So the main reason you can find Unky Sean at a table all during this Kaleidoscope Festival at the Bremerton Community Theater is so he can shake money out of your pocket and into the next festival.
Oh, yeah, I like getting to meet you all, and chatting and swapping info about the various theaters doings, but mainly, it’s money. And not just the obvious showy raffle baskets filled with goodies and high-class knick-knackery. (But we got those – so don’t forget to buy a ticket, cuz we totally got those.
Y’see, we got a high-class scheme to get your money. It’s all called “membership” and it comes in two forms - $20 individual member or $50 organizational. To compete at Kaleidoscope, you need the organizational, but why do you need it as an individual? So you can vote.
Yeah, yeah, poll taxes are unconstitutional (wink!) but there’s voting and then there is voting. And after you watch your heart-sweepingly favorite show, so clearly perfect the world should know of it’s powers, you’re gonna wanna vote it a big award. And then you’ll hear those adjudicators, who will not sing the praises of that complete work of art, and what do you know – you’re in the lobby giving me $20 so you can say Blah Blah Theater Company is a Washington Treasure.
That’s right – adjudicators may pick what moves on to regionals, but WSCTA members choose who is the Betty Wills Washington Treasure Award, given to the theater company at the festival that best personifies the qualities and organization of Washington State Community Theater. And how did they prove that they deserve that award? They put on a show that told us they deserved it and we voted for them.
We meaning those who are members.
There’s also the Ralph Eaton New Horizon Award, for a first-time participant who exemplifies the entire point to being at a theater conference, sharing their work and doing it swell. (The Jewel Box Theater of Poulsbo and The Changing Scene Theater Northwest were the two candidates for this at press time.)
And then there’s the Best Moment. Now this one rocks, and you never know what it’s gonna be – one year it was a Snicker-chewing boy kissing a girl who was bawling her out (ACT Richland!). At the last Kaleidoscope, it was the “I Love You” number from Spokane Civic Theater’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The first year I went to Kaleidoscope, it was two people in a shared spotlight on opposite sides of the same door (and I think that was a Bremerton area theater). And that had a serious challenge from a working screen-door in Proof (Walla Walla Little Theater). And when you’re there with your group, and you all find you like something, that may be just the right number of votes to make a Best Moment happen.
Well, that and $20 each. And we announce the winners at the Brunch, just like the adjudicators do, so they’re like, indisputably real awards.
Sure, that’s completely corrupt. I’m ashamed sometimes that to fund these Festivals, I have to reduce my ethics to the level where I have to convince nice people like you to do something you would enjoy doing, just to make other people feel good about themselves. What kind of inhuman monster am I?
But while I sweat out my shame behind a table this weekend, y’all can have a good time, kick some money toward the WSCTA (which supports the adjudicators, the festival participants, and that keeps proving Washington State as one of the most active community theater communities in the world), and do what you are already doing: supporting local theater that your neighbors put on to amaze you.
See ya Bremerton – I’ll be the one in the clip-on tie.