Friday, October 17, 2008
Charting the season so far
Well, the fall season has arrived, and so has the recession, so I thought it might be a good time to think about the vexing issue of price vs. quality on the local theatre scene. One of my idiosyncratic charts linking the two is above. The lower right-hand quadrant is the place to be, the so-called "sweet spot," where quality is high yet price is low. As you can see, only Mill 6 Collaborative, with "The T Plays," and Up You Mighty Race, with In the Continuum, are solidly in the zone. Ticket costs reflect non-subscription single-ticket prices for a weekend evening. Of course you could have seen any of these shows for roughly half-price (well, actually at about 40% off) if you purchased tickets at the BosTix booths.
There are obviously two anomalies on the chart - two of my favorite shows this season were on the fringe, and there are no shows at the bottom of the "Low Cost/Low Quality" quadrant. This is probably due to my personal biases - I don't go to every fringe show I'm invited to, but generally only check out those in which either the play or the cast interests me. So one shouldn't infer from this that there are no bad, cheap productions out there. Still, it also seems clear from the chart that price is no guarantee of quality.