Sometime last week, a flyer for a dance performance called "Mr. Bear's Furniture Testing Center" came home in the kids' school folders. Cool, thought I. I mentioned it to the Diva. Cool, though she. We made plans to go to the Sunday matinee.
(Let me state up front that the event itself, a surreal mix of modern dance and stylized films, was great fun. Pooh Kaye and Victoria Lundell are a great pair. Percussionist Michael Suchorsky was like a third dancer. I could have done with a little less Walter Gurbo but ymmv. For the Austin-ites, the show felt like something Margery Segal and Jason Phelps would have come up with, if given a bear head and a few cardboard boxes.)
(Let me also state up front that one of the reasons I wanted to go was to support the Foothills Performing Arts Center, whose history is, at best, storied. But I want them to succeed. I do -- despite their best efforts not to.)
As the Diva and I waited to buy tickets, the ticket seller was giving a spiel to all of the would-be attendees standing there with kids. "The show really isn't intended for kids," Janet Hurley-Quackenbush said with a tone that made it clear that she though we were silly for even bringing children to an event advertised via flyers given out at their school. "We were trying to drum up attention for the workshop."
Here's the flyer. Let me know how effective it is at talking up the workshop.
"It's not inappropriate for kids," H-Q continued. "You should know that one of the films shows stick figures defecating." She then went on to assure us that her daughter was there - and seemed stunned that most of us brought our kids in anyway. "The first act's only 30 minutes. You can leave at intermission if you need to," she said after I bought a ticket. She didn't even charge me for the Diva.
Here's the thing.
Here's a couple of things:
- If you want kids to come to the workshop, clearly state your desires on the flyers you give them.
- Don't underestimate the intelligence of your audience or of children. The Diva really enjoyed herself at the performance. If she can parse Yo Gabba Gabba without her head exploding, she can handle modern dance.
- I appreciate the information about the pooping in the films. I do. But there's no need to give me an anti-sales pitch when I show up. Don't apologize for what you are presenting.
- Finally, bringing in unusual acts is part of what a performing arts center should do. Why are you so afraid of doing that?
Again, I want this Center to succeed - and I'm not the only one in town who does - but none of us can want it more than the organization itself does.
Again (again), the dance itself was lovely - but I didn't expect to spend so much time thinking about everything but what was going on on-stage.