On Cancelling Shows, Namely, Tonight’s

First, the bad news: There will be no show tonight.  Due to a complication with our lead actor, the Thursday (7/29) showing of “Tuned to a Dead Channel” had to be cancelled.

Then, the good news: However, the rest of the shows will arrive precisely on schedule.  “Tuned to a Dead Channel” will finish its World Premiere run by playing on Friday (7/30) and Saturday (7/31) at 8 pm and on Saturday and Sunday (8/1) at 2 pm.

Lastly, thoughts regarding: It really, really sucks to have to cancel a show, especially last minute (as with Sunday’s show), especially when publicity has gone out already claiming the show will exist, on time, ready and waiting for your eager approval (as with tonight’s show).

Just kidding about the “lastly”: If you’re trying to get a theater company off the ground, your entire aim is to generate good will.  This good will comes from people enjoying the shows you put on.  If audiences don’t like your show, then it’s unlikely they’ll be eager to see another one.  Of course, this isn’t always true: theater companies, like any artist, have to grow and mature into themselves so that, ideally, their work gets better and better, and their plays grow more and more satisfying.

This is another paragraph: The good will also comes from providing all the accoutrements of good service (since theater is a service industry) outside of the production.  The ticket takers and concession staff are personable and friendly.  Shows start on time (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).  And when you say that you will have a performance on a specific date, you will, indeed, have a performance on that date.

Once cheated on, never again: At least that’s the ideal.  And, according to that mentality, people who come to see a Theater 42 show, who go out of their way to plan a night (or an afternoon) centered around theater, our theater, and are then stood up – well, they may never give us another chance.

A plea for understanding: And yet, things happen.  Shit happens.  Innumerable accidents could take our play out of commission because, as a small theater, we have no understudies, we have no contingency plan, all we have are a dedicated group of actors and tech crew that have volunteered their considerable skills and long hours towards creating a work of art that will only exist, in this form, for two weeks.  A mayfly versus Broadway’s tortoise.

Our own understanding, in turn: You know nothing of our difficulties, and we don’t expect you to.  All you know is that our play – that we said was going to be performed at such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time – is not going to be performed tonight.  We’ve failed in delivering what we promised.

What we continue to promise: To the best of our ability, we will keep this from happening again.  We will take you into the theater, sit you down, and perform for you a play.  And you will like it.

We hope: We hope.

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