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Have you Experienced Snobbery Against Spectacle?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by JohnHuntington, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. urban79

    urban79 Active Member

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    The biggest thing I struggle with regarding this is to have enough stuff for the cast that does show up... At times there's lots of base painting to be done, but not everyone has the requisite skillset (or inclination) to become more advanced in it. I find I have a core group of both actors and techs who are very good - our lead scenic charge artists are also the leads in the musical - it's harder to deal with the 20 others that show up...
     
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  2. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    In a school we aim for "education" of the students. IMNSHO the production of a play, musical or concert should represent the culmination of some level of advancement as well as participation. Its the difference between "we'll announce a show and learn along the way" and "we're gonna learn stuff and demonstrate that by putting on a show." As you point out not all students arrive with the same level of desire to participate or perhaps the technical or artistic chops. Balancing that is the art of teaching The Arts.

    Back to John's question and thoughs -

    "The Arts," as to benefit the public, would not exist without commercial and/or social patronage. To pretend that either can exist in exclusion is a disservice to both. Visual arts, theater, dance, etc... are driven by creative forces that find support or not. Without support it's a matter of the Bernie Taupin lyric "Take me to the garrets where the artists have died". With support a vibrant and vital symbiosis can take place. When dealing with the snooty or snobby I think the question we should ask ourselves is "how can I have a conversation/relationship with this person that might benefit my artistic industry and community of creators and spectators?"
     
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  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I argued this point once in my BFA program. I wanted to go work at the road house on campus not attached to the theatre dept for a bus and truck that was coming in. Load in was during the day and I'd miss some shop time or something. I was told "you don't need to learn how to do that, our goal is to teach you so you don't have to do that kinda thing". When I pointed out that our program had produced 10+ full time working technicians and zero full designer in the last 5 years I was told that was no reflection on the program. Jump forward 2 years I skipped out on a day of class unapproved to go do an in/show/out for 20+ truck arena show. For those hours I missed the dept. TD decided to fail me for shop that semester... once again citing "you don't need to learn that stuff".

    Now I run a 2 venue road house producing 200-250 events a year full time, with state benefits, and easily make twice what the professors at my college make.... plus have more design work then I can handle on the side.

    We all can't be designers. Many "professional" designers I know also have a teaching gig in order to make ends meet. A lot of my freinds who did go grab their MFA are already back teaching.... some never even ventured out into the real world. Its one of the reasons that the way "college theatre" is produced happens. I still wish someone woulld have showed me Tait or something like that when I was 17 and followed that up with "want to do this? go to school for engineering".
     
  4. JohnHuntington

    JohnHuntington Active Member

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    Wow, this is exactly what I was talking about. If you don't mind telling, what year was this?

    Hear, hear!

    Thanks!

    John
     
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  5. Marcus Petrella

    Marcus Petrella Member

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    I've certainly encountered anti-spectacle snobbery, but had a very different college experience than many are describing here ('99-'03). My university had a design/production degree, and a road house on campus that was not part of the school of theatre, but was staffed by student staff who split all calls with the IATSE Local. Many of the student staff in the road house were design/production students. It probably helped that our TD was also a member of the Local also.

    We were taught that spectacle should always be motivated by the script, but there was no stigma about teaching us how to do the practical job of being a technician. At least nothing formal or even unified comming from the faculty.
     
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  6. JohnHuntington

    JohnHuntington Active Member

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    What Rigger? and JohnD like this.
  7. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Nicely done, John.
     
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  8. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Nice blog post John. As a retort to some professors, Shakespeare was not primarily creating ART, he was creating entertainment for the masses. He knew he had to keep the groundlings happy...…..or they would throw stuff at the actors.
     
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  9. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    My old High school's crew is frequently moving equipment around the school and even outside during the warmer months, they are very well versed in making their venue wherever it may be, for whatever the event is.

    It helps when the Head of the arts has a background in both Music and Theatre, and the school also has a sizable dance program. For the few who choose to pursue the techie life, it's fortunate they get that dynamic style of "Get the job done with whatever is available."

    My college on the other hand traditionally held contempt towards events that weren't directly related to the theatre program. Luckily that's long since been fixed.
     
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  10. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @EdSavoie Would you mind expounding and elaborating upon how your college improved their attitudes?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  11. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the late reply, been busy with a show and it slipped my mind.

    My program was originally created for the sole purpose of serving the musical theatre program, so in the early years of the program, spending any money on our program that didn't aid musical theatre was considered out of the question. From what I've been recounted, this lead to the original program coordinator quitting because he couldn't take the program where he (rightly) felt it needed to go.

    Years go by, the college gets involved with some venue rentals that either save them money by using us, or make money for the college, people making decisions change, and voila. Our program is now allowed to engage in arena style rigging, wrestling, automation, electronic controls and many other things, in addition to everything related to theatre.
     
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  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm really late coming to this discussion, but there's another aspect of this I've seen a few times. I would call this envy denied and hidden as snobbery. More than once I've heard friends in community theater rant about how the shows they do are pure art because they do it for the love of the show and not just for money. They then go on to rant about rant about Broadway shows, rock concerts, the local LORT theater, Cirque.. Anything with a big budget and a paid staff.
     
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