Ben’s Odyssey #2: Another Awesome Rant

This is my second week of my internship here at The Odyssey Theatre so it is only appropriate to follow up on my rant from last week. Here I am taking a photograph of myself (I refuse to use the “S” word) by a poster for The Lonesome West, which was written by my all-time favorite playwright, Martin Mcdonagh.

20140624_174720_resized

My time here over the past week has been well spent, interacting with patrons at the box office and hopefully sending out some laughs through by taking over the Facebook and Twitter account. I have also had the opportunity to sit in on a production meeting for our upcoming show, Broadway Bound, as well as the weekly staff meeting that is held. During these meetings I am realizing all of the components that make up a theatre company and all the variables that go into becoming successful. By the way… Really excited for Broadway Bound. Jason Alexander (you probably know him as George Costanza from Seinfeld) is directing the show. He was in the original broadway cast and I can only imagine the insight and authenticity that he will bring to the production.

When I first started interacting with the LA Theatre community on social media sites I thought it would be a bit more ruthless and cutthroat. What I discovered was a blossoming town full of artists that truly seem to be looking out for another. I go and see theatre on a weekly basis. Side note: I decided to treat myself to a double feature on Sunday, seeing Penelope at Rogue Machine Theatre and The Country House at The Geffen. Both were excellent shows and while I am not going to review the two shows I will say that I was struck with an idea, a thought while theatre hopping. We all know that the current state of funding for the Arts in general has been suffering and I am seriously disappointed by the amount of viewers under the age of 30 who attend theatre.

My generation is kept hostage to the alluring lights of movies and television, often shelling out $12-15 dollars for a single ticket. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the cinema. Quite the opposite. I religiously follow the films of Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tarantino, Charlie Kaufmann, etc. But I have stopped going to the movie theatres completely. I don’t care about 3-D movies, constant quick shots, fancy editing and to be honest I’d rather watch it in the comfort of my home on Netflix via my Playstation. Why waste the money on seeing something that is literally…permanently captured on film when I could go and watch a once-in-a-lifetime performance at a local theatre. Now of course, this is solely my opinion and I’m not expecting everyone or even anyone to agree with me.

To wrap up this entry, I propose that we try to reveal theatre to younger audiences and educate them on the importance of being able to sit in a room for over an hour without dragging their fingers across the glass of their smartphone. I feel as though the art of conversation is dying. Maybe, just maybe, with the right amount of push, we can flip around this whole industry in order to grow and expand the minds of those around us. Just a thought. Feel free to disagree. Talk about it. Because ultimately, art gets people talking, whether it is good or bad. And we need more of that. Until next week.

Ben’s Odyssey #1

Hi there! My name is Benjamin Schwartz, The Odyssey Theatre 2014 summer intern!

20140618_131910_resized

I am a senior at Cal State Northridge, have been involved in theatre for the better part of my life and have a passion for writing plays. Every summer, The Los Angeles County Arts Commission provides funds to many theatres in LA so that they can hire an intern for a ten-week period. These jobs are invaluable to students, providing true experience in the field we are looking to start a career in. As for myself, I feel truly blessed to have been chosen among many qualified candidates to work at The Odyssey, which was my first choice among the companies I submitted to. The Odyssey theatre truly blends the experience of a small Los Angeles theatre with a level of professionalism that any company should strive for.

My goal in this blog is to provide entertainment through multimedia and links to interesting articles including but not limited to The Odyssey and Los Angeles theatre. I find that whenever I tell people about my interest in theatre the most common question I am immediately asked is, “So when are you moving to New York?” This tells me that there is still a stigma that the best theatre is supposedly still in New York. Newsflash: this is not the case. Heck, most people don’t even understand the difference between Broadway and Off-Broadway (It has to do with the number of seats in the venue). As an avid attender of plays and musicals in Los Angeles, I can say that we have great productions that start here in LA and end up going to New York, plays that tend to take more risks and also hold a discerning, intelligent audience.

With all this being said, I am truly excited to be working for The Odyssey Theatre this summer whenever and wherever I can. I hope to gain a solid understanding of the inner-workings of a successful 99-seat theatre along with the fun and hardships that go along with it. As I write this blog, rehearsals for our next production, Broadway Bound, are underway. At the helm of the production is Jason Alexander directing, who was in the Original Broadway Cast. This Pulitzer-nominated play by Neil Simon is a show that any fan of theatre will not want to miss.