Theater needs to be entertaining, thought provoking, interesting and different or it fails.
That's the hard part, right?
Only after I make the show, do I expend energy on building audience.
Childish, egocentric me is wrong. Childish, egocentric me suffers from "Audience Afterthought Syndrome."
Theater needs audience -- even those two or three people -- or it is just deliberate insanity.
... Making theater for less than 40 people a night is just debilitating insanity. There is no sustainability ... and theater without sustainability is childish and arrogant.
Why do people making independent theater suffering from "Audience Afterthought Syndrome?"
Because, building audience is harder than making theater. A lot harder.
And, there's the childish arrogance. "What I make is good. Mommy likes it. Daddy likes it (well, probably not, but Daddy is a dick so it doesn't matter. Mommy likes it.) I'll make it and people will come. Then, they'll tell their friends, who will also come. Then, the critics will come and shout my praises. Then more people will come. Why wouldn't they? I'm precious."
It is crap, of course, but we still believe it because we are precious. And because if we make audience size part of our thinking, we have a metric to prove or disprove our preciousness. You can argue that an audience doesn't like your piece of theater because it isn't their cup of tea or it is over their heads, but with audience size in the metric, you can simply count the butts in the seats and measure your worth.
You have to start using the anti-precious phrase, "I failed." This is no reflection, necessarily, on the art. That might still be brilliant. But, if you can't get people in the seats, maybe you are in the wrong line of work.
Of course, I'm not talking about you, dear reader. I'm talking about me.
It is time I grew up theatrically. I'm not precious anymore, so I'm gonna figure out ways to build audience. I'll keep post my research here, so stay tuned.