The Impossible Dream
What are the requisites to classify a dream as an impossible one? Is there a list somewhere? How do we know a dream is achievable, possible or impossible?
There’s an old saying attributed to Mark Twain that says: “They did not know it was impossible, so they did it,” implying that your limitation lives in your mind. There’s no consensus, but people tend to think that idealistic dreams are not achievable. Usually when a dream starts with the word “someday,” some “reality patrol” comes and crushes them into pieces.
In that sense, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you add up “musical theater” and “idealistic”? That’s a weird question, I know, but let’s think for a moment.
Would you say that a theater with free tickets is idealistic? I mean, FREE TICKETS for everyone for all presentations. No cheaper seats in the back and expensive seats in the front. Everyone can sit anywhere they want, and all for free.
Since this is a dream, what if I say that people can book their seats online in advance and choose where they want to sit? Imagine reserving free tickets through Ticketmaster without any convenience fee (which by itself is an impossible dream). Would you say I’m dreaming or I’m crazy?
By now, you already think I’m crazy, so let’s add the fact that it’s not a school play but a full musical with a budget around five million dollars?
Most producers would throw me in the madhouse just for insinuating something like this, but ironically this is exactly the set of Man of La Mancha playing in São Paulo – asking nothing in return, except your applause.
Everything started when the actor and producer Cleto Baccic joined efforts with SESI (a nonprofit organization) and adapted The Drowsy Chaperone to the Brazilian stage almost two years ago. He managed to bring the best actors from the Brazilian musical theater, like Kiara Sasso, Sara Sarres and Saulo Vasconcelos. (All were part from the Brazilian production of The Phantom of The Opera – Saulo as the Phantom, Sara and Kiara as Christine.) But Baccic went beyond that and got other lesser-known actors and put them in the spotlight, too. He is also working with new actors in a new musical theater school made for the project. The result could not be better.
Man of La Mancha came as a replacement to The Drowsy Chaperone and just like the first one, it’s an absolute hit. It has a full house every single night.
The quality of the production is superb. From the stage to costume design, everything is impeccable. The fact that they were offering all this for free didn’t get in the way of quality.
But why am I telling you all this? Because I think that Baccic started something that even he didn’t realize. He showed that it was possible to offer a premium product without charging for it.
Big budget productions tend to be expansive and even with private companies paying a share, a big part is paid by the audience. That means that some people that otherwise would love theater don’t have the chance to set foot in one because the price is forbidden to them. And a smaller audience means less money, no matter the way you finance your play.
In this case SESI is the main financer, but why can’t a big company promote their brand using a musical instead of a television commercial? It´s cheaper and I can assure you that people will pay attention to it. Do you pay to use Google or any other good internet service? How much is Google worth and how much is a production company worth? Why not bring this model to entertainment in general, not only TV?
People usually think that you only will make money producing a play if you get a hit on your hands, but it’s time to wake up and realize that the reality may be better than the dream itself.
Let’s get rid of the barriers and let everybody in. This way, people can always come back and create a meaningful relationship with your play, musical, or whatever you are doing. This is happening right now in São Paulo. Just look it up on youtube. People will take home experiences that they will cherish for life and if you are on board this train, they will remember you as well.
Am I dreaming? Being too idealistic? Perhaps crazy? Well, the best things start as crazy things, when we find our Dulcinéa and stop fighting windmills. When we find this balance between sanity and reason we start to make the world better every single time. The dream is not a dream and the impossible becomes possible.