A daily ritual

Introducing . . . Theater Box Scores


Every day of baseball season, 165 days a year, I check the box scores in the sports section--that page with the tiny type where numbers are listed in neat little columns, row after row after row. My team is the Chicago Cubs, who suck, so I'm not really interested in whether they won or lost. In most cases, they lost. It's just a comforting habit I've developed, a kind of relaxation; my eyes graze across the acres of black ink and, like magic, I can see what happened on a field miles away from me. Box scores are simply an objective record of what happened that, yet, somehow, also allow more room for my romantic imagination of baseball to operate.

What people forget about box scores is that the statistics are not actually important. What's important is that the "statistics" are a quick way to represent a lot of three-dimensional activity in a short amount of space and time. Once you understand the language, like a computer's 1's and 0's, the numbers have a way of recreating information to a stunning degree of seemingly perfect complexity

In an attempt to cover more performances with the limited resources we have at MinnesotaPlaylist.com, we've developed a "box score" for the performing arts. While we recognize that absolutely nothing is a substitute for being at a show--like nothing is a substitute for being at a game--we think the box scores below help convey how different the same show can be from night to night. We also recognize that you cannot experience the story of a play from numbers on a screen. Still, we hope they can at least become a way to illustrate the gigantic amount of theater activity that happens all across this state on any given day.

Anyway, we thought it would be fun to try.

Examine the key below, then scroll through the numbers. Once you understand the language, we think you'll able to imagine the performances.

Thank you, as always, for playing with us,

Alan Berks, Publisher, MinnesotaPlaylist.com

P.S. How do you get your show in the box score? Identify someone who will be involved with every show and is willing to fill out a short survey afterward then email me, and we'll set you up.

# = Performance / Total Performances
CS = Crowd Size (4=Sold Out, 1=Small)
CR = Crowd Response (4=Standing Ovation, 1=Dead)
AR = Actor Response (4=On Fire, 1=Tanked)
P = Pace (4=Perfect, 1=Slow)
CD = Crowd Disruptions
TD = Technical Disruptions
AE = Actor Error

October 1, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
Accidental Death of an Anarchist 1/15 2 3 3 4 0 0 6 96.0
nimbus AE: stumbling over a few lines, a few lines dropped, but no falls. Where were the falls dammit?
The audience laughed a lot.
The Pride 13/24 2 3 3 3 0 0 0 115.5
Pillsbury House Theatre

October 2, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
The Pride 14/24 1 3 3 3 1 0 0 108.5
Pillsbury House Theatre Very small audience (rivaling the size of our first Sunday), but they responded very positively. A relatively large percentage of them stayed for the post-show discussion.

October 5, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
The Pride 14/23 3 3 4 4 0 0 0 156.0
Pillsbury House Theatre By far, this pay-what-you-can audience was our liveliest, most responsive audience.

October 6, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
Accidental Death of an Anarchist 3/15 1 1 1 4 0 0 4 16.0
nimbus AE: prop spilled and made a mess onstage, prop got unretrieveably kicked under the audience, a couple of mac-truck pauses waiting for a line to be said
The audience hated us. They were so angry to be stuck spending time with us. One person fell asleep within the first 5 minutes. We utterly failed to entertain the audience, except for one guy. We entertained one guy. I worked in a couple of Billy Joel song quotes. Had to try to find a way to have fun in the face of people who wanted me dead so I would shut up.
The Pride 15/23 1 2 3 3 0 0 0 93.0
Pillsbury House Theatre Very quiet, small audience, standing in stark contrast with the previous night's audience. They seemed to like it, though. Sally Wingert, Michelle Hensley, & Randy Reyes attended and praised the show & actors profusely in the lobby afterward.

October 7, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
The Pride 16/23 2 3 3 3 0 0 0 115.5
Pillsbury House Theatre
Rabbit Hole 1/10 3 3 3 3 0 0 1 115.5
Workhouse Theatre Company AE: A skipped line jumped over a favorite moment ... the cast grieved inwardly, but soldiered on.
There were two guys outside the garage door backstage having a very loud and aggressive argument. We don't think the audience heard them, but they were loud.

October 8, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
The Pride 17/23 1 1 3 3 0 0 0 75.5
Pillsbury House Theatre Noticeable loss of audience after intermission. Very quiet. Those that stayed seemed to enjoy it, though (quietly).
Anna Bella Eema 1/10 3 3 3 3 5 1 4 88.5
Theatre Unbound TD: Tape recorder malfunction
AE: line paraphrasing
Rabbit Hole 2/10 1 3 4 3 0 2 1 126.5
Workhouse Theatre TD: Our annoying toy siren car went off backstage when it was supposed to be sitting quietly in a box. And then the air conditioning went on, very loudly.
AE: Minimal line dropping, but by in large it was on.
The audience shed many tears ... which is better than a standing ovation for this show!

October 9, 2011 # CS CR AR P CD TD AE DSM
The Pride 18/23 2 3 3 3 0 0 0 115.5
Pillsbury House Theatre
Anna Bella Eema 2/10 1 2 3 2 1 0 1 75.5
Theatre Unbound AE: Energy lack
there were 5 audience members


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