NYC is inspiring
We went to New York.
The purpose was inspecting local theatres and gaining the senses of Broadway / OFF Broadway. Under the tight schedule, we watched 4 shows.
“Matilda” “Wicked” “Avenue Q” and “Insurgent”
“Matilda” and “Wicked” are obviously famous long-run musicals on Broadway.
Huge theatre filled with huge audiences. You can tell how close theatres are to daily life considering such a size of audiences watch matinee performances on weekdays. I saw a different type of audience, who I’ve never seen in Japan but queued at the gift stand buying a brochure with a big smile.
“Avenue Q” and “Insurgent” are presented as Off-Broadway pieces.
Compared with shows on Boadway, Off-Broadway ones are small-scaled but, for example, “Avenue Q” has run more than 2 years at the 500-size of venue, which shows that the system of running a show must be completely different from that of Japanese theatres.
On the final day of the visit, we were eager to watch any piece in a small venue and got a chance to watch “Insurgent”. The venue has around 60 seats and looks like a warehouse. One actress came in front of the audiences for the pre-talk, then walked up the stage slowly, which was the very beginning of the story.
Once the story starts, a non-stop dialogic play. Gradually, we started seeing the relationships of charcters and those backgrounds. I felt some parts have too-much-explations, but actors minimised movement and controlled and detailed facial expressions in the limited space showed how deep the director cared on them.
This show was scheduled to run only for a few weeks but good reviews made it run longer for a few months.
This schedule change is the very difference between Broadway/Off-Broadyway and Japanese theatre industry.
In Japan, a theatrical piece will run under the fixed schedule regardless of ticket sales or reviews. However, on Broadway, if audiences or reviewers do not like it, that show might close after a few days from the open, on the other hand, if it smashes, that would run without the close date.
It was a short trip and really tight schedule, but thankfully I could see various sizes of theatres and felt the live atmosphere of Broadway in Manhattan, which was surely great experience.
I definetly would like to come back to New York and hopefully the next visit will be for presenting my work in the near future.