January 9, 2009 by Jo
No, not THAT…
…the one where we opened The Book of Liz to 38 people at Pay What You Can night! WOOT!
Now I know some random person is reading this blog thinking, “Good grief…why is she so pumped about 38 people?”, so I will explain.
First of all, our theatre seats 85 people.
Secondly, it has taken a little while for our public to grasp the idea of Pay What You Can. Basically, we used to invite a limited number of people to attend the dress rehearsal free of charge as a sort of “preview”, if you will. That worked well; we’d have 10-15 people show up, we’d run the show, they’d give us practice reacting to/waiting on the audience.
BUT THEN…Jeff, Jason, Rosemary and I went to Nashville to see Tee’s company perform Twelfth Night. Happened to be Pay What You Can, so we did. I think we gave $8 a piece…but then dropped more in on the way out because the show was just that good.
When I took over on the Alpha Stage, I wanted to try it. Plus with community theatre there’s always the issue of comp tickets; we usually allow two per actor, which on a sold out night can really suck (“I’d love to SELL you tickets, but unfortunately I have no seats left because THEY ARE ALL FULL OF COMPS. Which are FREE.”). So we encourage the cast and crew to invite them to PWYC night, which they do, and that frees up tickets on regular price nights. We still award comps to people who can’t make it to PWYC, but the number shrunk considerably.
We tried it with Bug; the comp thing, the whole Pay What You Can thing…and it worked!! Not a huge crowd, but it worked, and we even made a bit of $$.
Then, with The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, it REALLY worked. 30 people, almost $150. Not bad!
So last night was our third try; maybe the community was finally grasping the idea of just dropping whatever they wanted in the donations bucket and seeing the show. And they did! 38 people, $180, who left RAVING about the show, who updated their Facebook statuses saying they LOVED it, who have already bought actual tickets for our next performances.
Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse, but it seems like this little idea will stick, and GROW. And maybe people who usually can’t afford even a paltry $12 ticket will be able to get some exposure to live theatre. And maybe, just MAYBE, we’ll make the impact on this town that we’re hoping to make.
And it will be SUBLIME.