Rant on.


Tonight I attended the Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s Season Selection event.  Different from last year, they allowed six members to give a presentation to explain why their work should be produced next season.  Audience members were invited to ask questions after each presentation, but more importantly, they were given two chips with which to cast their vote as to which projects might actually be produced.


Think about that.  A producing group is not only asking for input, they are actually allowing folks to influence their season.  At the end of the night, one of the six suggested productions would be eliminated by a public vote, but perhaps more importantly, the top vote getter would significantly improve its odds of being produced.


I’m going to put this event against some recent history in Milwaukee.  The Milwaukee Generals are only a few weeks in the past.  The sign-up for said auditions caused quite a bit of angst.  Some folks who weren’t able to procure an audition slot were quite upset and quite vocal in the social media world, and criticized the process and essentially bemoaned the fact that they weren’t able to audition, which meant that they had no chance of being included in the Milwaukee theatre scene, whatever that may mean.  Professionalism was called into question.  This is really sad to me.  The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre does this as a service to the other theatre companies in Milwaukee, but more importantly, to the actors in Milwaukee.


Posting all of that on social media is funny in a lot of ways, not least-wise the fact that getting a slot at the Milwaukee Generals guarantees nothing.  I would have to contact all of the theatre companies involved, but I think it’s a fair guess to say that few people get specific jobs from a specific appearance at the Milwaukee Generals.  Some companies already have their seasons cast by then and some companies are looking for really specific types for a really specific character.   Still, it’s a great chance to put yourself out in front of a bunch of theatre companies and remind them that you are still out there and available for work.  And some of those folks will be cast or at least called back for roles.  Some of them.


But those companies aren’t closed for business.  How many of the folks who couldn’t get in to the Generals asked the individual companies if they could come in and audition for them personally?  My understanding is that out of the folks who were most upset and critical of the process via social media, not one of them thought it might be a good idea to schedule a personal audition.  Of course, lambasting a company for their practices publically is probably the death knell for future work with said company, but still.  Scheduling a personal audition with a specific company in which the auditor from that company would be likely to have far more time with said auditioner and be able to give much more useful feedback than the three minutes and no feedback you’ll get at the Milwaukee Generals, is likely to yield better results.


And this brings me back to tonight’s preview of Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s Season Selection event.  How many of you folks that were up in arms about not getting into the Milwaukee Generals were present?  Here’s a theatre that is actively encouraging new folks to get involved and once again it was poorly attended.  At some point it’s not anyone else’s fault but your own that you’re not being asked to participate in the arts.  Get off your collective asses and ask not what these theatre companies can do for you, but what you can do for them.


Rant off.