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Lackluster awards show disappoints this critic

Last night, the Alamo Theater Arts Council presented their annual Globe awards for excellence in local theater in the lovely space of SAC's McAllister auditorium. Like all awards ceremonies, it was a somewhat masturbatory exercise in self-congratulation; and, unfortunately, like most awards ceremonies, a bit too long. (How many powerpoint photos can one person stand? We are but flesh.) Tami and Ken Frazier, artistic directors of the Vexler Theater, received (and then surprisingly and graciously declined) the special Globe award for contributions to San Antonio theater, stating that the Globe award belonged to all of us. (They probably didn't know I was in the audience. I have nothing to do with the production of art. Me, I just criticize.) Speaking of which, if I were master of the universe (and who's to say I won't be?), I would definitely make some changes to the award ceremony itself. For one thing, as it now stands, there are way too many awards, divided up between a gazillion somewhat arbitrary categories (comedy, drama, and musical: but what the hell happens if someone puts on Chekhov?). Also, there's no nomination system, per se: anybody who scores high enough on the judges' ballots gets an award. I don't know exactly how many actresses received the best supporting actress in a musical, but it looked like the entire population of Boerne was on stage. There's also no suspense involved -- you discover the nomination and the winner at the same time: where's the fun in that? San Antonio should have a nomination system like the Kevin Kline awards in St. Louis, or the Helen Hayes awards in DC: five nominations, one award. Sure, not everyone will get a gold star, but excellence is like that. Lastly, I wasn't around for most of last year, so I really have little to say about the merits or demerits of last night's judging (congrats to all the winners, by the way). But I did catch the final production of the San Pedro Playhouse cellar season, Electricidad, which was pretty amazing; and which was the only show at the SPP not to get an award. Now this was either a simply smashing year for theater in San Antonio or there was a serious miscarriage of justice. (I'm hoping it was the former. I would love confirmation.)

Posted by Thomas Jenkins on 10/1/2007
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