The bomb-throwing storyteller of the land once known as America is back. Truth be typed, he never went anywhere. Funny, incisive, complicated, conflicted – Mike Daisey will never be safe for television. Which is why we’re lucky to have him on the stage.
One night only, the Mainer turned New Yorker is back in Stumptown to talk about – what else – Trump. Unfortunately the show is in the extremely bland and mediocre too big to fail complex horrifically named Portland 5 Alive. Mike, next time book Revolution Hall! But anyway, here’s your chance to see the man.
The Trump Card
September 25, 2016
You original theatre artists. You inspiring makers. You smart, witty subversives. FUCK OFF!! Please crawl back in your hole. You’re making everyone else look bad. Liminal smacks Portlanders upside the head with a wholly unique live experience. Impressive audience turnout of non theatre people. This is why we go. EXCELLENT!
There are compelling dramatic threads and several strong performances here. But the central scaffolding does not always hold up. Perhaps too much direct address to audience, and not enough interaction between the characters. One thing that’s prescient though: One day Powell’s will go under. You heard it here first. Poof.
Unbearable lightness of chick lit drama. Childless, white, hetero, UMC yuppie writers labor mightily and sexily lest wider world fail to laud their heartbreaking works of staggering genius. Male asshole dead on believable, but why woman would be with him for 30 seconds strains credulity. Thin and devoid of any consequence.
There can be no crazier place on earth to inhabit than Will Eno’s brain. This great American playwright is a Salvador Dali of the stage. He takes everyday language and so warps and bends the ordinary that the result is entirely new and revealing. First rate production from Third Rail.
Terrifically exciting. Fantastic cast. Killing design and direction. Thank god for defunkt. Portland’s unpredictable, uncompromising black box tears into the most exciting season in town with fascinating study of exactly what Jon wants. Boy or girl? Or both. Neither? A completely satisfying night in the hands of blindingly bright playwright.
Whatever it is you sell, training your audience not to buy unless there’s a 50% off sale going is not good business.
What you want to be is a brand like Apple, where people line up around the block and clamor to buy cell phones for $1000 a piece.
Of course, to get people to pay full or premium price takes skill. You have to have a good product on offer. And you have to know how to market it.
So why does a place like Portland Center Stage have a permanent half off sale going for any show? To marketers with half a brain, this simply cannibalizes the market. Why would you subscribe to a theatre season if you know you can always get tickets for close to free last minute? If you keep an eye on Goldstar, you know that if there’s a show on at PCS, tickets will be in the booth for 50% off all the time. Simply being listed in the company of this show graveyard is not good for the brand.
Why does PCS do this? Why can’t PCS sell tickets for $100 a pop like Oregon Shakespeare Festival? Why can’t PCS sell tickets for more than about $25? Is it because the shows are no good? That’s part of it. But part of it may simply be that they have trained people to think that theatre isn’t worth much. And having picked up on that theme, now PCS and other large theatres without unique brands are in a pickle. Also, as theatres become ever more detached from actual ticket sales, the important metrics to show funders and foundations are attendance. No one seems to care if a theatre is in the red. But if an argument can be made that the theatre is “serving the community”, well then it seems like it’s worth subsidizing.
Of course it costs money to put on shows in a place like PCS, with all the absurd overhead and unions. So if tickets go for cheap to the end consumer, who makes up the difference? You do, my dear People’s Republic of Portland comrade. It’s one bail out after another, via PDC or arts tax, to keep the leviathan of PCS afloat.
In the real world this ship would have been scuttled long ago. But she keeps drifting along, practically giving away tickets while receiving zillions of dollars in grants to help leadership “find an audience”.
News flash: There’s not much of an audience for the kind of mediocre fare PCS loves. But make the best of it. At least if you have to go to shows there, you know it won’t cost much.
Whatever it is you do, chances are there’s a digital component to it. And increasingly, that digital touch point or interface IS the product – because its quality becomes a proxy for whether the user will go further and actually order/use/view the underlying thing or service. If the digital experience isn’t there, attention spans are short.
As devices proliferate, free time goes to zero, and new content piles up, do you have what it takes to create simple, intuitive digital experiences that cut through the static to delight and activate your audience?
To help you make sense of just what’s at stake and how state of the art digital is done these days, come join Portland’s own Connective DX for its annual three day Delight conference at the Portland Art Museum October 5-7. There’s a deep bench of thought and design leaders lined up.