Songs for the Struggling Artist

Open Letter to American Theatre Magazine
August 31, 2010, 12:21 am
Filed under: art, business, dreams, theatre, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Dear American Theatre Magazine,

Recently, you asked me to fill out a survey. Your marketing team is clearly trying to figure out why subscribers cease subscribing.
I did it dutifully.
I tried to be helpful.
I answered the “rarely” and the “never” and the “not important to me”s.
I numbered 1 to 7.
I chose my priorities.
But when you gave me the opportunity to comment, I don’t think I really told the truth.
Yes, I quit subscribing to your magazine when I was painfully broke
but I’ve been broke before and kept it going.
This time, though, I thought it through and asked myself why I should.
And I realized that lately,
reading your magazine makes me feel bad about myself. Reliably.
It’s not your fault.
You’re the reflection of what is happening in the business of theatre. And in the past few years, I’ve begun to recognize more and more of the names on your pages. My friends are getting published in your folds; my old nemeses are getting your awards as I watch, laboring still in unpublicized fields. The magazine has moved from a world I was aspiring to, to the world around me, reflected in glossy photos. I’ve given up my ambitions to appear in the magazine myself. I can’t chase after publicity anymore. I can woo no more newspapers. I can come up with no more clever marketing ploys. All I can do is make theatre.
But my ambitious shadow follows me, waiting for the least opportunity to dwarf me and your headlines are its fuel.
I’m sorry American Theatre Magazine. It’s not your fault. There are interesting things to be found in your pages but I can not read them, not until I no longer long to be featured there.
I wish things were different, Magazine. If I could figure out how to change the limping system that you document, I would. I would find a way to help art be at the forefront, for the field to be recognized and valued in the eye of the general public, for every theatre artist to value his or her own worth regardless of fame or recognition.
I’m waiting for that cure. Meanwhile, I’m starving my ambitious shadow who longs for your news.
Til I’m happier and healthier,
An Anonymous Theatre Artist


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