Rules for Having a Friend in the Theater District
Know thy friend's organization
This is the most important part of having a friend that works in the Theater District. I don't know about my peers, but nothing irritates me more than someone asking me for tickets to a performance that my organization is not presenting. In some cases, this can be akin to asking your friend who works for Reebok if they can land you a pair of Air Jordans. Take some time to know your friend's organization; what they present, who they are, WHAT . . .THEY . . .DO! If you are a real friend, you should truly already know this anyway.
Read thy local newspaper
I've already pointed this out for your own general welfare, but it's also a great way to get in good with your Theater District friend(s). If your friend's organization is featured, positively or negatively, in the Chronicle, mention it to your friend. If it's positive, call them to congratulate them. If it's negative, call them to say hello (they may need a pick me up), and only discuss it if they bring it up. I am going to give tickets to friends that I know are interested in my organizations offerings. If they are tickets from another organization, again, I want to bring a friend that is interested in the arts. Commenting on reviews is the best way to get on the free ticket gravy train!
Your friend is going to more giving to those that show up without needing free tickets to be there. We're not talking about becoming regulars, just make sure you make an effort to buy one ticket for every ticket you are given. Dollar amounts are not a factor here. One ticket purchased equals a free ticket of any price level. NOTE: Ask your friend to get you primo seats when you are paying your own way. Honestly, this is how they can and should pay you back for offering to pay your own way.
Tell thy friend your honest opinion
Even if you thought it was the worst thing you have ever seen, tell your friend the honest feelings. Your friend should appreciate your honesty. If not, they're in the wrong business. Being honest will also help your friend better identify which performances you'll enjoy and the ones they should offer to someone else. This is, personally, where I get the greatest joy out of giving tickets to my friends. I love my job most when I am able to create that spark between my friends and the arts. Being honest with your friend will allow them to enjoy their job more. Trust me on this!
In any case, the following is a comprehensive guide of how to handle the sometimes uncomfortable post-performance assessment.
You LOVED it! (Hopefully your friend expected this reaction.)
Tell your friend: Gush like Ol' Faithful.
Tell others: Gush like Ol' Faithful. One of the best things you can do for your friend is tell as many people how much you loved the performance. It is the best support their organization can get!
You liked it, and once (blank type of performance) was enough.
Tell your friend: Exactly that. Sometimes, one kind of performance is enough to last a lifetime. Make sure your friend knows this to avoid being bored the next time around."
Tell others: If you need to see one (blank kind of performance) this is the one to see.
You didn't like it
Tell your friend: You didn't like it. Again, they should appreciate your honesty. However, if they ask you why, be gentle. There is a fine line between being gracious and stomping on your friend's generosity.
Tell others: It was good, but not my cup of tea. Praise the quality of the production of the content wasn't to your liking. Praise the content if the production wasn't to your liking. ALWAYS remember, just because you don't like something doesn't mean someone else won't love it.
You HATE it!
Tell Your Friend: You hated it, but sugarcoat it. Remember the fine line that exists here, and be as respectful as possible. Nevertheless, your friend should probably have known better, and you can ever-so-gently give them some hell. The tickets may have been free, but you cannot ever truly go to the theater for free with parking, drinks, dinner, time, etc. Still, we can presume that your friend did have your best interests at heart, so be gentle.
Tell Others: Same as you didn't like it. The worst thing you can do is pay back your friend's kindness by ripping their organization's offerings to shreds in public. You don't have to overdo it, just avoid all out criticism, and move on. Stop short of recommending it to others. While you should protect your friend and their organization, it is understandable that you do not want to ruin your reputation by exhibiting poor artistic taste. Furthermore, never forget that your trash is another man's treasure. You owe it to your friend to consider that adage.
NOTE: If your friend shares your negative opinion, feel free to rip apart the performance. However, that is ONLY when you are talking to your friend; the other rules ALWAYS apply to other people.
Theater District, rules, tickets