nikes on my feet….

May 27, 2011

… or This Is What They Don’t Want You To Know

There will be no stories about this. There’ll be no exposes. Because it doesn’t fit the narrative. What will be written about is the poor playwrights, the bad ol’ play development system, the diversity issue, the funding issue, the oh please someone do my play syndrome. Someone cast me. Someone hire me for lights, direction, for sound, for set… someone, someone, someone…

Someone fix everything.

From Our Band Could Be Your Life

“Black Flag were the first to understand that if the system didn’t
accept you, didn’t like you, didn’t include you- well, you didn’t
try to change the system. You just made a new one.”

Matt Slaybaugh runs a company in Columbus, Ohio. Called Available Light, they do plays like Attempts on Her life, The Internationalist, adaptations of comic books like SkyScrpares of the Midwest, original movement and text pieces about world economics- and they have a rabid following. That has DOUBLED every year. Yes, large institution- doubled. And you know how much their tickets cost?


Sorry, I’ll repeat that. Every show, every performance the audience


And their budget bounds every year. And Matt and company get to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

I run a theater in Iowa City,Iowa. (Which if you read this blog before you’re tired of hearing). My company members and myself lost agents, lost support from numerous theaters when we moved back— why? Because we were denying the system. We believed we could do it better.


Here are two truths:

1. If you make an outstanding product you can charge whatever you want. (Thank you Apple Computers.)

2. If you make an outstanding product- you can live wherever you want.
(Built to Spill never left Idaho, Dave Chapelle ain’t leaving rural Ohio and he can book himself anywhere. Zach Gali- whatever lives in the mountains of North Carolina)

3. If you believe in yourself other people will believe in you too. Self production, denying broken systems- is a statement of self sufficiency.

4. You are as relevant as anything else. (Since most theater is seen as irrelevant by non theater people who gives a shit where you flourish as long as you flourish).

I had 2 people believe in my Iowa adventure. It’s become 6 people now. And growing. We’ve gone from performing a play at a residential pool (with lights we built ourself from ACE Hardware store supplies) to booking shows in 3 different countries and about 20 states.

Oh yeah that happened in the course of 18 months.

Are we on Broadway? At the Public? Second Stage? The Guthrie, even?

No but we might define what is in the future.

You are the art. Which means you are the commerce. Which means you actually control what can happen. We can change it all. (You, too, you reading this).

“What Black Flag did is they said we don’t need radio, we don’t need video, we just need you. And every town you thought was dead or not worth playing you’d go to and people’d say ‘Oh yeah Black Flag just came through here.’ And what that did was it got other people to hear what they’re doing, to see it, and pick up instruments themselves. So many bands started because of what they were doing. And that changed everything. You think you have Nirvana without Black Flag? They changed it by doing it.”– Mike Watt, The Minutemen

And as Immortal Technique has said-

“No one wanted me on they label no matter what I did. Motherfuckers would say ‘you ain’t commercial, we can’t sell this.’ Dude, there’s a motherfucker out there selling PET ROCKS. I ain’t commercial? There’s a market for everything motherfucker. Then again fi they didn’t say no, I wouldn’t have started my label. And I got paper man. And I answer to me. I create what I want. And that’s what you get.”

You are the new play map. You are the performance networks, the play centers, you are the theaters. you are. You Are.

@ddower, @travisbedard, @halcyontony, @2amt, @parabasis, @idrisgoodwin, @InterActThtrCo, @HowlRound, @kcactf5, @kcactf1, @kcactf4, @avltheatre, @MJSlay,

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