Sunday, August 14, 2016

Today in gouging...

Ok, look, I think it's awesome that people are suddenly interested going to see plays. You might not know this about me, but I enjoy theatre. In fact, my major in college was theatre which is why I'm so employable now.
Cashier, barista, dog and/or house sitter. Yup,
there's nothing you can't do with a degree
in theatre. Except maybe work in a theatre...
"Yes, the final one...until I need to
reno my kitchen. Then, who knows?"
That said, holy shit what's wrong with you? Well, not you as in the person reading this. I have no particular beef with you. It's more of a general 'you.' The 'you' that's spending £8,372 on a ticket, which might be you, I really don't know. Anyway you might not be impressed by that figure because it's in pounds. In American money it's something like $10,815. Yeah, ten thousand dollars. Of money. For a ticket. To see a play. Ok, so it's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and supposedly the last Harry Potter story forever and ever, but still.

Of course that's not the face value of the ticket because while Potter fans can be just as batshit crazy as Trekkies or Bronies, and sometimes even play a real-life version of Quidditch with actual brooms between their legs, they're not made of Galleons.
Wait a minute, physical activity? Outdoors?
And the sure these are fans of fantasy novels?
Get your mind out of the gutter...I'm
kidding, you know exactly what I meant.

Instead, that objectively ridiculous sum is what tickets are going for online. Ok, so if you go on Viagogo and Stubhub right now, you'll see that $10,000 is an outlier, but there's a mark up of $100-$1,100 on every performance for the next couple of months. Buying them directly from the theatre is like $180, but it's throughly sold out for the foreseeable, so if you want to see the see the show at all you'll want to break out the Vaseline. Huh? What do you mean what for? Because you'll be paying through the nose and should lubricate your nostrils...why, what did you think I meant?

Donate to PBS: it's a great, tax
deductible way to let everyone
know you're better than them.
Yeah, ok, so Harry Potter and the Cursed Whatever is a multi-million dollar production with backers and name recognition and it will make incomprehensible sums of money for everyone involved and as long as asses are in seats, who cares? Everybody who would like to see theatre continue as an art form, that's who. Theatre's already fighting an uphill battle against cheaper, less smarmy forms of entertainment like Netflix and pretending to catch Pok√©mon. When resellers artificially inflate ticket prices, it puts super-popular shows like Harry Potter and Hamilton forever out-of-reach for most people and reinforces the notion that going to see a play is something for people who donate to PBS and only read biographies.

"Sorry kid, your ticket's no good.
But on
 up-side you now stand a better
chance of reaching adulthood."

-Willy Wonka, deleted scene
The Palace Theatre in London, where both parts of the Harry Potter are playing is cracking down on ticket resellers and that's cool, they totally should be but the people buying tickets through Stubhub or whatever aren't out to rip anyone off, they're just trying to get tickets to a sold out show. If someone shows up ticket bough online, there's a decent chance they won't let them in, thus putting another layer of alienation between the public and the theatre. Either way, everyone looses. Well, you know, except the scalpers.

Yeah, yeah, the concept of scarcity is at the heart of our free market system. I get it. Still, it just seems wrong that instead of your money going to the artists, performers, technicians and staff of the theatre that actually create a show, it's going to some asshole who bought up a bunch of tickets so they can re-sell them. In fact, they're probably doing better on a single performance than anyone actually working on it and in addition to just plain sucking, it's also kind of killing theatre.
"Yes, they spent months writing, directing, designing and rehearsing a production.
But I, as a reseller had to go online and buy tickets and then sell them at a massive
profit. So I ask you, who's the areal artist here? Me. The answer is me. I'm the artist."

-Some asshole

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