Making Way for the New

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When the play Skyscraper hits the stage this week, it offers one intriguing resonance with reality, and it offers an equally intriguing take on the financial model of putting on shows and paying participants.

The play focuses on the lives of six people (two of them played by John Sheldon and Katelyn Tsukada, who are pictured) brought together atop a skyscraper slated for demolition on the rainy eve of its destruction. Skyscraper was penned by David Auburn (Proof) and will be directed by Advocate theater critic Chris Rohmann. The characters’ interactions take place in a quite appropriate venue—the part of the new Northampton Community Arts Trust building on Northampton’s Hawley Street which will be demolished for renovations.

The other unusual part of the performance will go on behind the scenes. The paying of actors and techs will be accomplished via a profit-sharing model. Under that model, those who put on Skyscraper will get paid via the proceeds; additionally, 10 percent of profits will seed a fund earmarked for future Valley artistic collaborations. Rohmann says, “We hope our initiative will serve as a Valley-wide inspiration and a foundation to grow and strengthen the performing arts in our area.”

In a time when tough economic conditions are putting the squeeze on artistic organizations, it’s an attempt which may well prove fruitful.

May 15-17, 8 p.m.; May 15 tickets “pay what you can”; May 16-17 tickets $12-15/advance, $15-20/door; Northampton Community Arts Trust building, 33 Hawley St., Northampton,

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