A guy walks into a gallery. You’ve heard this one? He has a wonderful solo act. We want so desperately to support his project. We give him rehearsal time, we give him feedback, we incubate his one man show. We give him a night. The audience loves him.
We pledge to produce his show in a run we’ve devised with another solo act (an incredible Beckett piece which I will extol at another time) in an effort to appease Equity and garner some interest from reviewers. As you may know, Equity* has very strict rules, which are not really designed for the not-for-profit world.
Can you see where this is going?
I can’t tell you how awful it feels to get a writer/performer like Fernando only to have to turn him away due to unreasonable economic requirements. If we take on the project and the requisite expenses imposed by Equity, we can’t afford to promote it. Advertising costs would eat our entire budget. Without advertising we can’t hope to get reviewed or to get enough audience to guarantee we would merely break even. Not only is this a devastating development for us and Fernando, but it also creates a bad situation for the Beckett piece. We want our artists to make money, but we feel trapped by this ugly circumstance.
“There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright Fernando
They were shining there for you and me for liberty, Fernando
Though we never thought that we could lose, there's no regret
If I had to do the same again, I would my friend, Fernando
If I had to do the same again, I would my friend, Fernando”
* Actors' Equity Association is the labor union representing American actors and stage managers in the theatre.