back in donations, over a season, as getting butts in seats is a big part of the momentum for donations. And an incentive to get actors back—certainly I would, given the choice, prefer to go to a place that regularly gets a bigger house.

It’s not that it’s more difficult to play to a small crowd in a big auditorium. It is, a bit, but not that much. In a comedy, it’s harder to get audible laughter in a small crowd, which is a big deal, but in a drama it’s easy to forget how big the crowd is or isn’t. Until the end, when the applause is underwhelming from a sparse crowd. And I think to myself I worked my ass off, I want more applause than that. Well, no, I think that’s two; five to go, but if there is a big house and they liked it, I’m thinking damn, that went well! Oh, I still get the pleasure in doing my job well (or at least thinking I’m doing it well), but playing to a hundred people is just a lot more fun than playing to forty.

Ah, well. As I always say when there are lots of empty seats, at least there are still more of them than there are of us. Which has not always been the case, in my life, and I assume in most community theater folk’s.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

Glad the performances are going mostly well; you sounded a little concerned about that in your entry a couple days ago, just before the opening.

Pricing is tough. I think theatre tickets in general are too expensive—but even with significant funding from grants and major donors, the theatres presumably need the income from ticket sales.... Hard to know what to do.

I suppose there are options like sliding-scale ticket prices. I was going to say "or doing the big-theatre thing of providing discount tickets day-of-show," but then it occurred to me that at small local theatres, most people probably buy their tickets day-of-show.


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