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June 09, 2008


Rolando Teco

I think what we're seeing nationwide is in many ways a direct result of the disappearance of government funding for the Arts. Without "blind" funding (which only govt. funding can ever really be), regional theatres not only have to produce what's more commercial but they are tending to produce what their big funding sources want.

This might explain why at the recent premiere of Anna Deveare Smith's latest play at Long Wharf, there were more than half a dozen direct references in the script to "Yale New Haven Medical Center" and when I flipped open the program at intermission...


Guess who had funded the whole show?

This is one of the more blatant examples I've come across but this works in more insidious ways as well, with foundations only supporting new art that deals with specific issues. One has to wonder, to what extent is the money guiding the commissioning and presentation of new work in this country.

As Gary Garrison might say, "It gives one pause."

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