According to a report in the NY tabloid Metro, NYU sophomore film student Matïss Kaža, 20, met 77-year-old Nicki Cochrane at a show at the Off-Broadway Pearl Theatre Company, and learned that she takes a subway from her home in the New York borough of Queens every day to see shows in Manhattan.
According to the report, Cochrane "does not only attend large productions, but also goes to small theaters as well" and has done so every available day for a quarter century. "The only time she misses a day is when there are no shows or when she takes a vacation for Christmas."
Kaža, an immigrant from Latvia, is trying to raise $3,000 via the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter to pay for "re-enactments to retell Cochrane’s life, transportation, post-production and festival submissions" for his student film, which is titled "One Ticket Please."
Sometimes Cochrane pays full price, sometimes she gets discounts, but the film's title comes from another of her strategies. She sometimes stands outside a theatre door holding a sign that says, “One Ticket Please.”
“She does it purely simply because of her love for this art form,” Kaža told Metro. “Every day she goes to lectures, different educational events but the primary goal is to see one play every day in New York.” However, there appears to be a fly in the ointment on this heartwarming story. Observer.com reports that "many members of the New York theater community detest Ms. Cochrane" because of her attempts to "sneak into shows" for free.
Kaža told Playbill.com, "What initially fascinated me about Ms. Cochrane is her utter dedication to getting what she wants - seeing quality theatre. If she truly, truly wants to see a certain play, she will always find a way to get inside the theatre and see it. Even if it takes what certain theatre managers consider very rude or obtrusive behavior." The Observer story quotes John C. Hume, general manager of Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company, calling Cochrane “a thorn in the side to many in this industry.” She reportedly has been banned from some theatres.
“She is in essence trying to scheme her way in at no cost,” Hume told the Observer. “It is incredible. And infuriating.”
Hume has asked to be interviewed by Kaža for the film. Kaža told Playbill.com "I spoke to Mr Hume today and I plan to interview him as well as several other New York theatre staff on camera about their experiences with Ms. Cochrane."
Kaža said, "I would be lying if I said that making a documentary about Nicki is easy - it's quite possibly the most demanding experience I've had in my life as a filmmaker." However, he said the effort has been worth it and said that if the Kickstarter campaign is successful, " The film will be submitted to documentary film festivals worldwide. I hope to acquire distribution in the United States. Currently the film is set to be finished by August-September 2016."