It’s a bit scary to me that the modern young adult attention span has gotten so bad that traditional entertainment – music, parties, theatre – no longer appeals to us. I’m experiencing this first-hand, both as a guilty party of said attention span and as a struggling theatre artist. This month my small 4-women strong theatre company, Pinky Swear Productions, put up a play called “Killing Women.” Our two brilliant artistic directors put their blood, sweat, and tears into it and came out with a great product. They got two articles in The Washington Post: one was a preview and the other was a pretty darn good review. The show is about female assassins, and it’s well paced, quirky, modern, and deals with women’s issues but not in a pushy or overly feminist way.
Despite all this, tickets sales have been low. I can’t seem to figure out a way to get friends and acquaintances to go see it. When I go to see other companies’ work, work that IS selling, mostly what I see are elderly faces in the crowd. Even modern, edgy theatre doesn’t seem to appeal to the younger urbanites, which has had me thinking, what does sell to generations X and Y?
Well, here is one answer: Rebel Bingo. What is Rebel Bingo? It’s a bit like an adult rave meets Halloween, including crazy costumes, a gigantic blow-up Frankenstein and Santa Claus, dancing, a DJ, a woman on stilts, adult dancers, a guy in a Teletubby costume throwing out glow necklaces, balloons falling from the ceiling, lots and lots of alcohol, and yes, a game of bingo where the grand prize was a disco ball. Seriously. This is what it freaking takes to get people off their butts these days. I sound like a geriatric cat lady writing those words, I know, but in fact I am one of the guilty. When my friend T asked me if I wanted to go, I didn’t even bat an eyelash. Of course I wanted to go to this crazy bingo game, and a bunch of my friends wanted to go with me.
This week’s venture is something called the one hundred party. I’m still not quite sure what’s involved, but once again my short attention span is lulled into supplication by the myriad of promised distractions. So how do we, as a tiny theatre company, compete with this? Do we throw in the towel, stop producing theatre, and start producing insane and wacky events instead? If you have the answer, please tell, ’cause we love the art we do and we think other people will too, if we can just get them to come see it.