Lou Harry's A&E

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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

When should the curtain rise?

December 21, 2007
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Right now, I’m a bit bleary from a night dominated not by sleep but instead by dropping my daughters, nieces and assorted friends off at a midnight screening of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and picking them up again at 2:30 a.m.
A last ditch effort to be crowned Father of the Year? Perhaps.

Whether I win or lose that honor, it did get me thinking about timing. Movie theaters can throw in an occasional midnight screening to make attending a film seem more like an event (it worked for these kids). But what about performing arts groups? How much room is there to experiment with the standard 8 p.m. time—or the 2:30 or 3 p.m. matinee, for that matter?

A number of years ago, I attended a performance in Cleveland by a Night Kitchen Theatre in Cleveland. Targeted at twentysomethings, the group acknowledged the fact that many clubgoers don’t even get out the door until after 10. With that in mind, it created a theatrical series with (if memory serves) an 11 p.m. start time and shows that ran about an hour and 20 minutes. Ticket prices reflected the fringe nature of the show.

Here, IndyFringe has shown during its summer festival that, given proper motivation and marketing, audiences can accept non-standard showtimes and durations. And ComedySportz sometimes mixes it up, showtime wise. Even the ISO will throw an occasional scheduling curve.

So should some of the new companies sprouting up here in Indy consider taking more chances with such things?

Your thoughts?
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