Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So Impressed with BAM

Last night, a representative from BAM called me. He began by noting that it was my first time buying tickets for a production there and he wanted to know what I had thought about As You Like It. My first response was shock, my second response was to begin speaking as quickly as possible. I've never had the opportunity to tell a professional theatre what I thought of their production (and I've certainly never taken the initiative to write to one after seeing a performance). That I hated the performance was beside the point; I felt all warm and gushy inside because I got to share my thoughts and, in some small measure, they counted. Someone at the organization actually cared.
Before my phone died (I couldn't believe it, I was so enjoying myself), the BAM representative and I had a wide ranging discussion (or was wide-ranging as you can get in 5-8 minutes) about directorial choices, competent Shakespearean training, and name-brand actors vs. relative unknowns. Throughout the conversation, I made it clear that I took issue with director Sam Mendes's choices and placed the blame squarely on his shoulders. My dislike of the production, at this point had nothing to do with BAM as an institution. Still, I think the rep was slightly taken aback-- after I had leveled the first criticism he did say, "Well, tell us how you really feel." To which I might have responded: sugar-coating my disdain doesn't do you any good.

Still without that call, I'm not sure how soon I would venture back to BAM. I certainly have no desire to go see The Tempest, the second play in the Bridge Project, directed by Mendes, and which starts in rep soon. I also didn't even know what was next in their season until that call. But after the call, I'm curious to see something else. I'm even hoping that I get called again. I like that this place called me. I'm just one of the unwashed masses, but BAM has democratized the experience. Even though I only bought a $31 ticket in the balcony, my opinion matters. They are blatantly cultivating my patronage and I love it.

BAM, I'll be back soon. Thanks for listening and for being so gracious about my informed dislike of the production. This is the start of a sustained interest in you as an institution and your productions. I'm looking forward to forming my second impression of you.