In this two-part blog entry, our intern, Max Granitz, ruminates about the meaning of patronage and support, both external and internal. Artists have needed patrons for as long as people have tried to make a living bringing art to human civilization. Art needs the support of those who enjoy it. While big donations are great (and we would love to have them!), you can support the arts by buying a ticket, or hiring a performance troupe, like GEM Theatrics, to bring a production to your organization or venue. Support the arts! You'll be glad you did!
In the second part, Max shares a personal experience about how tough it is to maintain a constant performing life. It's an experience he grew from, and we applaud him for sharing it!
By Max Granitz
As I have said before, I have had the pleasure of being in the audience for many incredible performances: from West Michigan all the way to London’s West End. Now, I may not have a guaranteed future working around the theater directly. However, I make it a point to always be a supporter of the arts.
It is one thing to simply attend a performance, with the sole intention of going for the show itself. But as someone who has been on both sides of the curtain, so to say, there is a difference between attending a performance, and being a patron of the arts. The definition of patron, however, is not necessarily someone who puts a lot of money towards a specific work. A patron is someone who, while attending a performance, considers all that went into making it happen.
There is a lot that goes into making a performance happen. Before the curtain rises, the cast spends a minimum of a month in rehearsal, the costume designers and set designers spend hours creating the world in which the actors live on-stage, and the directors and other creative team members work to make it all a success. And do not forget the playwright, and, in the case of a musical, the composer(s), lyricist(s), and musical director(s), who most likely put years into crafting the words the cast speak/sing.
The next time you are in the audience, whether at a university, at a local theater, or even in Chicago or New York, think about all this. Patronage can be a lot of things, depending who you ask. It can be just buying a ticket; it can be acting as sole financial backer of a large-scale production. However, true patronage, coming from someone who’s seen both sides, is appreciating, truly, the work of all who made the performance happen. If you can understand this, you are an arts patron, regardless of economic commitment to a performance.
By Max Granitz
Building upon what I discussed in my last post, if you are ready to begin, that is great. And maybe you’ve begun, or did a long time ago, or maybe you’re a veteran of the theatre. There is a point, for every artist in every medium, when it can be too much.
Perhaps it has been a while since you’ve performed, and you find yourself back at it after a year or many. If it is too much, then it is up to you, no one else, to make the decision to take a breather. And there is no shame in going to the director and asking if your part can be re-cast. Of course, it is better to do so earlier rather than later, as to make it easier on yourself, your cast mates, and the creative team. As with delivering a monologue/soliloquy, and singing, you need to know when to breathe, when it comes to one’s well-being.
In the case of student performers, the demands of school can often overwhelm, and you may need to exit a show. There will always be another opportunity, and your education is the more important of the two. Even if you are a theatre, dance or music major, you have other obligations aside from performing (i.e. coursework, employment, extracurriculars).
I have had to exit a show before, for the sake of my own well-being and others involved with the production. At the time, it was a difficult thing to process. However, now having six more years of life experience, I can say it was ultimately for the best. Another opportunity came along some months later, and was a much more positive experience.
And when you audition, aren’t cast, and wish you were, think about it in relationship to everything else going on in your life at the time. It may simply be fate whispering “Not now, but later.” There is nothing you have done to incur the director’ wrath, unless you were inconsiderate or unpleasant during auditions. Otherwise, think of it as additional experience, preparing you for the next chance.