Short essay by Kerry Reid over at PerformInk.com on arts criticism and the state of theatre in America today.
So what I want this year is the courage for theatre companies and theatre artists to look calmly and clearly at the bottom line, to take an X-ray, if you will, of the underlying structures. I want board members to start asking if the money paid to actors (and designers, and stagehands, and musicians, and front-of-house staff) is fair, and how it measures up to the money spent on, say, patron amenities. I want corporations to stop setting up false dichotomies between donating to the arts and other social goods, like living wages and health benefits, especially when they have no problem paying eight-figure salaries with exorbitant stock options to their top executives. I want to never hear the phrase “unpaid internship” again – particularly if it’s coming from well-heeled cultural institutions that then wring their hands over how hard it is to build diverse audiences. And I want to see a few plays that suggest that maybe, just maybe, what we do to earn our living matters, because it has some effect on who we are, how we live, how we feel about the world, and how we contribute to the greater community good.