Thursday Talk & Other Thoughts

posted by Director Traci Brant

As we come to the end of the run of Brother of All, it was terrific to have a post-show chat with our audience last night.  Over the last couple of seasons, these chats have really developed into a great event.  We spend so many months working on a play and yet it is never complete until the audience becomes a part of the experience.  We are story tellers so without anyone to listen, there is no point in what we do.  At least that's my perspective.

Playwright Jim Henry joined us for the talk and was very open and honest about the process of this play.  I hope audience members enjoyed this very unique opportunity to engage with the playwright in addition to directors, cast and crew.  I was very impressed with the level of discourse and only wish we could do it again with more audiences.  It's very rewarding to close the loop by finding out how the play affected the patrons.  

It's always bittersweet to close a play that has been a part of your life for months. I wish we could share this moving piece of original art with more audiences.  I'll miss the incredible perfomances of the actors and the dedication of our outstanding crew.  I've been struggling with my own dissapointment that the house is not nearly full for the performances.  It's not about a need for ticket income or to feel successful.  This has most definitely been an artistic success.  We have helped to further the process of a new play and shared it with many.  I just cannot understand how an incredible community such as Valparaiso and the surrounding area is not more interested...more supportive.... more excited about original art.  The audiences here are the first to see this play. Another of Jim's plays is going up in New York later this month where patrons will be paying $75-$100 per ticket, yet we cannot fill the house for less than $20 per ticket.  

Clearly, we need to improve our communication to the public.  How can we better express the richness and rarity of this opportunity that exists in our own backyard? Community leaders, politicians, and the media need to step up and show their support if they truly believe that the arts make their community a better place... and I don't think any of them would argue the point.  They need to set an example.  And then that leads me the role of the arts in our schools which is being threatened right here and all over the country. But I digress... I leave you with this.

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." -Albert Einstein

Theater is imagination. Without it, where are we headed?