Some people's idea of art is tainted with the notion of getting paid.
I have this argument from time to time with a friend of mine who thinks that ultimately you have to give people the show they'll pay for. The passion in the play is its ability to transcend the performance space and land in the middle of an argument at Starbucks!
"You can't handle the truth!"
That really happened.
I'm not one of those do-it-all-in-a-day production heroes. I prefer to take my time and build a script from solid research, reflections and raw material that means something to somebody. I have to peruse the words and (sometimes) read the archaic meaning and the country of origin so I can make sure it's right. Even then, I'm prepared to cut it if it clogs the rhythm or rushes the dialogue. I want every scene to be an honest picture that sticks, not a spectacle that arouses, but leaves the moment hanging.
Recently, I went to two performances based on the same subject. The first one was at a neighborhood rec center, the actors a motley crew of kids and grown ups. The second, was at an arena with a performing arts company known throughout the world for their spectrum of of talent. As good as the latter was (and as expensive), it was missing something that The Motley's managed to capture--the spirit. Theirs was an indelible work of art and the ticket was 5 bucks.
I'm not against making money. Figuring out how to make it is my side hustle. But, here's my pecking order when it comes to "selling out" (seats or souls). It starts and ends with the intention of the art. If what's produced compromises the effort that the art proposes it then what value is the money you make in the end?
This inaugural post is brought to you by writer, director, educator Kerri Mubaarak, Scrapmettle's Founding Member and Artistic Director. You can follow Cut to Cue and other posts on Twitter @scrapplenet