Tag Archives: press

A Letter To Friends In The Audience

16 Oct

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You know how I have really high expectations of myself as a performer? And, you know how I am my worst critic and get really pissed off when I feel I have not been able to give the best performance I can for whatever random reason might have just occured?

…And you know how you mostly say, “I couldn’t even tell, what the hell are you even talking about?”

…And we sorta debate/argue a bit back and forth over it? And you roll your eyes at me, and I still feel I’ve failed, and then we all go out for a beer afterwards, under the stipulation we talk about anything at all but what you’ve just seen?

In good conscience, I can’t do that with this show.

…First of all, because it’s delightful and hilarious and populated by totally talented people…and second of all, because it’s a brand spanking new company, and we need all the word-of-mouth we can get.

This, however, doesn’t change the wall of anxiety I am facing every night to do this thing, I don’t have self confidence to be doing. You cannot reason with it, dismiss it, beef it up…I’ve tried…none of that seems to work. And though I am absolutely doing my job out there, to the best of my particular ability in this field, it is not a wheelhouse that any amount of exhausted rehearsals have managed to make me feel, “oh, hell yeah…I’ve got this.”

…In short, I will know most of the people in every audience of this show…because I’ve worked in this town for 15 years now, and have super supportive kick-ass friends. And I guess what it comes down to is:

1) Thanks for coming and being here for all of us, I know you’ll laugh lots and enjoy the hell out of this dork-fest of theatre love.

2) Please, dear God, can you spread the word on the streets to get some butts in the seats.

3) Fuck the beer, after…I’ll need a whiskey. Same table-rules apply.

Signed,

~ Perpetually-Freaked-Out-Susan

A Win, By The Numbers!

24 Jun

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Wanna know some awesome?

New stats just in for “Earnest:” 

…At the completion of our second weekend, we’ve pulled into the 4th highest grossing show of the season, (of 6.)  That is not trend sells, that is total box office.  Which means if “Earnest” closed today, we’d be 4th of the season.  We still have three weeks left of our run.

…Further fun?

We are #1 in weekly grossing ticket sales…not just of this year, but of the entire past two seasons.

This (of course) is due in large part to our killer reviews, brilliant designers, amazing direction, hands-on SM wizarding, and some pretty funny people on stage.

…And these numbers are something to be proud of, not ONLY because we’ve yet to even reach halfway into our run, but because Summer is a difficult theatre sell with all the blockbusters hitting the screens, people taking off on vacations, and everyone rather being out in the sun than anywhere else, that is not.  And also the fact that this is not a musical, features no children, and is a small cast.

…As an idea of house projections, for instance…(set by people who watch the trends year after year)…”Earnest” was set at a 38% ticket sell projection.  We are currently holding at a 70% average.

…Uber exciting news in numbers, buckage, AND (not least of all), hope for the future.  Because combining that with “Twelfth Night’s” ALSO surprise final numbers, proves that the classics are very much in healthy attendance and demand in the arts and theatre arena in the area at present.  SUCH a welcome piece of info for so many of us actors in the region.  Good solid scripts, good solid roles, proven over time.  Who could ask for anything more?  Especially with things like “Pride & Prejudice” coming up around the Holiday season.

…And as I finally finished the final press trailer (which posted today)…we can only hope a new bump in sales will follow, pushing us past our often quivering closeness to full-blown sell-out performances.

…Especially Thursday.  As it’s Actor’s Benefit.  And we are all poor.

(hint, hint)

Thanks to the friends and fam who have already come, to those who plan to, for the ones who will see it several times, and the ones who bring fresh blood with them when they do!

These are YOUR sales numbers too!  We couldn’t have done it without yuh 🙂

~D

Press Corruption

27 Feb

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This has nothing to do with buy-outs and palm-greasing of the Journalist trade, and everything to do with pimping out a product.

…Yesterday’s blog got high numbers of interest, so thought you might enjoy a little more on the the realm of Theatre PR.  It’s pretty basic in that you are trying to sell something that people don’t need, and make them pay money they often can’t afford, for something that lasts a maximum of three hours time.

…This is on the basics of course.  The cold, hard, sell-it-to-me facts. 

WE know that theatre is necessary and worth it, and lasts much longer than a fleeting instant, by the fact of how it commands your attention, and influences debates and conversations and emotions long after the curtain has gone down.  But before people get all emotionally invested in whatever it is they are about to see, you have to make them emotionally invested in what they are about to see.

…Yes. It’s sort of a “catch-22.”

