Friday, November 28, 2014

Short Honeymoon and Making the Cut

Well just when I thought it was safe.... 

...drama...not all of it with my mama.

And...more trends...faster and furious-er.

*****So the dance-love-dam is showing sings of leaking...first crack. 

Dancer contention has been and I fear will become more and more overshadowed by producer-contention. 

And dancers, dancer-talent, and choreo-talent is now becoming scarce and noticeable. There is a fevered pitch to be the best, led by type-A' overseers who bring with them, tried and true real-life experiences,  successes, and methodologies that qualify them as being 'capable to lead and succeed'. The short-term fix is social engineering....networking...leading to sharing of resources...inviting other troupes to perform...performing elsewhere...cross-promoting....feel-good festival-ing.

However behind the scenes...producers are shuffling, reshuffling, maneuvering, manipulating, recruiting, staffing,  and other creative chicanery, prestidigitation, skulduggery, and legerdemain to keep their names among the top of the top. The top spot is very coveted and there is some serious competition for the spot once held by 1 or 2 venues.

Producers could and often did treat their auburn-headed offspring with disdain, contempt, and outright discourteous-y. "Where you gonna go, lil one walk out that door and you'll never work in this town again". Yes that was once the the oft-heard theatrical-threat. Only a few games in town. So you kissed as you were, bowed your head or curtsied and mumbled "Yes ma'am and no ma'am". Look away, look away look away.

Not the case anymore.  A hint of unfairness or disrespect and the able-bodied are off for greener-pastures in a heartbeat where they  are welcomed with open arms and legwarmers.

The best as the once-revered badge of sold-out-performances is now a shared commodity in several venues. 60, 70, 85, 101 persons in attendance. Some producers known to scorn and frown if they get less than 80 filled seats. 

Child's play now. So how to distinguish the great from the best NOW?? Pre-sold ticket sales? Length of time you can make people wait in line? Total donations? Glowing reviews? Size of your staff?

Well first I must send kudos to those who paved the way...those bold enough to have created this phenomena out of the ether. True inspiration and creativity. We owe them a debt of gratitude. It offers so many people great opportunities to maximize the creative potential of SL. SOMETHING TO DO in this, some might say God-forsaken playland. YAY for stuff to do! Amen and Awomen.

What could be next? Salaried performers from the cream of the crop? I don't count it out. An unofficial star-rating system? I don't count it out.

Who will turn out the villains? Who will reign supreme as heroes?

After great SUPER-shows, the real SUPER-drama MAY be about to unfold...if so, then keep your head down as brown stuff is about to hit the air-conditioner.

And on a lighter note, more trends.

1) more humor injected into routines

2) adding to the list of on-board specialists  are: in-house special-fx specialist 
that probably will include particles, lighting, and other feats of magic.

3) open rehearsals 

4) the process of creation, itself, as a new form of entertainment
    We are seeing that head peek out as we witness Kat's testament of how several performers interpret the same piece of music.

5) higher caliber debuts

6) more story, more story, more story

Making the Cut

Another trend I've noticed recently among the bigger venues is an established 'service-level agreement' among the performers as troupe-sizes grow. There are only so many slots available in a 1 hr show. Not all the 25 performers in trhe roster have time to do 5 minute solos. If zero time between acts, thats a 2hr++ show minimum. Of course there will be chances to do group acts.
But, long-story, short....decisions have to be made on who will perform and who won't. Should venues offer a 2nd weekly show or an additional bi-weekly slot to give more performers a chance to shine?

Making the cut is a new phenomena. It used to mean, either you did or didn't perform. The best acts got to go on. Now its escalated to, not only will you not perform but you may get cut from the troupe all-together, if you show continual sub-par performances. What level of excellence should be expected? What level of consistency should there be? Should it be the producer, the audience, the performer? Is there value in providing room for performers to grow? Are the audience less-critical than performers are of their own routines? 

 So on both ends of the spectrum, there is less toleration for being 'unhappy'. Producers now letting people go, dancers up and leaving if their talent fails to get the proper respect they feel it is due. 

I used to assume producers were right. The people they let go would rid off into the sunset. 

On the contrary.

 They have go on to blossom like never before. Shock me! Is it a case of 'everything happens for a reason' ?.  Maybe not unlike Bill Gates dropping out of Harvard. A win for the grander picture?

Some producers argue, a silver lining when performers up and leave in that people leaving creates an opportunity for a new person to hire on and bring their friends, thus expanding the audience base. Hmmm? If that be the case, can we expect scheduled firings for the sole purpose of expanding the audience base? 


Lat "Yummy" Lovenkraft

1 comment:

  1. Gah! Yummy! Break it into 3 posts! :)

    Part 1. Drama? Really? Don't give it attention, it will blow over and people will be onto the new shiny in a week.

    Part 2. 1, 3, 4, and 6 are not really new trends. :P

    Interesting to know people have specialists though. Good idea that. Most specialist we have ever gone is 'who opens and closes the curtains and rezzes sets?' Frowny face at Winnie -.-

    Part 3. Making the cut is a hard one. We have had to be restrictive for years. When running fast paced 30 minute shows, you are only going to get 3 acts in with my banter + intermission. The ensemble's return (thanks Sath!) allows people not in to be in, but generally if someones turned down they get first refusal the following week. It is not so much 'you are not good enough'. Just gotta be concise ya know?