I do not know. I do not know what it is that it is.
I suppose on one level I do. I know that it is a website called TheatreAlive! The exclamation mark seems mandatory, but at today's launch of the thing I didn't hear a single excited wide-eyed cry of the title at all. If the launch is anything to go by, it's TheatreAlive. No upwardly trailing trill at the end, no jazz hands, no punchy delivery. Just TheatreAlive.
What it is that it is that confuses me is that the thing had a launch at all. It's a good idea, sure. The website will list every show on in Melbourne, as well as helping media-illiterate arty types to promote their shows successfully. It also provides a rundown on all of the arts companies and individuals and stuff, and I'm kind of impressed that there are already so many in there, including some I've never heard of despite nearly a decade keeping tabs on this stuff.
But how do you launch a website? Crack a bottle of champagne over a keyboard? Pull a big lever that sets off fireworks? Dress a dog in a tutu and set it loose in the crowd? I would love it if any one of these things happened, especially since I'd had to reorganise my entire week's schedule so I could get along to the lunchtime event.
But it was just a bunch of speeches from higher-ups, the obligatory MP Mary Delahunty, and for some reason William McInnes.
Even Bill didn't seem to know what he was doing there. After Mary introduced him as William Innes, he took that as a cue to begin recollecting all the different names he's been mistakenly introduced as over the years. And then he began relating some funny stories about his time as an actor. But as he admitted, he hasn't really done much of the small-to-medium sized work which is the site's focus. So he ended by saying: "My name is William McInnes. Not William Innes." And left.
I couldn't even stay to review the post-launch food. I was too bewildered by it all. Again, I think the website is probably a great thing, even if it is a government initiative which might work to centralise control over the promotion of arts companies, thus marginalising those who don't come to the table. And there was the usual rendering of arts-related talk in the terms of business-speak. But I don't think all of this stuff means the service isn't a good one.
But the launch? Apart from giving those interested a chance to schmooze, I would have rather it went something like this:
AHFLV: Criminy, I've got an email in me inbox.
EMAIL: HELLO. THERE IS A NEW WEBSITE WHICH IS WELL GOOD. IT IS CALLED THEATREALIVE! AND YOU CAN FIND IT HERE. IT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED...NOW.
Would have saved us all a lot of bother.
This week has more openings than the AHFLV mail-checking service (we have them on hand to investigate letters for biochemical agents and stuff). They shall be reported on in due course.
Also: do not trust this woman. She is a pickpocket.