Hollywood has been doing this with entertainment for over 100 years.  They found the best ways to corrupt your feelings and pocket book, and continue to tweak them infinitely in new combos and patterns and trends in order to keep up the good work.  It only makes sense for theatre to follow in their footsteps and do the same thing: so we do. 

…We slobber posters all over everything, invent catchy tag-lines, print out postcards and flood the market in bookstores, local businesses, and home addresses, flip out bookmarks, bulk-mail season flyers, tweet about rehearsals, FB “special deals, ” sell random tchotchkes, email campaign your inboxes, and stick ads on every theatre callboard, newspaper, community calendar, radio station, and even craigslist.  We are not too proud to do anything.  Hell, give us a sandwich board and a hot dog suit made of felt, and we’d use that too!

…The point is: theatre only works if you have people come to it.  Tickets are often upwards of twice the price of a Friday night trip to the movie theatre, and it is limited in the special effects and able-to-get-up-any-time-you-want-to-go-pee option. Also, a lot of time, you’re going out on a limb in content, by unrecognizable actors, and plots you’ve never heard of.

I’ll give you all that.

…But it is also my job to get your butt in the seat and watch it anyway. It’s my job as an Actor. It’s my job as a person of theatre. It’s my job as part of a PR team. So here is how I do my share: trailers.

Trailers are the sweet-spot of instant info and emotional investment you can use on unsuspecting patrons. In 2-4 minutes, you can give them history, plot, characters, emotional content, themes, a good cry when needed, and production dates, times, and ticket info. It’s short. The music will help set a perfect mood. And they can share it with others. When I go on a full-run campaign, I usually mix it up with an initial teaser with history of the show and content, to educate…followed by another trailer by Opening to light a flame under their asses more specifically, followed by a review quote-filled one telling them why they should all go buy tickets now because the damn this is just too goddamn amazing to miss…followed by a “one more week and you’ll have missed it, and then won’t YOU just feel like a schmo?” hit.

…And: it works.

People will talk about them. People will share them. It can go viral on FB, and be sent in newsletters and general emails…and it answers the question of WHY a person should buy a ticket, WHAT they are in for, and WHERE the show once came from. So here are a few as examples…just to wet your whistle:

***

First: The Teasers:

Opening Week:

Reviews:

~D

Speed-Blocking

26 Feb

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Due to one cancelled rehearsal and a max of four per week at roughly 2.5 hours each, Mr. Director has set an unheard of course of blocking. 

His goal is 3 days.

3. Days.

…That’s 101 pages, wherein 8 of the 10 in the cast, never actually leave the stage for more than roughly 1 minute, each at staggered points throughout the show.  We eat on stage, dress on stage, cook on stage, sleep on stage, get in fights, and live on top of each other from the second we arrive until just before the last monologue of the show.

…That’s a LOT of fucking movement, all.  In fact, it is actually a woolly mammoth shit-ton.

It means that whether we are actually in the scene or not, we are still “on,” somewhere…usually in a bedroom on a platform, on the couch, by the “pouf” chair, at the table, working at the stove…going about doing all the things that normal people go about and do in day-to-day life, only in this case, it needs to be paintstakingly blocked, and stipulated step-by-step.  Because, due to the cramped space, and furniture, you almost can’t move until someone else does so as well, so you can counter them, and be (in turn) countered by someone else.

…Again. 8 PEOPLE.

8 People.

3 Platforms.

1 Staircase.

1 Couch, which folds out into a bed.

2 Cots.

3 Beds.

3 Dressers.

1 Dinning room table with chairs.

1 Desk.

1 Side table.

1 Kitchen sink/counter/stove/ice box hybrid

4 Doors.

1 Bookcase.

0 Walls.

…Tonight, we finished through Scene 2 of Act 2, covering all Mrs. Van Daan’s major three freak-outs and melt-downs,  the smoking argument, four costume changes, Anne’s nightmare, Hannukah, the break-in, Peter & Anne’s first real “talk,” and New Years.

…We’re makin’ better “time” than a stripper at a Bachelor Party. 

…But of course have no idea if, at these speeds, we have really retained anything.  It might prob’ly will be one gigantic cluster-fuck by the time we review and start working scenes this Sunday…but by the grace of theatre impossibility-happening-anyway…we might just make it happen.

Theatre’s weird that way.

Especially when you think there is no way in hell it could ever work.

…It’s like a special rule or something.

In the meantime: I built a teaser trailer for the show today.  Am contracted to do it for another theatre in town, but I like to do them for other shows too…mine, that is…to help and get the press out.

Wanna taste?

Alright. You twisted my arm. 

…But spill anything on the fur coat, and your ass is MINE, bub.

~D

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