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THE STAGE RAW NEW YEAR THEATER QUIZ drew hundreds of thousands of responses from all corners of the globe — from Tierra del Fuego to Oxnard to Tauranga, New Zealand. I promised I'd post winners in early January, and it's taken me and my diligent staff all week to pore over and evaluate the 497,677 responses. That process is now grinding up to its highly anticipated finale. I'll post one annotated response every week, because everybody who plays is a winner. By my calculations, that should take about 9,570 years. Can this quiz sustain the test of time?
For the first response, press the More tab directly below.

Stage Raw New Year Quiz Response
From Marz Richards, “entertainer”, currently living in Los Angeles

• What's the difference between “art”, “artsy,” and “artsy fartsy”?

ART: Neighbors at the Matrix

ARTSY: FZ6D at Sacred Fools

FARTSY: Believing that a list of large budget shows with celebrities in them and a trip to San Francisco qualifies as a competent year-end review of Los Angeles theatre.

Art and artsy are correct. But come on, Marz, fartsy is  ridiculous. Large budget shows with celebrities keep theater popular and relevant. French Stewart and Alfred Molina are the only celebrities who will perform in small budget shows. And San Francisco is just a reef off Ventura County. Points off for ignorance.

• Is multidisciplinary work, and the promotion of it, really such a threat to traditional presentations — or can we all just get along?

I have a knife and am happy to continue the argument outside.  Evolve or die.  The traditional presentations have ossified.

Thanks for mentioning the knife. Think I'll stay inside for a while.

• Does the blending of music, video and online technologies on our stages really draw a new generation of theatergoers, or is that just the fantasy of faculty and students from CalArts and the programmers over at REDCAT, that's disconnected from the real world?

I saw new audiences for new work when it was directly connected to art and artists that were not exclusively working in theatre.  Unfortunately, the majority of productions in the city do not appeal to these audiences, so we are not transforming these new viewers into regular attendees every time.  With a broader range of presentation on a regular basis, live theatre in Los Angeles could experience an expansion of audience very similar to what happened in stand-up comedy over the past eight years where new voices created new audiences who came to expect similar quality line-ups.  I don't see REDCAT as part of this expansion opportunity as it is part and parcel of the calcified culture in Los Angeles, a masquerading mummy that makes sequined seniors feel hip.  If I could only build a bomb from the bones of Reza Abdoh…

Good points. Though sequined seniors have a right to feel hip too.  

• Does L.A. theater really suffer from a lack of inventive (concept) directors?



• Why is it that the United States' most famous concept directors find most of their employment in Europe, Canada and South America, rather than in their homeland? (a) People outside the United States are stupid and pretentious; (b) People inside the United States are stupid and crass; (c) Concept directors have no respect and therefore don't deserve any. (Only one answer, please!)

I think the answer is B, but the people who are stupid and/or crass are often those holding the purse-strings that could conceivably fund productions that would employ the best artistic minds in the region.  No one who attends my shows is stupid, but many turn out to be crass after a few drinks.  A consequence of punk rock production that I'm happy to work with.

Oh, Marz. Let me explain: If you answer A, you're insulting everybody outside the U.S., and that's a LOT of people. If you answer B, you're insulting everybody inside the U.S., and that's also a LOT of people. If you answer C, you're only insulting concept directors, and that's hardly anybody. Common sense, man. I know you've got a knife, but still . . .

• Does L.A. theater suffer from a lack of autobiographical one-person shows? If so, why?

The world does not suffer from a lack of these shows.  I saw one of them unfold at a holiday party when I got trapped in the kitchen after trying to get more whisky.  The only way you'll get me to attend another one is if it features an FBI agent or a LAPD detective.

The whisky should have helped.

• Does L.A. theater suffer from a lack of shows named [Fill in the Title]: The Musical! If so, why?

Feel free to do two thousand more musical adapations, Los Angeles, as long as you all have live bands.  If you can't rock a live show, please stay home.

Five bonus points.

• Why is the Fountain Theatre always sold out when it just does plays about bitter musicians and graveyards?

Because the Fountain has consistently marketed their shows to an audience that doesn't simply travel from North Hollywood, to the Taper, and then back to Pasadena to await the early bird discount special at the Tallyrand.

Geography, geography, geography: Remember, San Francisco is a reef off Ventura County and the Tallyrand is in Burbank, not Pasadena. Five points off.

• Should actors be paid for their work? If so, should they be paid even if their production loses money? Why?

Actors should be paid for their work as long as they are completing their tasks, which are few.  Producers should produce an audience so that the show doesn't lose money.  It isn't incumbent upon the performer to produce an audience UNLESS that person is also a producer on the show.  Then they should bang that drum until their arm gives out.  Unless the actor in question is a horrible drunk and is falling apart on-stage nightly, it isn't their fault that the show isn't pulling a strong gate.

Okay, you get your five points back.

• Should investment bankers be paid for their work? If so, should they be paid even if their company loses money? Why?

If you know enough investment bankers to be worried about whether or not they should be paid for their work, I'd like to get their contact information from you as I have a couple of projects I'm seeking funding for.  At the levels of finance that most of those folks are working at, the risk to their bank account would be minimal and I can introduce them to people whom they can date and establish new benchmarks for the craziest person they've ever had sex with.

That's a sensible and honorable answer. Five more bonus points. 

Did you enjoy this quiz? If so, why? If not, please move on to the next question.

I liked it better than Tron: Legacy, but not as much as Black Swan

Congratulations, Marz Richards! You scored 91.7 out of a possible 100 points giving you an A-! This means you qualify for Stage Raw's First Prize of 2011: Two complimentary tickets to the upcoming production of Puzzler, at Sacred Fools Theater Company!

Stay in touch for another quiz response next week.

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