KQED Perspective aired Dec. 29, 2000

NEW YEARS RESOLUTION- Support Local Theater

By Michael Ellis

January is considered the first month of the year simply because Julius Caesar said so in 46 BC. Janus, the two-faced deity the month was named after, was believed to look simultaneously at the past and toward the future. So that is what we are supposed to do – reflect on the previous year and resolve to change things in the upcoming one.

And in case you don’t have enough of your own resolutions I have another for you.

Support your local theater company. There are many of them in the Bay Area – Shotgun Theater in Berkeley, the City Light Theater in San Jose, the Marin Theater Company in Mill Valley and my local one is Actors Theater of Santa Rosa. They are such a gift to the community. They consist of your friends and neighbors involved in a labor of love. Believe me no one is in it for the money, there isn’t any. Local productions are convenient and inexpensive. They are intimate. They take chances and push against the edges. They do fail sometimes but they mostly they succeed grandly. Buy a season ticket, take your friends, introduce children and young people to live performance. It is much better than TV – real, not virtual.

I recently saw Actors Theater do Tony Kushners Angels in America . It was ten minutes from my house, no problem parking, a third row seat, superb acting in an excellent script. Three nights later I am at the hottest theater production in America – Sam Shepherds the Late Henry Moss staring those bad boys – Sean Penn, Nick Notle, and Woody Harrelson. Tickets are being scalped at 300 bucks. Travel time from home is 2 hours in heavy traffic, parking $15, I’m sitting in far off balcony seats, and after 3 hours of screaming alcoholics and Nolte crawling around on the stage, I have a headache and am thinking that Sam Shepherd really should be over his miserable childhood by now. What was all the hype about? I began to long for my hometown theater group.

So next year buy a season ticket to yours, you’ll be glad you did. This is Michael Ellis with a Perspective.

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August 6, 2009