So many people have come up to me during the previews of House of Gold to discuss the show, and it’s no surprise. Greg Moss’ devilish script, combined with Sarah Benson’s eye-popping multi-media production, yields a rich but complex theatre going experience. Knowing this in advance, Woolly has made a special offer which you may have seen in our tabloid-style playbill–you can come back to see House of Gold a second time for free, with promotional code 1036. I invite you to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Woolly Mammoth’s mission is to produce plays that explore “the edges of theatrical style and the human experience.” House of Gold allows us to partner with our patrons to explore just where those edges lie.
As compared with, let’s say, Sara Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play, House of Gold is not trying to create a real world for us to lose ourselves in as audience members. By subverting our expectations for a linear narrative, and by constantly reminding us that we are in a theatrical environment, the play keeps making room for us to supply meanings of our own. I keep thinking about our season’s theme, “a striptease of your subconscious,” and the way House of Gold functions like a Rorschach test for what’s inside our own brains. During the play, we don’t see anything really horrible happen to JonBenet. But because we know she was murdered, we see every character as a suspect, and our minds fill in all sorts of perversions at every turn. The innocence of JonBenet’s relationship with Jasper serves as a sweet counterpoint to the grotesque adult characters, each of whom attempts to make her into an embodiment of his or her own unfulfilled desires.
I am enormously proud of this production, and once again amazed by how our Woolly audiences are rising to the challenge presented by one of American’s boldest and most ambitious young playwrights. There will be many opportunities for dialogue around House of Gold, including post-show conversations after every remaining performance through November 28. Please visit Woolly’s website for more details, and make your voice heard by e-mailing email@example.com. You can read more of my personal reflections about the show on Woolly’s blog: www.woollymammothblog.com. I keep learning more and more about the play with every chance to talk about it, and look forward to your insights as part of our collective inquiry about House of Gold.
~Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director
Monday and Tuesday of this week were our two Pay-What-You-Can performances for In the Next Room or the vibrator play. This time around, a few of our staff members worked the line in various ways with the intention of having engaging interactions with our patrons. I was asked to present the results in a senior staff meeting on Wednesday, and instead of editorializing the content I thought I’d just copy and paste my notes here (typos and all!):
Experience with OMLOTR and what I learned
- most were happy to chat
- most were at Woolly for the first time
- many were slightly bored. I noticed they played with cards, books, iPads, phone. As a solution I passed out the season brochure
- since the line was inside, people asked if we could open the cafe
- a few asked what to do in the area before the show started
Intention behind VIB PWYC
- To resolve issue of what to do, I had the idea to pass out a coupon to Busboys as another way to engage our show sponsor and to help the patrons find a place to eat.
- Invite connectivity to “connect” with the audience.
- Continue market research with person to person contact
This is what happened
- Sales goodie bag
- Max secret desires on Monday
- Rachel podcast on Tuesday
- Alli survey on Mon, Katie survey on Tues
- After sell-out on both days I (and Rachel and Tom) grabbed postcards in the lobby that had the schedule on the back to assist patrons with being able to more easily select a future performance date
This is what we experienced
- people upset about us selling out. could we have a counter? Why can’t we let them know?
- Several people (mostly overflow) asked about other ticket programs. Under 25, stampede seats.
- most people were happy to talk to me
- one asked me if i was passing out information on the history of the vibrator.
- since we didn’t do the drawing on stage as it said on the form, I said that they would have to provide some sort of contact information in order that we get in touch with them should they win. This is the number of surveys that were returned. (show large stack)
- Didn’t get great qualitative data, but it seemed like it was a fair mix of young and old, first timers and newbies.
- Some people were anxious about the weather.. would they be moved inside?
- Someone mentioned that Shakes. does it online now. Why don’t we, do which I responded they wouldn’t be able to talk to us!
- One was a regular PWYCer. She didn’t know we had moved the time to 6. “It always started at 6:30!” Since she didn’t regularly check our website/FB/Twitter she didn’t know about the change.
- Maura’s observation about the younger theatre students paying more than the older patrons she spoke to.
- Steven Roth anecdote about value.
As a result this is what I’d like to propose…
My proposal to the group followed. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on what we do for future PWYCs!
~Alli Houseworth, Communications and New Media Manager