Begging the Question

The LA Times’ Culture Monster session Tuesday evening about local theater – Is Los Angeles a Theater Town? – was fascinating to an outsider (Philadelphian) who knows the stage scene here enough to understand that the question seems to come from Mars.
Why, though, did the panel first dismiss the question as one that begs for defensiveness, then proceed to be defensive? Much of the hour-long session was – again, to an outsider – a stunning demonstration of an inferiority complex by a community of theater artists who draw audiences to 300-plus stages and present and constant stream of new works.
And isn’t it time to embrace the region’s sprawl rather than fret about its effect on drawing audiences over the freeways and through the woods from here to there? The enormous mileage that is metropolitan Los Angeles is richly dotted with theaters, making stage performance here geographically diverse in ways that other urban areas cannot match. Or that’s what at least one outsider thinks.

Comments

  1. Beautifully put. Thank you.

  2. Well said. I spent three years in the Philly theatre scene (which is a unique and I miss it), and yet the diversity of theatre in Los Angeles is unparalleled. And that alone makes it priceless.