In times of crisis, creativity is often the best remedy. At least, this is what actor and director Tim Robbins' is endeavoring to prove with his upcoming "WTF? Festival," a series of live performance events that will play on Tuesdays beginning October 13 and run through December 19th at the Culver City Theater in Los Angeles. Produced under the banner of his company, Actors Gang, for which Robbins serves as artistic director, the festival will consist of a medley of performances including plays, concerts, poetry readings, dance performances and film screenings.
"WTF?" was inspired by advice Robbins was receiving regarding how to manage the company's finances within the struggling economy. Say Robbins' on the Festival's official website:
"The name of this festival came to me after a recent board meeting where I was told that due to the economic downswing and recent reduction in donations that we can no longer afford to produce theater. I was told it would be less expensive to do nothing. We're not very good at doing nothing. We have seventy members and we are fired up to go into production on a major piece in January so in the spirit of rebellion and our history of survival we are going to produce 3 plays, host great artists and authors, screen free documentaries, have open forums for Veterans, have live music nights with great songwriters, present poetry and dance, screen ridiculously funny movies, host talkbacks with directors and try to raise enough money to survive this crap economy, We are offering a wide variety of events that will fire up new audiences, help them to discover The Gang, and support our community outreach."
After all, was this not Roosevelt's model during the Great Depression? No money to spend? Spend more!
Says Robbins to the Los Angeles Times in a page right out of the former President's book, it seems: "This is exactly the time, when things are falling apart, when the economy is bad, it's the time to drop ticket prices, it's the time to create free nights, it's the time to figure out how to produce even though the economics say 'don't produce.' "
Actor's Gang is known for their experimental performance styles, so in a way, no one can be surprised by their similarly almost counter-intuitive business practices. Performers slated for the upcoming "'WTF? Festival" include: Jackson Browne, Tenacious D, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie to perform at the Gang's 99-seat theater.
The Actors Gang will channel all proceeds from the festival toward the company's numerous outreach programs, including pay-what-you-can nights for main-stage Actors' Gang productions, free outdoor summer theater, a theater residence in local public schools and a rehabilitation-focused theater in prisons program.
To read the full report in the Los Angeles Times, click here.
For details, ticket prices and a complete schedule, call the Actors' Gang box office at (310) 838-4264 or go to www.wtffestival.theactorsgang.com.