New York Stage Productions Are Under Pressure to Fill Gaps.
In his eulogy to passion as a form of theatre craft, songwriter Yip Harburg penned the words, “It’s but a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea.” [Citation needed] However, because to the increased costs of paper, cardboard, and other theatrical supplies, plays all across the city may be hampered this fall, which could result in moonless nights in New York.
During an interview with Hyperallergic, Stephen Chaikelson provided the following definition of a scene store: “You can only construct so many displays at one time inside the footprint of a scene store.” It seems possible that Chaikelson was one of the producers for the Broadway production of Dying of a Salesman, which is currently playing at the Hudson Theatre. This fall, for example, there will be 19 new exhibits coming into Broadway alone, and that’s just counting the Broadway exhibits.
That’s a significant amount of stagecraft right there. Only a small percentage of the New York theatre performances that have been eagerly awaiting the end of a two-year hiatus in order to begin operating again are those that take place on Broadway. However, what Chaikelson encountered in bringing this critically renowned production from London’s West End to the United States was what practically every arts presenter is currently experiencing: a lack of supplies and a bevvy of overwhelmed scene sources.
Chaikelson blames the difficulties on the “knock-on effect” of the Covid-19 outage and mass start-up afterward. “Scene and lighting and sound outlets removed a lot of stuff during the shutdown,” he says. There’s not enough equipment on the shelves because they bought it or did other things. Each company that has been closed for 2 years wants to start exhibiting at the same time, which is challenging. Not all presenters have a Broadway budget, therefore the available equipment goes to the highest bidder or the first to arrive.
A poll by the Professional Lighting and Sound Association in December 2021 shows the global impact of the epidemic in 2022. This poll, collected by business members in over 40 countries, found that 95% of producers experienced delays in wood, cables, LCD panels, microchips, metal, and packaging. Most producers are also reporting a price increase in these materials that is “multiples the inflation rate.”
Noncommercial theatres with smaller budgets are especially affected by rising costs and a shortage of materials. The French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) Crossing the Line festival returned for its 15th year, and this was the first year since the pandemic that all worldwide works had been shown. Inflation drove up the price of gas, making it more expensive to ship their set pieces from France. “We decided to rebuild them here,” says programming manager Clementine Guinchat. We realised New York’s shop situation was crazy then. It takes her months to get a response from stores, and when they do, their quotes are frequently beyond budget, resulting in more months of searching.
The designer remained in France, thus it was difficult to construct the units according to his vision without the original materials. _Jeanne dark_ required a full-stage overlay of flame-resistant white paper that reacted to stage lighting. Guinchat: “It was impossible to find.” So they found two options close to the original plan and flew in the designer two days before loading Florence Gould Hall. When organising a show a year in advance and bringing it to New York, everything seems possible. Not true this time.
Artists find ways to succeed. The Tank’s fall season featured dramatic exhibits with minimum pieces. Simon and his Sneakers features a set made of shoe boxes. Creative director Meghan Finn is waiting on two doors that have been on backorder for months. The Tank sells livestreams of its shows to supplement ticket revenues and compensate its personnel.