Pretend for a moment you are the artistic director of an independent theatre company. Your company has just taken on a very difficult show. It is is brand new company and this show is the first of the season. It is very important for the success of the company that it is well received. You are a diligent and conscientious director so you have spent a huge amount of working very hard with a talented cast. Not surprisingly, because of this effort you are very emotionally invested in the play/cast.
In spite of all this effort, however, opening night is only days away and you realize the show will not be ready. The actors are great but the technical side has not come together well. The set is incomplete and the actors have never run the show with lighting and sound. At best, even with rehearsing around the clock, opening night will be a glorified dress rehearsal.
To complicate matters further your press relations team has done a fabulous job and reviewers from TV, radio, and print have already agreed to show up opening night to review the piece. It took a lot of effort to set this up and if they all pan the show it may impact severely on future audiences. What do you do? Please also briefly explain your reasoning.
1. You delay the opening. You apologize and explain the situation to the reviewers. They might reschedule. They also might not come at all. You may lose money and a little respect, but you turn opening night into a second dress rehearsal and make it a “pay what you can” show.
2. You fake it! Maybe no one will notice these shortcomings and if they do you will say that you meant the show to appear raw and rough. It was a conscious aesthetic choice. Defy anyone who says otherwise and fire up the actors to give the best performance they can. You charge full price.
3. You send a letter to the reviewers explaining the situation and begging them to come on a later night to review. You have lots of contacts in the community. By calling in a few favours you might be able to pull this off and the reviewers will agree to come later. You charge full price.
Question 2: Who is more important the reviewers or the audience? Why?