365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

81. There’s a reason they train us in improvisation.

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When times get tough, on any scale – from a dropped line during a performance to a production losing its budget – those of us in the theatre world figure out a way to make it work. Directors double cast, designers find alternatives and beg/borrow/steal, and actors sweat on the stage and give the best performance they can. Theatre sans argent is rarely, if ever, a bad thing, in fact – I have seen many low-budget productions that have wowed me far more than the large-scale counterparts!

That’s why when I heard about this theatre in New Jersey attempting to put on Twelfth Night with basically no money, I actually got really excited about it. I’m not saying it’s a good thing they’re having money trouble, but it’s hard to deny that there is a certain thrill that comes with seeing the creative ways that theatre folk deal with such problems. What was one of their solutions? Make a shredded paper set. No, I’m totally serious.

That’s not to say that their problems have been solved. Far from it. Theatres everywhere are feeling the ache of recession. That’s why it’s so important to support these shows and attend lots of performances – as many as possible. Most actors are balancing their performances with their lives and day jobs, leading exhausting lifestyles due to their passion for the theatre. If the theatres continue to be in so much trouble, they could close – and then where does that passion go? Where do the great performances go?

Please, everyone, continue to support your local theatres by attending shows (and bringing a posse when you do it, if possible), giving to their fundraisers, and spreading the word about local performances. It is possible to rescue theatres and keep the beautiful tradition alive – we just have to be willing to do it.

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Written by Caroline Mincks

December 21, 2009 at 12:50 AM

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