I remember the first time I saw someone throw spaghetti against a wall. I was on my senior retreat for high school. We were at Camp Tekawitha in Alabama and we were in charge of cooking supper. My friend, Jenny, wanted to know if the spaghetti we were making was ready, so she took a few noodles out of the boiling pot and threw them against the wall. "What are you doing???" we all asked. She looked at us, surprised we had never seen this technique. "That's how you check to see if spaghetti is done! If it sticks, it's good!" Needless to say, we hadn't heard of this, but what proceeded was all of us then grabbing a noodle (or two or three or four!) and slinging it against the wall! Despite this culinary technique, we ate well and there was still plenty for all. Fishes and loaves, I guess you might say.
I was thinking of this recently when considering shows I would like to produce or direct. It can be a real challenge planning a season and trying to figure out what folks want to see. You gotta know your audience; you gotta know your mission; you gotta know what other theatres are producing; you gotta know your production considerations and budget; you gotta know what talent is out there. Sometimes audiences just want comedy; some want musicals; some want those Pulitzer or Tony winners; some want something they have never experienced before. It's hard to please everyone.
But with so much great work out there (and some stinkers - yes), it can be hard to pick those four or five that you can fit into a season. So when choosing, it's kind of like pulling petals off a daisy (he loves me, he loves me not). Instead - it's "a little for them, a little for us".
I recently read that "comedies grow your budget; dramas grow your audiences" (or something to that effect). And while the arts need money (goodness how we do!), I still pluck that daisy and think "a little for them, a little for us". The plays audiences will come to see, the plays artists dream of doing. Sometimes, they are one and the same, sometimes not. Every once in a while you gotta take a risk. And while you might get a handful of spaghetti that slides down the wall in a big, hulking heap on the floor, more often you'll get more stuck than not. Either way, keep slinging that spaghetti. Because playing it safe can cause an artist's pot to boil dry.
KEEP SLINGING! (and using extended metaphors :)