This is what happens when I email Scott Walters a story. He beats me to writing about it! All the same he writes a good post entitled Be Quiet! We’re Making Progress! about the New York Times article, The Odds Are As Big As Their Dreams. A group of actors from Los Angeles desire to gain “credibility” and strike it big by putting on an Off-Off-Broadway production John Osborne’s Epitaph for George Dillon. He goes on to question what it means to have credibility as an artist in theater and asks can that only be found in New York. Crosby highlights how deep this addiction runs when saying, “I can say now that Iâ€™ve done theater in New York,” because she and her friends uprooted and bought a production for $20,000, “which gives you some credibility.”
I look at the numbers of what these actors did to produce 12 performances of this show and I question if it is worth it. I understand the desire to try and hit it big in New York. To gamble in hope you might just be the one show that is loved and transfered to a bigger house. But at the expense to sell all you own? Why not try it out in LA first to see if there is an audience for this play? Just because you want to put on the production does not mean you should do it. Larry Moss read this play thirty years ago. What is the life of the play? How has it been received over all? It is something a current audience is going to connect with? These are all questions that can be explored in a smaller venue. I question why it had to be New York or nothing? I realize the the fact that New York is the hub of theater will not go away anytime soon, but why kill yourself?
I think it comes down to an American set of standards that has forgotten that Small is Beautiful. Yea it might be cliche, but it does not make it less true. In this group’s desire to gain “credibility” in New York they forgot about all the other possibilities. LA has a big enough theater scene where if this play is good it could have gotten some recognition. I say LA (also a huge market) because the idea of producing this show in some theaters across the U.S. is probably not even on these actors radar and in today’s market can not be compared to the desire to hit it big in New York. Even the phrase, “hit it big” is so common in the theater world it runs opposite to the small is beautiful mentality. But that mentality is not what people want to hear or read about.