Theater Throw Up: Day After the 4th (Written on the 5th)

By James Haro

Happy Post-America Day! I hope everyone drank responsibly. I know I did. Grandma and a 6 year old were over at my family’s house so I couldn’t get too drunk, I’m not one for that kind of drinking anyhow. I was working on a good buzz throughout the night though, shoveling barbeque chicken, steak, and ratatouille down my gullet. I caught some fire works from my backyard, wrestled with some dogs, began to watch the movie “Paul” before I decided that I’d rather be asleep. And now it’s the morning after and I feel well enough, but still have the urge to spew. So here we go…

Rock Show It was the first time I’d ever seen a show at the Roxy on Sunset. One of my favorite musical artists, Ida Maria, was performing and I was lucky enough to see this Norwegian rockstar in my hometown. I for one love the culture of small rock clubs. Stickers and tagging in the bathroom, sometimes disco balls, security personell telling you where you can’t stand, the mixture of completely apathetic onlookers and insanely into it rockers, and OH, the booze. It’s gritty but safe, loud but humble. Venues such as the Roxy really allow you to get up close and personal with the artists. You see their faces, their expressions, their demeanor. The energy of the performer is allowed to wash over the audience and infiltrate them. People move about freely between and during acts. It made me wonder how the rock show model would enhance or detract from an evening of theater. First off, starting time. The show started at 8. Of course there were openers, none I’d heard of, so after my friend and I parked we first went looking around for a cup of coffee. We walked almost 5 blocks before we  found a place (LA is NOT NY). We came back for the tail end of the first act’s set, then an act break when I went to the bar for a Stella. The lights were turned down but the doors were kept open. People could come in and leave as they liked. Obviously the thought of people coming and going during a play seems annoying, but I don’t know, if the lobby was kept dimly lit and the doors were kept open and there were seats reserved for latecomers in the back. I also wonder about large Broadway or Regional houses featuring smaller companies, one acts before full length plays, or one-person shows, you know, to act as “openers.” This of course couldn’t always be the case, say there isn’t enough space on stage or there is not curtain,  but I don’t see why it couldn’t happen. Picture a show going on as people come in and find their seats, an opportunity to feature up and coming artists. Obviously a lot more thought has to be put into it than in what I’m suggesting but I like the idea of young producers or agents collaborating and negotiating with touring companies to get an unheard of playwright’s one act to open for Le Mis at the Ahmanson, a return to an almost vaudevillian time. All in all, I really love the energy and passion displayed (when it’s displayed) in live music. There is theater happening when people are bouncing around on stage, lights flashing, people looking on. If we married the ideas behind presenting plays and rock shows I wonder what the child would look like. It leads me to my second heave…

Informal vs. Formal For some, going to the theater means dressing up and going to see art. For others, going to the theater means throwing on jeans and going to see entertainment. I find that depending on the evening I’ll do either, but I always think it’s funny when I hear people complain that no one dresses up for the ‘thea-tuh’ anymore. They are the people who think that our society lacks class, unlike America in the 20’s-50’s. I don’t know where the nostalgia for the “good old days” comes from, probably television, but I certainly won’t look differently at someone who chooses to wear a t-shirt to a play, I am that guy most of the time. I don’t know what/if it says anything about the state of theater that people would find someone else’s choice of clothing bothersome. Do too many people still believe theater to be a class worthy thing? Does that need to change? Certainly I’d rather someone come to the theater in shorts than in a tux. I think I’d trust the person in shorts more not to be a dick. I’d rather theater be represented by normal, casual people than uptight suits. Maybe it’s just because I’m young, but I think it’s something deeper. I think I just despise pomposity of any fashion and I hate when it injects itself into the arts. But I don’t know, maybe it’s like telling a lizard to lose the scales.

WELL, I feel better now.

Or, not quite, as always there’s one last…

If you’re at the theater to display how much you dislike theater, leave the theater.

Alright, I’m done.


James Haro is a Los Angeles native currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia, seeking his BS in Entertainment and Arts Management, Theatre Concentration. He co-operates a blog and produces/co-hosts the podcast ANGRY PATRONS RADIOEpisode #0.99 NOW UP! (Click here)


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