SOR 020: Lou Harry

Guest:
Lou Harry (@louharry)

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It is a delight to have Lou Harry in this episode of the podcast. He made me laugh out loud repeatedly while we were recording, but beyond just being entertaining he also has some unique insight on theatre and the arts in general. He wears the hats of both a playwright and an arts critic.

And while I don’t know if he would use these words to describe himself, after talking to him in this episode I see him as an activist for the arts. He endeavors to (and succeeds at) creating and consuming valuable art. He works from multiple angles to raise the level of art being produced.

I can’t wait to get him back on the podcast again down the road.

Lou’s discussion on the role of criticism really made an impression on me in this episode. Prior to our conversation I had the naive idea in my head that criticism existed almost exclusively to provide a recommendation (or not) as to whether someone should buy a ticket to see that show. That might be how some critics approach it, but Lou is looking at a bigger picture.

In this episode:

  • the unique marketing advantage of a rotating cast – when the rehearsal schedule is not too demanding and you have a unique idea, you can bring in local talent that pulls their own audience
  • the unique marketing advantage of an improv format – you can attract more repeat ticket-buyers when each performance is different
  • how to not-quite auction in street marketing – you can’t keep the money without a license, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go through all the entertaining mechanics of an auction
  • a big casualty of mainstream media reducing arts coverage – it’s easier than ever to intentionally find a review of a particular show, but more difficult to stumble across a diamond in the rough
  • the role of criticism – you can almost hear my mind expanding as I listen to Lou talking about this
  • how Lou decides which arts events to write about – short answer: it’s complicated (interestingly being a professional company that pays your actors makes a difference)

Items mentioned:

  • Lou’s Wikipedia entry – a short page that cites some of Lou’s artistic and critical writing
  • IBJ Arts – the arts and entertainment section of the Indianapolis Business Journal where Lou reviews local events
  • The High-Impact Infidelity Diet – Lou’s first novel which he’s developed into a stage play and optioned to Warner Brothers for development
  • louharry.com – Lou’s official site

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