From the Editor’s Perch

Between purges, show trials, gulags, and mass starvation, these guys are just...

Between purges, show trials, gulags, and mass starvation, these guys are just…

Bad for Attendance

If you’re part of the disagreement about why staged theater attendance is dropping nationwide, you’re probably not interested in my opinion, but I’ll give it anyway.  It’s the Left Wing.

Live theater has been rocked by technology since the advent of the movies, many, many years ago, and more recently by the home movie market.  But I think there are real parallels between the problems of the American Stage and those of current leading newspapers’ in maintaining their readership in light of the overwhelming growth of online media.  In a recent piece by Keith Windschuttle in The New Criterion, he notes that since a Leftist Cabal has striven to impose its values on a couple large East Coast dailies, (the New York Times and The Boston Globe), their loss of readership as reflected in stock values has gone from $54. in 2002 for the NY Times to $7.80 in July of this year.  And The Boston Globe has undergone a 90 percent fall in value over the past twenty years.  Meanwhile The Wall Street Journal’s circulation has increased 5 percent between 2007 and 2012.  He believes the Lefties have accomplished this loss of readership at the Times and at the Globe in two ways.  By insulting the intelligence of their Conservative readers these newspapers have driven away half of their readership, and by boring their core readership with the ensuing substandard fare, they have also been losing their Left Wing base.  His favorite example is a story in 2005 about a seal hunt in Nova Scotia written by the former NY Times journalist Barbara Stewart.  Here is a portion of what she wrote:  “Hunters on about 300 boats converged on ice floes, shooting harp seal cubs by the hundreds, as the water and ice turned red.”

“The truth is,” Winschuttle reports, “she wasn’t’ even there and did not know that the hunt had been put off for a day due to bad weather.  She knew so well what was required in a story of this kind that she could write it before the hunt had even begun.”

That last paragraph rings so true to the state of our contemporary stage today.  Most attendees of the larger theaters around this town know pretty well what is going to happen before they even go.  Some current shibboleth of the Left will be polished to a bright sheen either by the play, or by the theater’s take on the play.  The Right will have stayed home because they DO have some intelligence.  And the Left will applaud both the play and themselves, that they donated their time and spent their money to support the thing.

Here’s an example of what tickles the enthusiasm of a local theater brahmin.  The Theater Director of Cornish recently spoke to the Northwest Chapter of the Dramatists Guild this past Sunday, where he waxed approvingly regarding a past production of the Intiman Theater which was about the practice of womens’ genital mutilation in Africa.   He exulted that they had full attendance and that there were even women in the lobby with petitions to help support prevention of this practice.  He’s talking about some glory days at the theater before having to be re-organized after declaring bankruptcy.

Now, in terms of full disclosure, I have never supported women’s genital mutilation, nor have I participated in any.  And it doesn’t sound like a sound, prudent ‘best-practice’ to me.  And I understand that this issue probably really pisses off some women, and probably fairly so.  But… is there a real problem with this in the Northwest?  Would I want to attend this play with my wife, or family?  How about with my mom and dad?  Would I like to watch this play by myself?  How many people enjoy discussing genital mutilation, or watching descriptions of it?  Would a cruel, sadistic serial killer enjoy this play?  (Maybe!)  Was this play really such a success, or was it just a success to the ‘True Believers’?   Or was it a glorious chance for the Left Wing supporters of this theater to ‘out’ themselves – and cement their takeover?  And did many in that audience really care about genital mutilation, or is the play mostly an excuse to march out the ‘usual suspects’, to tar and feather them – as my experience would suggest?

The Cornish don went on to say that he probably shouldn’t talk about politics, but since all of us in that room probably agreed…  (I voiced the lone “No.”  And the conversation continued, just like a car does after running over a possum, or one of those Lone Star pickups does after running over an armadillo… when passing through those vast stretches in the Red States.)  The powers of this country, he said, seem to be wanting to separate us into the ignorant and the educated…. blah, blah, blah.

He went on to say that Theater attendance isn’t ALL down.  At the 5th Avenue and Issaquah’s Village Theatre (musical houses) attendance has actually grown.  He thought this might be because of their having the ‘beat’, the ineffable draw of music.

I think it’s because at these ‘musical’ houses the public can still bring their families.  And when with their families, nearly everyone becomes a conservative.  And the 5th Avenue and the Village Theatre know enough to respect this.  They don’t alienate their audience.

But, as far as I can tell, our Cornish don still remains among the ignorant.

Photos taken unattributed from the Internet

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2 Responses to “From the Editor’s Perch”

  1. Gary and Says:

    Somebody needs to say these things. Might as well be you and me.

    A little more data. The Wall Street Journal runs something like $245/year. The New York Times is way cheaper. I don’t know exactly how much because I have chosen not to subscribe.

  2. schn00dles Says:

    Thanks for penning your support, Gary.

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