Monday, August 1, 2011

Why Indie Theatre?: Pete Boisvert

 In celebration of Indie Theatre Week (July 23 - August 1, 2011),
we asked members of the OOB community to answer this question, "Why Indie Theatre?"

Artistic Autonomy
The quality that drew me to self-producing and indie theatre in the first place is the level of freedom and control it provides for the artist. You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission in order to see your creation realized; all you need is an artistic vision and the drive to see it executed. This free rein results in a body of work created in the indie theatre world that is remarkable diverse, exciting and unconventional.

Creativity and Innovation
Certainly self-producing has its restrictions and limitations. We typically have to work with a tiny budget, limited space options and less resources in general than a commercial production. All of the troubles and difficulties that crop up in production must be tackled by you and your company, but there is no limit to what you can accomplish outside of your own abilities and strengths. Indie theatre is fundamentally about working with the essentials. If our resources are limited, that forces us to develop inventive and innovative solutions to solve the problems we encounter.

Intimacy with the Audience
One of the greatest artistic aspects of theatre is the fluid nature of the art. The audience is reacting to a performance as it is being created, and their response will in turn shape the actors performance. This relationship is heightened in an indie theatre production by nature of the small spaces we work in. With an upper limit of 99 seats (and many spaces run much smaller than that), there is an inherent intimacy between the performers and their audience that can be intensely rewarding (and that is much harder to pull off in a cavernous Broadway house).
The Community
I have found the artists and producers that work in the indie theatre world to be some of the most talented, motivated and energized people I’ve ever encountered. In my dozen years working in the indie theatre scene in New York, our community has been endlessly helpful and supportive. Whether it’s searching for a specific and rare prop, looking for that perfect actor to cast in a hard to fit role, or simply rallying folks to attend an undersold performance, the community has been there for us again and again. The IT Awards are a great example of the way this works: created by individuals in the community to celebrate the work of their peers and judged by the larger indie community as well as the audiences drawn to indie theatre.


Pete Boisvert founded Nosedive Productions with James Comtois in 1999. He has directed over two dozen productions with Nosedive, including Infectious Opportunity, The Adventures of Nervous-Boy (a penny dreadful) and The Blood Brother presents… horror series. Outside of Nosedive, Pete has directed the premiere productions of Temar Underwood’s The Brokenhearteds and Katharine Clark’s The B Side. A graduate of Ithaca College, he has trained with Anne Bogart's SITI Company in both Saratoga Springs and New York City and with the Vampire Cowboys' Rabid Vamps Fight Studio. He is currently rehearsing for remount production of Infectious Opportunity, to be performed in the NY Fringe Festival this August. 

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, Pete. 4 great reasons that I definitely second whole-heartedly.