I love my season tickets. Through the years we’ve held season tickets for all sorts of performing arts companies — Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, Phoenix Symphony. And the Broadway series at ASU Gammage.
When my children were small, keeping track of tickets was tough. After years of rifling through every drawer in the house looking for tickets as showtimes loomed, and panic set in, I finally figured out that having season tickets allowed me to show up with my I.D. and get duplicate copies for the ones I’d sacrificed to the almighty dust bunnies.
True, it’s better not those lose those puppies in the first place. There’s nothing “green” about having to kill an extra set of trees because you can’t get your ticket act together. But life happens, and I love my season tickets for making it just a wee bit easier. I’d have missed some amazing performance art without them.
I’ve got season tickets on the brain after my most recent read of “Theatre,” the latest book by director and playwright David Mamet — who suggests that having season tickets zaps the joy right out of theater-going. When your attendance is predetermined, he argues, you go of obligation instead of wonder. Using that theory, I suppose none of us would ever marry.
I’ve never felt guilted by a season ticket. If I don’t want to see something, it can sit in my drawer. But it’s there if I need it. Most of the time.
Mamet posits that the audience is supreme in the world of theater. Hard to argue with that since they pay the bills and sometimes offer actors reactions they can’t get performing for an empty house. Kill the fire in the belly of those who attend your shows at your own peril.
Mamet wants me to enjoy my theater, and seems to fret that having season tickets might lower my fun factor. But what happens when I’m sitting in my seat, prearranged or otherwise, is only one source of the delight I find in theater-going. I want to enjoy the show. But I also want to support the people who make my wonder happen. They’re perfectly capable of enjoying financial security without sacrificing creativity.
On the selfish side, season tickets allow me to save money, to enjoy the same seats for every show in a given season and to learn before the rest of the world about special offers and opportunities. When the hottest Broadway show around comes to town, I want that first chance to buy tickets. I’m just sorry there isn’t a season package for Springsteen.
But they also help me spread the love. Season tickets are an up-front show of support for the theater companies I love (though now that I write about the arts I’m giving them up for the sake of not playing favorites).
Season tickets are handy when you’re in gift-fairy mode, and eager to find fun gifts of the experience rather than object variety. Being a season ticket holder makes it easier to get decent tickets for other folks, and tickets you’re not using are always appreciated by the people you share them with.
I’m going to miss my season tickets. But maybe, if I do enough spring cleaning, I’ll find all those old ones I had to replace at the box office. I can stare at them longingly, and hope the rest of you are out there giving season tickets for 2011/12 offerings a good home.
Note: Click here to read a review of David Mamet’s “Theatre”
Coming up: Art meets JFK, Phoenix Art Museum offerings, The fine art of Father’s Day, More new seasons