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It’s been a while since I’ve been to a play. Back when I lived in Chicago there a free newspaper (remember them?) that came out on Fridays called the “The Reader”. A friend and I used to scour the theatre section of all the plays in town and go see at least one each month. There were scores of them to choose from. They ranged from professional productions at The Goodman to pokey community theatre types. The plays didn’t lack for variety. They were classics to contemporary – sometimes just written. I liked the former ones best of all. Sometimes the same play was being done by two companies and you could see two productions of “Hedda Gabler’ in the same weekend.*

This plethora of play options doesn’t seem to exist anymore, worse luck. I don’t know reasons. One matter may be setting: Phoenix is a desert in more ways than one. What plays are put on here seem to be ‘safe’ ones that are more likely to put butts in the seats. Rather than “The Bacchae” there’s another production of “Grease”. The Arizona Opera is doing “The Sound of Music” rather than “Salome”.**

Someone tells me theatre companies are financially strapped and in a dilemma what to do about it. The majority of theatre goers are little old ladies and [around these parts] conservative types not at all interested in things new, atypical, or off-beat. Every once in a while a company sneaks in something that offends the blue hairs and down goes ticket sales. They want”Annie” not “Mother courage”. Therefore the main theatre companies cannot be relied upon to provide much that I would like to see.

There were some oddball off-the-wall community theatres in the area when we first moved here. They have mostly closed, probably from cost and lack of attendance and then covid came along. Someone recently reminded me one of the reasons I am not seeing theatre is I am choosing not to go. He has a point. He sometimes helps out at the Black Theatre Company and last Sunday afternoon they did a play that sounded appealing but I wanted to stay home to do homework and make a shirt. *** So I am part of the problem: people aren’t going to plays much anymore If I really want to see The Bacchae or Mother Courage there are plenty of recordings for rent. It’s too easy to turn on TV or Netflix.

I used to go regularly to The Stratford Festival and The Shaw Festival and later on The Utah Shakespeare Festival. Since covid times I haven’t bothered to return to any of them. They require time/organization and none of them are cheap.

Fascinating! When I went on line to find a photo for today’s entry, I searched for “man sitting at a play”.

What I got was this:

I think this summarizes the matter!

Do you go to plays? Is there much theatre around your neck of the woods? Is it quality?

*No matter the setting or quality of the production, this one ended badly.

**We actually have tickets for ‘The Sound of Music’. Oh the horror. I’ve told Someone sooner than eat rats at Tewkesbury.

***In my defense I still have a hacking cough. I didn’t want to go sit in the dark trying not to cough, fail, and have to get up/out when it started.

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February 2023

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018