Friday, March 09, 2007

Why "'Night, Mother" doesn't exist in this dimension quite yet...

This started off as a quick reply to a comment in the previous post, but the words got a little out of control, to the point that it seemed to make more sense as a post of its own. So here it is.

In response to this question, from the comments on my previous post:
Admittedly I know nothing about plays, but why do you have to wait so long to direct ‘Night Mother? I would like to see it on stage, and I don't think you'd have a problem finding anyone to play either part. Or is it a matter of license?

It's a matter of the way our local community theatre club works. And that's intended to diss the local theatre club in any way -- I'm actually fond of the way it works.

Before the start of each season, anyone interested in directing a show for that season goes and proposes the show they want to do, explaining why they want to do it, why they think the show will be successful, and how the play to mount the production.

Following all the proposals the "proposal committee" spends a couple of weeks reading all the proposed plays, then gathers to discuss the proposals to plan the upcoming season. And, thus far, 'Night, Mother has not been part of a season.

I do know that the play isn't universally hated by the people who've sat on the proposal committees in the past. I know that there have been a number of people who fought in favour of the show, but ultimately lost their argument. And, admittedly, it's not a simple play, it's not an easy play, and it's not -- and this might be it's biggest hurdle -- a happy play.

But I love it. And so I keep proposing it, time and time again, confident that, eventually, I'll either hit a committee that's more on my side then against it, or I'll simply wear down those in opposition.

I'm currently a bit on the fence about proposing it for next season, but not because I'm on the fence about doing it. It's because I want to do the show for festival, and preferrably a festival held in Williams Lake, because of the complexity of the set as it exists in my mind. It'd be one thing to build a complicated set that can be torn down and then set back up again in four hours, its another thing entirely to take that set on the road. And I've already had my experiences with taking complicated sets on the road (as can be seen here). I'm in no hurry to do that again.

But then, who knows. I've got until April (I think) to figure out what I intend to propose next season, and 'Night, Mother could certainly end up in front of the selection committee again. And if not next year, maybe the year after. And the year after that. And the year after that. I mean, I've got to wear them down eventually, don't I?


Anonymous said...

If the committee changes then eventually you should get one that (at least the majority) likes the play. It's too bad that it not being a "happy" play would turn their decisions. Regardless it would keeps everyone’s interest all the way through. Either that or just force people you know onto the committee. Or lock the people who don't like it into a small dark room in a basement while the rest are voting on the plays. You know, whichever.

Todd said...

Yes, eventually I'll luck into a group where the majority wants to do the show, or eventually I'll just wear down everyone's resistance. That's my hope. And it isn't always a matter of it being a less-than-happy play -- part of the problem has been that it's a show with only two cast members, and bigger productions, that can include a larger number of theatre members, are often given stronger consideration. I think that played a part in the approval of "Welcome to the Monkey House" in the 2005 / 2006 season -- there were 12 cast members in that one. Also, I guess, no one kills themselves in Monkey House.