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Scot Augustson

I agree with you about wanting to keep the big three theaters separate organizations (Although my reasons are probably different than yours.)
BUT, it got me thinking about other possible mergers. Imagine if WET merged with Seattle Opera (And tried to do a full ring cycle at the place on 19th.)
Or, if the Symphony did the score for the Brown Derby.
Or, if Intiman was the victim of a hostile take over by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Paul Mullin

I like all of those, Scot, very much!

But what if also, you and I finally merged and wrote that sitcom we know we have in out collective heart.

Scot Augustson

Paul: Do you mean the sitcom about the wacky adventures of Jonas Salk and his quest to rid the world of that pesky polio?

Omar Willey

Actually, I'm all in favor of the Intiman being taken over by the Savoyards...

Intiman is the only theater in town that I actually pissed off so badly that they requested I not review their productions back in 1993. It might have had something to do with my writing:

"Out of the 104 producing theater groups in Seattle, the Intiman has possibly the least distinct identity of all. Is it classic? Is it modren?[sic] Should it have two stages again? Or should it consolidate and staff its plays solely with Cornish interns? Can it seek to be as boring as a Rep production of Moliere? Should it?"

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, as the Frogs say.

My recollection of theatrical identities at that time is jaded, but something like this:

Intiman: Seattle's "classic" theater (or so they advertised themselves)

ACT: Contemporary plays, and whatever Steven Dietz happened to have lying around.

The Rep: a place to go to look at expensive sets and period furniture. And August Wilson. Lots of attempts to draw "marquee" names (Cleavon Little, Tom Hulce, Laurence Fishburne, etc.)

Empty Space: Contemporary plays that might actually deal with meaningful things but in an inoffensive way. Like ACT, except substitute Kurt Beattie for Steven Dietz, and add more talent.

The "fringe" theater groups and mid-sized theaters had much firmer identities. Everyone knew what Alice B. Theater did, or Seattle Children's Theater, or Seattle Public Theater, or Greek Active or New City or... (fill in the blank). And yet despite the diversity of theaters, there were nevertheless plays that were dying for an audience and a theater to produce them.

Part of what made Seattle attractive to theater groups in the late 80s/early 90s, I think, was the identity crisis that had set in among the "Big Theaters" was the semi-delusion that there were many unfilled niches, and that "if only we moved our theater group to Seattle we could teach those backwater hicks what theater really is" attitude I found so vulgar then as now.

I can only hope this current identity crisis leads to something similar, only without the attendant territorial pissing among smaller theater groups that unravelled the LOFT and other such noble ventures.

Paul Mullin

Omar, thanks as ever for your long-armed insights.

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