The 21st century is almost upon us. The 1999-2000 theatrical season begins in just 21 months. A new century will present new opportunities to redefine world theatre. In this poll, please give us a sketch of your vision for theatre in the years 2000-2010.
How will live theatre be different? How will it be the same? Which young artists do you think will be defining the form?
What do you think will be on the minds of our greatest playwrights? What do you think should be on their minds?
How will directing change? How will design change? How will other media affect theatre. What should critics be looking for?
Who will wield the most power: actors, as at the start of the 20th century; writers, as in the middle years of the 20th; or directors, as in the late 20th?In short, what should theatre be in the 21st century?
Lastly, on a lighter note: what shall we all call these coming seasons? We're currently in the '97-98 season, spoken as the "ninety-seven, ninety eight" season. But what will we call the '99-00 season -- or the '00-01 season? Will we say the "ninety-nine, oh-oh" season? That sounds threatening. Or the "ninety-nine, zero-zero"? Sounds like a sports score. "Ninety-nine, aught-aught"? "Ninety-nine, two-thousand"? "Ninety-nine, zip-zip"?
Then, shall we call the one after that the "one-two" season? The "oh-one, oh-two"? The "aught-one, aught-two"? How about the decade as a whole? Please tell us your suggestion or preference.
This is a big assignment. Please answer all or just some of these questions. It will help Playbill On-Line shape coverage in the years to come. Please post your replies, not to the Message Boards as in most recent polls, but directly to Managing Editor Robert Viagas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Results will be posted every few days, as they come in.
Here are the responses so far. Playbill On-Line thanks those who took the time to respond:
From Richard Connema:
Regional theatre will become more popular and they will be the mainstay of classic and new plays. The major cities will still have the mega musicals like "Phantom." "Ragtime" and what ever follows.
Younger audiences who are use to special effects, a la movies, rock concerts will want these in the musicals. Good example, "Titanic" winning the Tony or "EFX" in Vegas, now in its third year. Calvin is right that producers should look back the end of 19th Century for clever theatrical effects.
Playwrights will continue to write about the human experience. A good and well written play will still be popular. However most of these plays will be done by regional theatre then Broadway. A lot of talent will still be going into the 21st Century, Peter Sellars, Sam Mendes, Garth Drabinsky, Frank Galati, Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty etc.
Lets call the season the 99-00 season, it is the start of the century
I think that in the near future we will be looking at very fast paced musicals with lots of action. The scene of the helicopter in Miss Saigon is one example of what I mean. I think that a lot of the musicals we see today are not up to date in terms of creative values.
I also think that producers should look back at theater of the late 19th century where people used to fly, appear and disappear by means of very clever theatrical effects. Nowadays people are used to great special effects in movies and concerts but not in live theater. The type of effects I refer to are not necessarily expensive but rather clever and simple.
I think the scores should be more creative and eclectic and move away from the current formulas and used-up cliches.