- To catch up, Factory and Quiptake decided to open The Art of Building a Bunker before the press night. Kelly Nestruck complained on twitter and some hubbub ensued. Two responses/summaries are here: Lois Dawson / Holger Syme
- Really this is riling us up? (He says posting about it.) The world is almost literally falling apart, theatre is largely banal and boring, but we can have twitter storms about which night 10 people get to see a show for free?
- Obviously I speak for no one but myself.
The mainstream media for performance in Toronto is a problem. Arts Sections are now almost entirely (celebrity) clickbate, with the largest daily (and most influential on ticket sales), The Star having 2 staff critics (Richard Ouzounian and Michael Crabb) who do serious damage to the art forms they review when they do get column inches.
For most indie theatre the “all press is good press” cliché doesn’t hold because we don’t respond – there is no counter proposal that calls out the very real biases, blind spots and priorities of the writers and the owners they work for. 
There is real fear about future retribution.
Not that audiences won’t come back or the work won’t hold up, but that Artistic Directors won’t program the next show if there is a hostile or negative relationship with the “press.”
The relationship is not about the “truth” or “quality” – it’s about power, and where it’s located. That “art conquers all” is patently false in any material sense and needed to be left behind decades ago.
Down the path that I’m more interested in, the work and company have a more direct relationship with the people who are interested – it’s one of performing more often but in shorter runs (which the papers won’t review anyways but help word of mouth) Ditch the ideas of “openings” and “previews” all together.  Find other ways to get in front of people.
Of course questions of scalability and financial return of this can be raised – but the patterns need to change, and in order to change they must – well – change. Things must be tried out, and some things will work, some won’t, some will bruise the critics, some will bruise others.
I saw Bunker a couple times in development. Given the material and style, Adam Lazarus’ following in an indie comedy / clown world, Guillermo Verdecchia’s willingness to address media bias  and Aislinn Rose’s willingness to experiment, it’s not surprising to me that they would want something different. To try and start discussions through conversations and on social media and to have that already going before the terms could be defined by the established channels.
Will it be successful? Who knows? That’s why we actually have to try things.
- The process of production is also damaged, with shows being developed through typing faraway from live audiences and performers spending most of their time unemployed and not getting experience on deck. Short rehearsal periods with no time for reflection or changes in direction and very few previews to test in front of live audience further bind makers into decisions they made months ago in a quiet room. ↩
- I suspect bloggers are collateral damage in a gesture more about the dailies. Few of the blogs post morning after in the same way, nor do they affect the outcome. ↩
- We are talking about, like, 3–6 people here. ↩
- The Wooster Group would run shows in the Performance Garage for 4 weeks of previews and open on the closing weekend. Meaning a) they could work on the show, treating it like the dynamic thing it was and b) they didn’t need to contend with a press they found hostile or irrelevant. Of course, that’s fine for the Wooster Group. But it wasn’t at some point. And they need to try it. ↩
- If the objection is that there’s false advertising and/or over-charging for the shows that “should” be previews – that’s fair, but I think the distinction is a little made up to begin with and I’m not sure the objections are that altruistic. ↩
- Most bruise the emerging artists with no job at all and now fewer project fees as operating companies who “co-produce” without cash. And then the artists have to comp all those people with full-time jobs (AD’s, reviewers) ↩
- see The Noam Chomsky Lectures ↩
- I have no inside knowledge – just surmising. Which is different than smizing. ↩