Those of you who've been discussing the Unnamed Theater Company in the comments here-I suspect some of you have been euphemizing out of politeness, others out of sarcasm-can stop being coy. Those unseemly, doomsday-sounding, Sarah Palin-invoking fundraising emails are in Moncler Vest Women fact coming from the House. I concur with Christopher Piatt's thoughts at the TOC blog.
As others have rightly pointed out, every nonprofit does an ask at this time of year. I've been solicited by many theater companies in past weeks, as well as other arts organizations and social service agencies. But it's the mixture of desperation and presumptiveness in the House's missives that makes them feel so tacky.
Despite what some may say, it's not about the fact that Moncler Outlet Online it's the House. Yes, the blogosphere has been host to both honest criticism and jealous sniping about their meteoric rise and fawning media coverage; so, I imagine, have any number of dressing rooms, post-show bars and email chains. I like the House, both as a company and as individuals, even if I'm not always a fan of their artistic or administrative decisions; I want them to succeed. But my hackles would be raised by seeing any theater company, from Steep to Steppenwolf, declare their own importance to the future of Chicago theater, threaten to cancel their next show as a fundraising enticement, or compare their ability to mount said show to the election of Barack Obama.
And that's what's most imprudent about the message from board member and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me host Peter Sagal in a House e-blast last week. Even presuming Sagal meant it with tongue firmly in cheek, suggesting moral equivalence between the House's ability to produce Rose and the Rime (its next and apparently endangered show) and the office of the presidency leaves a sour aftertaste. And the Sarah Palin reference is right out. If the House is having trouble meeting its financial goals, it isn't because some horrid woman from Alaska is accusing it of palling around with terrorists or of not being from Real America. The company may have used "Fight Evil" as a longtime rallying cry, but there's no evil to fight here that isn't also being faced by every theater company, theatergoer and arts-covering media outlet around. Sagal's employer, WBEZ, laid off nine employees on Friday, citing a huge drop in pledges. Think those nine would agree the way to save Chicago culture is by giving money to the House? Times are tough all around. The House would do well to remember that in its fundraising campaign.
I only had a chance to read the Sagal follow up letter and not the original fundraising piece, but it appears that the House is making the mistake of saying "The House Is Important" without spelling out exactly WHY the group is important to both the recipient of the ask AND the Chicago Theatre scene.
Their current message seems to imply that the people who get the fundraising request already know about the House, understand the Chicago theatre landscape, understand how theatre is funded, etc. That probably an incorrect assumption.
So the House is making very bold, provocative (probably deliberately provocative) statements to draw some attention to what they Moncler Jackets Sale need.
Piggybacking on Adam typically astute statements, I would add that neither ask letter seemed to highlight how one of the House primary strengths as a theater is its ability to tap into young audiences. The House rise and accolades is in large part due to the work they done with the next generation, creating plays that resonate with them as audience and doing educational outreach work to help form the next crop of innovative theatre artists. In this way, they are indeed important to the future of the Chicago theatre scene.
The Rose and the Rime was, as I recall, a project that began with House members doing work with college students. Why wasn this mentioned in the ask? A lot of people who will take a pass on donating for a company that just produces shows will think twice if they know that this same company is not just an artistic powerhouse but a community benefit.