The play less traveled

The next time you walk into a theater in Sacramento, realize it is a gamble. Not in the respect that you never know what you’re going to get as far as a performance (and sometimes you don’t), but a gamble in that a community theater that takes any kind of artistic risk is also taking a risk to its financial viability.

We are lucky in the Sacramento area to have a number of theater groups. They are an essential part of the community’s cultural infrastructure and we should support and promote their creativity. But with over a dozen operating in the area, they’re vying for a limited audience, yet need to fill the seats in order to pay the rent. This equation often equals choosing the safe, tried and true plays already written and produced over the risky, new and challenging. The theater groups can find themselves locked into catering to their established base of ticket buyers with recognizable plays.

But this week, two theater groups are drawing on the resources of the local community to produce new works that use the energy and creativity of local playwrights (see “A tale of two plays”). The road to opening night is a struggle, but one worth taking.