Thursday, April 16, 2009


I click around a lot. I'm not ashamed of that. Recently I've been starting at the "Theatre in Chicago" entry at Wikipedia and clicking through the websites of companies I like, or about which I'm interested in learning, or the ones with the neatest names, or the ones with the most obnoxious names.

I've found that theatre company Mission Statements are better than celebrity upskirts to entertain and make one feel self-righteous at the same time.

As far as I can tell (and to protect the guilty I'm not going to parade examples in front of you--you'll just have to go exploring) there are a global total of five different mission statements in the theatre:

1. Our mission is to get you to attend our plays using the most popular artistic keywords possible.

2. Our mission is to get you to click off this page without reading it, daunted to embarrassment by the 1500-word block of text in front of you.

3. Our mission is to meet 501 (c)(3) requisites by having a Mission Statement and a Board.

4. Our mission is to fix what's wrong with the world through make-believe,

and (the deadliest one of all, but far too common among the newer companies and some of the older ones)

5. Our mission is to fix what's wrong with theatre. We know you hate it and we're here to rescue you.

Tell me, is there anyone out there who has mastered the Mission Statement? Are some of the Mission Statements I've seen really good, and I just missed something? What does a good one look like? Are there a million other blogs out there that have already put this issue to bed? (If there are, please send me and about 300 Chicago Theatre Companies the link.) I know, I know, I missed all the pertinent workshops at the Expo the other weekend. Right now, though, I wonder if the Mission Statement should be left entirely to the grant applications and the board meetings and far far away from the ticket-purchasing public. I wonder if the only public statement a company should make is "Come see three of our plays and then tell us what we're doing."* I wonder if anything other than that is limiting and artificial and dangerous. I'm not saying any more...more than any post heretofore, I really want you to sound off on this. Go!

*I think that our own Halcyon (which IMHO has a pretty stomachable Mission if it's a little nebulous) has almost been doing that in an implicit way for a while. I wonder if we could just formalize that, T.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ond Lhal Ehtsach Ta Clerbabs (Tub I Tabe Mhi Yawyan)

Today's post is dedicated to the AWG, who called me a lazy blogger. I told him if he only went cow-tipping once a week, he wouldn't be considered a lazy cow-tipper, or even your run-of-the mill enthusiast. No, he'd be a cow-tipping authority, and no one would question his dedication to the artform.*

The title is inspired by Brian Seitel, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author.

OK, that's it. Talk to you soon. Aren't you glad you schlepped your hump all the way here?

*I didn't actually tell him this at the time, but I woke up at 3 a.m. wishing I had.