Brian Baumgartner, co-artistic director, Hidden Theatre:
It's very positive the way in which the companies in Minneapolis are moving toward helping each other, setting up alliances. It means that companies are beginning to want to help, as opposed to trying to undermine each other or stay in isolation. A community that is talking lets you get to know the other artists better. You set up a common vocabulary. If you have all these groups working totally independently, there are simple things that could happen that don't. For example, if I have one week to tech a show, this group gives me an opportunity to say, I need five people to come hang lights, and when you're in a bind I'll come and help you hang lights. Or I'm running a show, you're running a show: Take my publicity and put it out at your show and I'll take yours. If people aren't talking, even those simple things don't happen.
My favorite theater moments of 1997 were: 1. The 52 seconds of silence in Blue Window (at Hidden Theatre); 2. The final waltz in Arcadia (at Park Square); 3. Stephen D'Ambrose in Quills (Eye of the Storm) and Seascape (the Jungle).
The most overrated show was the Guthrie's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The power went out at intermission the night I went, and I didn't care. I left. The second most overrated show was the Jungle's Bus Stop. I'd say the most underrated show was Fully Reciprocal Theatre Company's Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief. The best trend of 1997 was the small theaters' cooperative. And the scariest trend was a sharp drop in audience attendance.