If you’re anything like me, you don’t like spending your hard-earned (or pretty much stolen) money on the same old thing you can get anywhere. And I’m not sure, but I can’t afford $150 for 2 hours of theater. Even if I could, I’d probably spend the same money for a weekend of DVD rentals, Chinese take-out, and cheap alcohol.
But I still need my live theater solution. So indie theater is my favorite hustler. Of course, it helps that it’s great. If you think about it, there are countless reasons why indie theater (aka off-off-Broadway, indie, experimental, equity showcase, small theatre, black box theatre, or whatever term anyone can come up with who ” everything but Broadway” means) ) is pretty much the coolest form of entertainment there is.
1. It’s cheap.
Many indie theater shows cost about the same as a movie ticket. Of course, you also have tickets in the $20-$30 range. But you never have to budget or save to see anything. And if you’re lucky or help them, you might even see something for free. Which gives you more money to eat way too rich food and drink way too strong alcohol.
2. It’s quality theater.
Most indie theater shows don’t have a huge budget for costumes, sets, or special effects. So you have to focus on small details like story, character and ideas. And if you’re tired of Dead White Man theater, many indie theater companies are staging original works.
3. It’s intimate.
A small space lets you sit inches — not meters, inches — from the action. Of course this may be obsolete in a few years once we get full 3D HDTV surround sound smell o vision ghost touch movies. But there’s something about being close to real human bodies that our high-tech toys can’t match.
4. It’s unique.
Where else can you find something like this? Not on Broadway, that’s for sure. It’s hard to beat indie theater when it comes to finding stuff that really pushes the boundaries of taste and decency, or completely distorts our understanding of who we are. Unless Kevin Smith and David Lynch made a movie together.
5. It never shows the same thing twice.
Indie theater doesn’t do lame revivals. Indie theater doesn’t rehash stupid movies. Indie theater doesn’t insult your intelligence by re-creating the same old crap. Every indie theater show is something new that won’t happen again. Every show they put on is a once in a lifetime event.
6. It could get you laid.
Because saying things like “postmodern critique of traditional permutations of masculinity” makes you sound like you’re deep and sensitive. Being deep and sensitive is a thinking person’s aphrodisiac. And if you have a drug or alcohol problem, that’s even better, because that’s when you get deep, insightful, and complex!
7. It’s passionate.
It’s easy to get excited about theater when you can really make a living from it. Or if you are still living from your parents. But when you work for nothing but praise and peanuts—especially when the peanuts are stale and the praise doesn’t come—that’s love.
8. Actors are real people.
I know I gave 7 reasons, but I’ll add one more because I want to give you a little more.
One of the best things about indie theater is that you can actually meet the people behind the show. Linger after the curtain and you might meet that dashing hero or enchanting leading lady you just saw. And unless you’re a total psycholunaticmaniacstalker, you don’t have to worry about security escorting you out of the building.
How to find this stuff
There are a number of online sources for finding indie theater shows. But if you’re a wage slave like me, you don’t have time to hunt them down. The first place I go to is StageBuddy.com. I really like it because I can search for shows in my area (the center of the universe – aka New York City) by date, price, genre and location. There are tons of other places you can go and I’m sure you can find more via google.
With that, you can pretty much imagine how much money your friends will have to scout you out for food and booze. But if you’re one of those squeaky-clean, do-nothing-what-for-me types, you can keep the extra cash in your pocket and just have a good time.