Instead of Keith Dahlgren, the Managing Director, writing his usual tedious pontificating and begging for donations, we asked a guy walking around Green Lake to interview Keith and write out his conclusions.
Joe Sixpack: Hey, Mr. Fancy-Schmancy Theater Artist guy. I’ve been walking around Green Lake for years, and I never knew what this building was.
Keith Dahlgren, Managing Director of Seattle Public Theater: Yes, people have a tendency to ignore the building in their single minded search for physical perfection. Or their dogs. And we at SPT haven’t always had the best signage on the building. But it’s a small performing arts center.
JS: How long’s it been a theater?
KD: It was built in 1927 as a bathhouse, and converted into a theater in 1969. Seattle Public Theater has been the resident theater company since October of 2000. in 2009, SPT produced six professional (what we call Mainstage) productions; at least ten student productions, and dozens of youth program camps and classes.
JS: So, do you show movies?
KD: A common misconception. We are a Live Theater, as opposed to a Moving Picture Theater, otherwise known as a Cinema.
KD: So in our theater you will see plays performed live by actual actors, not projected films or television shows. You know, the Tee-Vee.
JS: So why should I pay…how much are tickets?
KD: They average $25. Subscription tickets average less.
JS: Okay, twenty-five bucks to see your stuff when I can stay home and watch movies on my Tee-Vee?
KD: Have you ever met anyone on your Tee-Vee?
JS: I saw Kent Phillips on the street once.
KD: Ah. Well, our actors are real. You see them act and react within a few feet of you. You see the story unfold live. You are part of the experience.
KD: You feel the people with you, the rest of the audience, react to the performance as well. If you’re lucky (and many people are) you will experience the moment Bill Ball from ACT San Francisco describes as the moment when the whole audience as well as actors are all feeling the same emotions. A heightened union of a whole room full of humans. It’s a transitory experience, something you can’t get at home watching the Tee-Vee.
KD: And if you like the show and come back and see it again, you’ll get a different experience. Because it’s a different night, a different audience, and the actors may be in a different space. You may get a more excited audience, or the actors may discover something new. You never know what to expect.
JS: Wow. So it’s not people talking in old English so you can’t understand?
KD: That’s Shakespeare. Another thing you might like to try after you see some modern language theater.
JS: Dude. Thanks. I’ll have to check this out.
KD: Yes. Give it a try. Dive in. You might like it.