Last night, Melbourne's theaterati gathered to thank Alison Croggon for eight years of Theatre Notes. Melbourne's theatre people are bloody lovely and generally create amazing stuff, so why are there so many empty seats in town this week?
I had to leave the party to go to Short and Sweet: Theatre. I missed some drunk pontificating (thank you Twitter for the photos) and the chance to write in Alison's book of thanks, but I saw the strongest week of Short and Sweet; saw it with a handful of people. There were more people on the stage than in the audience. That sucks.
Sweet Short and Sweet offers
OK, so some past Short and Sweet plays have been bad. And by bad, I mean so atrociously dull or ranty that their ten minutes was enough for many to decide to never go to S&S again. I stopped writing about S&S because it just wasn't fair. This is theatre that should be supported, seen and loved, but it aint ready to be reviewed.
This year's program has had its share of shockers (I'm one of the not-so-anonymous judges), but there have also been some delights. It's these writers and creators who will be welcomed and written about by the theaterati and are worth seeing now.
Week 3 of S&S is the most consistent week by far. A couple need to go back for another draft, but the rest are terrific. It's the first week that I've scored a play full marks (two of them actually) and there's one that has so divided opinion that I want everyone to see it. I loved it.
So don't let the fearsome ghost of S&S past keep you away this week. Or there's the gala on the weekend. Book here.
If a $30 ticket is keeping you away, there are options.
Lasttix have a 2 for 1 deal. $15 is less than a movie.
Halftix have $18.50 tickets, if you're in the city.
Join the wonderful new enterprise Little Birdy Tix.
For $55, you can get two tickets to S&S Week 3 AND to the Gala AND to S&S Cabaret AND and you'll score freebies to all sorts of shows (including films and music) for the NEXT YEAR!
$55 for a YEAR of shows! For that, it doesn't matter if you see some duds.
Pompeii, L.A. for half price
Another show with a Lasttix and a Halftix offer is Pompeii, L.A.
As this is the best piece of theatre on in town this week, I have no idea why it's not sold out. I'm still fumbling for the right words, but the reviews have been exactly what it deserves. Here's Chris's and it was Alison's last official TN review. And as a bonus, the Herald Scum hated it!
Last week, someone asked me if it's worth seeing. Hell yes! He then asked, "Is it worth $58?"
That's a significant amount of money.
But it's wonderful, intelligent, mind-fucking theatre.
If $58 is keeping you away from Pompeii, L.A., get to LastTix for a $35 ticket or Halftix for a $34.50 ticket.
ATP, perceived value and blah
I know that if I didn't write about theatre, there's no way that I could see so much theatre.
I used to work on the side of the arts world that puts complex ATP (average ticket price) formulas into Excel (remember to include your comps in that calculation) hoping to find a magic number that promises a break even budget while ensuring that the people who want to see a show can afford to see it. Theatre companies need income and income comes from ticket sales, so managers and marketers talk about price points and perceived value and do everything possible to get pre-sales, subscriptions and keep subscribers happy.
But ticket price still keeps people away from theatres, especially artists and students and freelancers who want to see a lot of theatre and should see a lot a theatre so that their own artistic practise will be better.
I don't know the answer to this problem. If I did, I'd be selling it to every company in the country and be able to afford tickets to every show I wanted to see.
In the meantime, last minute deals are a great way to get the price down for those who need it. And I've always believed that giving an empty seat away is better than making performers face empty seats.
MTC and Red Stitch offers
Last weekend, MTC were giving away tickets to Elling for full-time students. Best to keep an eye on their Facebook page for more offers.
And I hear that Midsummer at Red Stitch hasn't sold out. Really!? It's gorgeous.
Best place to for deals is Red Stitch's Facebook page. This morning there was a double pass on offer.
Pompeii, L.A. photo by Pia Johnson
Elling photo by Jeff Busby
Midsummer photo by Jodi Hutchinson