Word-of-mouth, which is a basic, nurturing human activity, has always been the most effective way for TJT to “market” its work. Theatre – as opposed to entertainment products – depends on community. Conventional marketing methods methods, though we use them as much as we can afford to, have much less impact than having someone you trust share an exciting, moving or compelling experience with you.
More and more of us are recognizing that we must create alternatives to the consumption-driven, unsustainable culture of greed and isolation that gives rise to so much current suffering. The Group Theatre lived one of those alternative visions. Although it wasn’t able to maintain its original form for more than a few years, it was enough to change our culture. TJT’s work, most of it, anyway, arises from a similar vision. It tells us that the power to create isn’t owned by anyone. We all have stories to tell and we don’t need the permission of producers, critics, media conglomerates or even large regional theatres to tell them. Of all the stories we’ve told over the last thirty four years, none has seemed more timely, more necessary to tell as The Group Theatre’s story.
We can’t tell it without your help (sorry if that sounds like a pitch for donations – it’s not. At least not right now). We have an intuition that the people who would understand, be moved and appreciate MAZE the most, don’t know we’re here. Whatever the reasons, you, our community, have the power to change that.
Here's a sample email (with links). You can copy, paste, customize and send to the people you want to come experience In the Maze of Our Own Lives, inspired by the Story of The Group Theatre.
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I recently saw a new play that you must see before it closes. It's called In the Maze of Our Own Lives and it's based on the story of the legendary Group Theatre who came together in the 1930s, during the worst of the Depression, and revolutionized American Theatre. Even if you're not familiar with the history, most of what you value in theatre and film can be traced to The Group Theatre's influence. The founders, who are characters in this absorbing play, included Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and others, who, between them, taught and mentored Brando, Dean, Newman, Streep, Nicholson, Woodward and hundreds of others. Others went on to direct the premieres of major works by Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, William Saroyan and to produce iconic works like Porgy and Bess.
The play explores the stormy and creative relationships between Harold Clurman, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, producer Cheryl Crawford and playwright Clifford Odets. Odets plays for the Group were the first in this country to give voice to America's poor, its working class and its growing Jewish and Italian immigrant populations.
Here's a link tom Brown Paper Tickets where you'll find everything you need to get tickets, directions, maps and schedules.
Click here for a five-minute long video on the creation of the work
The play closes on November 13, 2011, so jump on this!
The buzz from audience members:
I saw "In the Maze of Our Lives " last week, and felt that I was actually a participant in a true and blood-passionate rendering of what that enormously generative , prismatic group must have been like… Corey Fischer has given us something real and rich; something to see and taste , to smack our lips and savor- Go and feel this wonderful piece of living theater! enthusiastically recommended!!
The cast found that honest connection with each other that the Group Theatre must have had. I was captivated by their performance in a way that i have never been before. - D. L., Marin
"I saw this play a few days ago and it is still resonating with me. I thought it was a thought-provoking , deeply felt work, not just about an important period in American theater, but also about the relationship of the artist to his time - how it shapes him or her, and how he or she can shape it, as well. The production was imaginatively staged, well acted, with some brilliant bits of dialogue and a nice mix of naturalistic and avant-garde theatrical technique. I recommend it, not just to anyone with an interest in American cultural history, but also to fans of well crafted, serious theater." D .K.. San Francisco
"In the Maze of Our Own Lives is an inspiring love letter to the act of making theater...Fischer's vibrant staging compellingly blends heightened theatricality and simple human behavior."
In the SF Bay Guardian, Robert Avila wrote an advance article before the play opened
"A subject as grand and complex as the Group Theatre — which spawned many famous productions, plays, and artistic careers for stage and screen, influencing theater and film making, theater training, and American literature at large — would present any playwright with a supreme challenge. This first run-through was proof Fischer and his colleagues had captured a coherent narrative with several key, interlocking strands in two well-shaped acts together totaling not much more than two hours. Although Fischer would eventually cut another 25 pages from the script before rehearsals were over, the play and the staging — which uses an appealing mix of media, original music, and ensemble movement to create a delicate dialogue between one company and its historical subject — was coming across persuasively."