Tuesday, April 19, 2011

more theatre notes.

I heard the other day that Intiman Theatre was closing for the rest of the 2011 season, only just begun. I must say that I have not supported them lately, but the sadness I feel is still very real. Many of my dearest theater memories stem from their magnificent productions - Betrayal, Ghosts, The Importance of Being Earnest, (all when I was in my teens), and more recently, To Kill a Mockingbird, Heartbreak House, Crime and Punishment, and A Thousand Clowns. Lately my attention has been more preoccupied with other theaters, with ACT downtown and Strawberry Theatre Workshop in my own neighborhood, and the Taproot up in Greenwood, which has a tender intimacy that reminds me of the old ACT Theatre on Queen Anne. There is the New Century Theatre Company which I discovered last year with the incredible On the Nature of Dust, and the Pinter Fortnightly readings run by Frank Corrado, and my time and money are taken up with other things. But these are all only excuses.

I feel guilty. For not having contributed. For not subscribing to another season. For not taking the time and making the effort to ensure that our city did not lose any of our incredible wealth of theater. I take heart in remembering that ACT went through its own turbulent times, perhaps ten years ago. They had moved from a tiny space a block or two from Seattle Center (which houses both Intiman and Seattle Rep) over to a giant building downtown, which contained three separate stages on different levels. There were a few rough seasons, which I don't quite remember because I was off to college at the time, but I remember wondering if they would survive. And they did. The Taproot was rebuilt after being devastated by a fire about a year and a half ago. I hope that Intiman's new director will find her own ground, coming back to us even stronger, and better than before. There will always be room for all these theaters in Seattle.

Art is a necessary privilege. We need art the way we need air or water, unconsciously. If it is taken away then our souls will die the way our bodies will die without air or water. But at the same time it is a privilege, too, one that can be taken away if there are no resources to sustain it. I hope Intiman will be able to regroup in the coming year, and find a way to move forward.

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