Paying what you can

There was an article in today's Seattle Times about paying what you can for arts—case in point, Radiohead's new album. They also mentioned Seattle Rep's Pay What You Can nights (something other theaters in town also employ).

Seattle Repertory implemented a pay-what-you-will night for the usually light Halloween, and it sold out. Like many theaters, it holds one such night per performance, totaling around a half-dozen a year. The minimum cost is $1, but customers pay on average $5. But each show, there's always somebody who is willing to pay the full price of $40, because that's what they decide the show is worth, said Christy Carlson, the ticketing services manager.

The article also mentions KEXP, the band Maktub, SAM and more.

I've seen first hand the huge lines that form on the days that we offer Pay What You Can performances (usually the first Monday preview of a Bagley show). People love cheap tickets, but more than that, they love getting to decide what the experience is worth for them.

Wouldn't it be nice if everything was like that? Oh, yes Apartment Manager, this month I'll be giving you $50 because that's really what this place is worth.

Friends and Neighbors

In news from "across the lawn," Sheila Daniels was just named the Intiman's new associate director. Sheila is a fantastic director (anyone see Pericles at Seattle Shakes recently? Or Crime and Punishment at CHAC?). Plus she's just awesome, in general.

It's definitely a good thing for Seattle theatre and seems like a real effort by Intiman to bridge the gap between the few remaining mid-size theatres in town and the big houses. Bringing in artists from the "trenches" like Marya Sea Kaminski and Jen Zeyl as we did for My Name is Rachel Corrie proved to be a very good thing for everyone involved—the energy and vision around that show was palpable. And that was just for one production. I don't know about you, but I'm psyched to see what Sheila will do as a full member of their artistic team.

You can read the full scoop in the Seattle Times

One more thing...

Oh wait, one more thing and then really, I'm leaving. I saw The Cook on Friday, and it is one of my favorite plays I've ever seen at the Rep. I know you may be inclined to not believe me since I am biased, but here's the P-I's review and here's the Times.

If nothing else, know tickets are going fast, and if you want to see it, you should get your tickets now. It's the perfect show to bring your family, you know the ones who are in town and smothering your existence crammed in your house.

Feeling Blue

If you can't tell, I'm spending a good amount of time behind the camera lately. So, my last duty before heading off to three days of cooking, eating and eating some more, is sharing with you our latest behind-the-scenes video feature.

Check out One Minute With...Chuck Smith, director of Birdie Blue. I haven't seen the show yet because last night, while everyone else was watching the opening performance, I was in the kitchen swirling up gallons of the specialty cocktail, Sock It To Me Cider. The cider was great, so I think it was worth the price.

I can say the general feeling after the show was: "Wow." Great, acting and a really touching, heart-wrenching story. We survey our preview audiences, and one person said, "You must see this play. The actors are unforgettable in their roles. The story is touching and rings true. This play would touch anyone's heart and change their view of contemporary life."

So there you have it.

Feeding Our Interns

Seattle Rep has a great internship program. I know because I, along with about 10 other staffers came up through the illustrious ranks. You learn a ton and are treated as a bonafide member of the staff, not just some coffee monkey. And I also know living on a meager stipend means learning the fine art of food scrounging, happy hour searching, and artful begging.

Seattle Rep knows that stipend only goes so far, so come holiday time, every year the staff and volunteers in the Seattle Repertory Organization pitch in to buy food, gift certificates, toilet paper and other sundry items (sometimes beer).

But we make our interns work for their food. Check out the video of yesterday's intern feeding ritual. More information about the less mysterious parts of our internship program is available here.

The Price is Right

This article came out last week in the Seattle Times. In it art critic Sheila Farr does a check in on the new Seattle Art Museum, noting a decline in admission, possibly tied to an increase in ticket prices. Some people in Seattle have deemed $15 too much for an afternoon of art.

Last year on the other side of the country (and in a different sort of arts venue), Signature Theatre Company in New York did something unthinkable: They made every ticket for every seat $15. People came out in droves, especially young people.

The Rep's $10 ticket for anyone 25 and under is certainly popular, though not close to that level (every one of Signature's productions sold out). It costs $10 to see a movie, but when I ask my under-25 friends if they want to see a play for that price, they quite often balk, "That's a lot for something I don't even know if I'll like."

So where's the line? I'm curious how people decide what's too much for art. I know my measures: trust in the company/venue, knowing people involved, interest in the subject matter. I myself have hesitated to pay $15 for a fringe theater show but now that I'm putting up my own fringe show I have no hesitation in setting a $15 ticket price. All that work...of course it's worth the price of two cocktails.

What do you think? What will you pay for art?

I'm OK with bragging

The press says:

"The Cook is a genius at work: Zabryna Guevara is magic at The Rep"
—Seattle P-I

"The Rep's near-flawless production...favors (Eduardo) Machado's abundant humanism and humor" —Seattle Times

"A touching and heartbreaking tale...Eduardo Machado's beautiful script is powerful and pithy, and captures the soul of Cuba." —

The audience says:

"Ms. Guevara's portrayal was perfect. I loved her grace and emotion and strength."

"A must see! The Cook seduces you with its music, language and smells...DELICIOUS!"

"It was captivating. I love history and enjoyed seeing it come alive."

"My wife and I were riveted. Best show of the season."

Tickets are going like hot cakes (yum, hot cakes). Buy them here.

Tastes like Cuba

Since we've entered the age of technology and are now using video to show you what's going on behind the scenes and in the brains of our artists, I have been tapped to be official videographer. Needless to say, I am learning as I go. But the cool thing about making these videos is that I get to hang out with the awesome people who write, direct, act in and design the work that's on our stages. And sometimes they even cook for me.

On Friday I shot Eduardo Machado, the playwright of The Cook, and Michael Domitrovich, co-author of Eduardo's memoir/cookbook, making a traditional Cuban dish called Morros y Cristianos. I wish I could have left the footage unedited because what's not in the video is Michael talking about his first cooking experiment (blueberry muffins—his mom made the muffins, he put in the blueberries), Eduardo pretending to be downing vodka, and the two of them discussing how you might make this meal for breakfast.

Both of them were so incredibly funny and kind, and their food smelled amazing, even for a vegetarian like me (by the way, Michael said you can substitute the bacon for a 1/3 cup of olive oil).

Cuba, via the kitchen

From Joanna Horowitz, Communications Associate

Just got back from a conference in Miami, where I had the realization that just I was just 230 miles from Cuba. I knew that fact, but being in Miami drove it home. Miami is so influenced by that culture: everywhere I went the language, food and spirit of Cuba were present (just trivially...fried plantains and mojitos—yes, please).

This was so interesting to me because tonight we're opening The Cook, Eduardo Machado's play about a woman named Gladys who survives three decades of Cuba revolution by cooking. Since I've been out of town, I haven't seen the show yet, so I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have...please comment!