An old writer friend opened a show off off-Broadway recently. It was a painful but productive experience for him. Speaking as a novice musical theater writer I cannot imagine why he didn’t have a nervous breakdown. But I am told this kind of thing happens more often than any of us can imagine.
He didn’t care that there was no red carpet, he didn’t expect one and having never had one before, didn’t miss it. All he wanted was for the actors to know their lines and for the musicians to be somewhat practiced. Not so fast—apparently, it was too much to ask.
I could go on and on but it wouldn’t make any difference. We all (aspiring producers) invest a great deal of time on stuff that has nothing to do with what we envisioned. So moving on, I am always amazed at the depth of the correspondence on Facebook. I love Facebook because it allows me enter into the lives of people who I have known for a long time, or are people with whom I would like a continuing relationship.
Let’s get back to my pal for just a brief moment. Should he have known better than to trust strangers with his baby? Should he have choreographed the piece so no one could make mincemeat of it. Should he have been skeptical enough to know that the people with whom he entrusted his vision didn’t have a clue? Probably. But none of that happened, so what next?
Artists are a curious lot. Unlike most normal people, artists think they are special. They have to think they are special because they put their work out in public, where anyone can make judgments about what they have done. If artists doesn’t believe in their work themselves, then why should anyone else think it’s special? When an artist produces a work of art, be it a play, a song, a book, whatever, it’s like giving birth to a baby. For some period of time, the artist wants to nurture what they have produced. They don’t trust a stranger to protect its integrity, or give the baby the same attention they will give it. As the baby grows the artist will give relinquish control but not until they know that they have left their baby in competent hands.
And on a totally different subject, (which I could connect but it would be too painful for our readers) has Mayor Bloomberg driven uptown, crosstown, or downtown in NYC? Probably not, because the construction and the condition of the roads are abhorrent. Yesterday when he announced his concern over displays of cigarettes, and last month with his push forbidding 32 ounce drinks, I said (to anyone who would listen) “this guy is totally out of touch with the important issues. He’s so busy monitoring our personal behavior that he has totally lost his focus on problems that effect those of us who try to live in NY.” I want to yell, WAKE UP BOZO!, but it’s not respectful, much like someone decimating a lovely musical show because they have lost their ability to distinguish between what is worthwhile and what gives someone immediate gratification. We must protect ourselves from the people who only see superficial, and be on the lookout for those who value expediency over thoughtful decision making. We’re just sayin’…. Iris