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Invisible Productions

Sunday, October 18, 2009 Leave a Comment

Rob Weinert-Kendt has a great post about the most produced playwrights at TCG's Member Theatres* (with a few Broadway productions thrown in to boot). Maria MacCarthy has a follow-up looking at the gender ratio of the list; 99Seats and Parabasis widen that lens further; all good reads.

These posts got me wondering about productions at the rest of the theatres in the country. Do Samuel French or Dramatists Play Service ever release the number of productions they license? I'm not sure of any other way to survey the other 2,000+ theatres in the country, and it seems as important as measuring what our leading institutions are producing.

For example, my most widely produced plays are written for Equalogy, a theatre for social change. Twice a year for the past ten years, two 1-act plays I wrote on dating violence and acquaintance rape have toured colleges of the Northeast, performing for thousands of students. I have no doubt that nothing I've written has had as positive an impact as those plays. And yet, in that world of theatre we call "the field", those plays are essentialy invisible.

I'm sure this is true for many, many other productions, performed in the streets and prisons, cafeterias and gymnasiums of this country. I wouldn't be surprised if the impact on their communities is just as profound as the work of the larger institutions, and yet when theatre's measure is taken, they are often invisible.

A fully inclusive metrics of real value...what would that look like? Is it even possible?
*TCG is my goodly employer

2 comments »

  • Mariah said:  

    Hey Gus,

    Thanks so much for the shout-out! Could I pick your brain about Equalogy sometime? This looks like EXACTLY the kind of program that I've been looking for... I developed a script that I would absolutely love to take on tour to college campuses (about similar subject matter to yours, actually) but have no idea how to go about it. Any light you can shed would be most welcome.

    And I'm with you... it's a shame that some of the most important work happening is, as you say, "invisible." Hopefully the demand for more thorough documentation will become so great that the supply can't help but follow.

    -Mariah

  • August Schulenburg said:  

    Mariah,

    I'd be happy to talk about Equalogy with you - just shoot me an email at gus@fluxtheatre.org

    (and hear-hear!)
    gus