Monday, May 21, 2007

Petition worth signing

There's been some very good discussion online about the weaknesses of the current Actors Equity Showcase code for Off Off Broadway productions in New York. The fact that it has not been modified to account for the current financial realities of producing even small productions in New York is harmful to the whole Off Off Broadway scene. If you agree, you might want to check out this online petition.

To be honest, it's great that folks are getting together to talk about this with regard to OOB, but most other cities also need a better Equity contract for small productions. Los Angeles has its 99-seat plan, which is great, and a few other cities also have contracts for small theatres. But most, including Boston and Denver, have very limited options. I so wish that we had a small theatre contract for Boston (sub-99 seats) what would allow limited runs with limited budgets to hire Equity actors at more reasonable rates. I want to be able to pay actors a full Equity rate, sure, but sometimes small venues just can't handle that sized budget, especially with some of the additional requirements (Equity stage manager and other factors). Equity could provide its members with a lot more work and a lot more opportunities to be seen (and maybe sometimes small shows would be more likely to move up into SPT contracts) with a Boston waiver.

Monica Bauer, fellow playwright, put the question to the Dramatists Guild's Gary Garrison at a "town meeting" this weekend as to whether the DG would consider talking to Equity about the Showcase code. He seemed cautiously open to the idea, but it sure would be worthwhile for member playwrights, many of whose work is done OOB, to have the Guild try to engage in this discussion.

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