A New York University film student who used a Kickstarter campaign to finance One Ticket Please, a documentary film about a woman who says she has seen a play more or less every day for 25 years, is screened starting January 30 at the Göteborg Film Festival in Sweden.
But not everybody has been delighted by the woman's quest. She often tries to get into shows without paying, which has upset some theatre managers.
NYU film student Matïss Kaža, now 21, 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.
The film is scheduled to be screened January 30-31 and February 1 at the 40th Göteborg Film Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.
According to a story originally reported in the NY tabloid Metro, 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, raised more than $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.
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 in early 2016, "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.”
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."
(Updated January 30, 2017)