Many of the schools I considered when applying for my MFA include production of the thesis as part of the process. UNO, unfortunately, does not. Because of this, I’ve been finding myself more involved with the local community and engaging with theatre-makers all over the city.
In particular, I’ve been working with Southern Rep, which has produced several of my ten-minute plays as part of their 6×6 series, and in December, they asked me to create a 30-minute one-act for the next 3×3 production. Last semester, I interned with the Shadowbox Theatre (about to change its name to the Old Marquer); I’ve assisted at the New Orleans Fringe, volunteered as usher, worked box office at UNO, and by last count, seen more than 120 shows.
While there’s clearly a market for theatre, and a regular crowd that follows the stage, getting new works produced remains a tricky proposition. I’ve decided, therefore, to take matters into my own hands, and start producing work myself.
South of Uqbar will be the vehicle for that process. It will be a light-weight production company: no building, no staff, just me, and whoever wants to join in for the next production. The first project will be a weekend of one-act plays by three local playwrights (one of whom, naturally, is me) called Real|Unreal.
This, I expect, will be an education in itself. Already, in the first week, I’ve taken on the roles of producer, graphic designer, web master, photographer, marketing and PR guru, advertising agent, and, for one of plays: director. At least I have some actual training for the latter (and, I should admit, for being a webmaster, as well).
Expect to be updated from time to time on the trials and tribulations of producing plays, and wish us an audience. Based on what we’re paying the actors and tech, we’ll need to draw an an average of 15 people/night to break even. While that doesn’t sound like much, I’ve been to shows with fewer audience members, and at the moment, nobody knows who we are.