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Paul Mullin

Patrick? I personally insulted you? I'm sorry you feel that way but I just re-read my comment above and I don't see it. I can't speak to the other instance because I honestly don't remember what you're talking about.

This has always been a rough and tumble place, though I try to ultimately be respectful and I certainly don't allow anonymous trolling. Your "there's no crisis" argument has the whiff of outrageous trollishness about it. That's what I'm addressing. We just lost one of our Big Three Theatres and you say, "Artistically, I don't think they were important." That's an opinion. And a somewhat trollish one at that. When you go there I tend to go with you. But I see nothing personal about my ripostes.

Beginning a paragraph with "Lamenting the fact..." when I've done nothing of the sort, and you know it, is baiting.

Don't hit and run, Patrick. Stay and fight. It's just electrons. They won't hurt you.

Paul Mullin

BTW: Gillian Jorgensen and Bret Fetzer have both served as artistic directors of Annex, Jim Jewell serves as Managing Director of NewsWrights United for which I serve as Executive Director. And those are just the names and titles that leap easily to mind. I'm pretty sure nearly everyone who has responded here has either run a theatre or producing organization at some point

In fact, looking at the list of names I couldn't invent one that would be be a better representation of people who "go out and change things."

Patrick Lennon

You haven't respected by opinions on this thread. Neither did you when the discussion was about resident playwrights. Rather than say "I disagree with you, and here's a point to refute yours" or even "That's a good point, but what about?", you dismiss me as a troll, or as a child in the previous case.

If my opinions don't matter to you, I'm not likely to share them with you again.

Yes, several of the people commenting here have run/do run companies (Brandon Ivie at Contemporary Classics is one you missed). But are any of these companies in crisis? Do any of them need "fixing"? I'd say no.

And I applaud your and Jim's efforts with NewsWrights United - but how about instead of writing endlessly about the Empty Space or Intiman being dead, you put that extra energy into turning NewsWrights into the next "important Seattle theatre"? Imagine the day that NewsWrights had a permanent home in the Playhouse at Seattle Center (or even a funky little space in Fremont, or Cap Hill), and was a thriving union house putting actors, directors, designers and writers to work.

We talk entirely too much in this town (and I'm guilty of that, no question). There isn't enough doing. The viaduct (whatever your opinion) is a case in point.

The real question is, why are we all blogging and commenting instead of doing? So I'm going to stop. And go back: to teaching the next generation of theatre goers and doers; to doing what I can to save Seattle Public from being the next theatre on Brandon's list; and maybe, if I'm feeling it, to helping start the next theatre on my list.

Actually, and I swear no snark is intended here, isn't that what you'd said you were going to do, Paul? And you've pulled us all back into cyberspace. We're all to weak to resist the siren call of the interwebz.

Brandon Ivie

I don't think the passion of this conversation comes from lamenting these fallen companies, but the hope that our current companies don't follow in the same footsteps (and the fear that they will). How do we keep those companies you speak of (Book-It, Seattle Shakes, Wooden O, Seattle Public, WET, etc.) from following the same fate as these other companies? A sense of history and perspective is helpful in understanding the difficulties and trends in running and maintaining a theatre company in Seattle. To keep saying, "Oh well, theatres come and theatres go" means that theatres will keep going. Imagine if all those theatres were still around.

What's interesting is that, as far as I know, almost none of the theatres you mention were founded because these other theatres went under. Book-It, Seattle Shakes, ArtsWest and Seattle Public were all founded in the late 80's/early 90's while those theatres were all still around. WET sprung out of a class project at UW, and Balagan was formed after a trip to Israel. To my knowledge, only New Century was formed in response to the current "crisis". So to say that there will be a chain reaction of a new theatre surfacing to take the place in the community of a fallen organization doesn't really work, especially when most of these companies you mention have clear vision statements for the kind of work they do, none of which directly align with any of our fallen compatriots. I have yet to see a multicultural theatre company, a gay theatre company, an experimental theatre company, a multidisciplinary arts company, or a fringe festival spring out of the closure of these companies. There is hope (like the recent festival of playwrights of color at ACT and the Hansberry Project), but none have reached the stature or regularity of the ones who came before.

I think its the conversation about what happened at all these sadly defunct companies that will help keep our current theatrical landscape alive while being able to grow more companies. There's no denying that Seattle has a great theatre scene, but just imagine if we had the forsight in the 90's to know how to keep those theatres alive. Let's learn from those mistakes, and the only way to learn from them is to talk about them.

Finally, while some may or may not call the current theatre climate in Seattle a "crisis," if we don't call it that then no one will do anything about it.

Paul Mullin

Once again Brandon, you say exactly what I wanted to say only WAY better than I could have, and I thank you for it. For that reason alone I believe talking in *addition* to doing is crucial to bringing the level of Seattle's Theatre up to World Class. Virtual conversations like these help us all think things through so that we can sharpen our approaches. Scientists have these kind of informal shit-shooting sessions all the time, in which they share information and argue and encourage and generally better get to know each other. It's not empty effort. It actually helps. And I can't drink with ALL of you, as much as I would like to. ;-).

I know I promised to shut up, but as everyone will recall, this post began with my advancing the thinking of Rebecca Olson. I didn't say I would shut everyone up. I didn't even say that I wouldn't speak when spoken to. I've said it before: there's a whiff of the kapo about someone who insists we don't talk about our problems. Just who are we seeking to please by being silent?

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