No, I haven’t visited yet. I wish. It doesn’t open until 2013. Just, watching a very PR-laced video about the plans for the new Kabuki-za. I’m sad to see the old one go, and still sad that I never got to attend the sayonara performances/ceremonies. But, I’m glad at least that I can say that I’ve experienced the old one (whereas my potential former students, for example, will not be able to).
While a video like this certainly makes me feel all dirty and commercialized and advertised-to, at the end of the day, I think the new theatre is going to be nice. There would be no point in ruining it in any way, and I’m sure that the actors, or someone else representing the view of the traditional arts and such, have been consulted extensively. I’m not saying I’m totally onboard, like “woohoo let’s knock everything down and rebuild it all super fancy pretty,” but, given that you and I had no say in it, and it’s been done, I do look forward to going there for shows again, and seeing the new gallery, International Culture Center, and rooftop garden. From what little I’ve read/seen, it sounds like some of the most major changes to the visitor experience are simply the installation of greater handicapped access, more toilets, more direct access into the theatre from the subway (through a new underground basement lobby), and such.
Mainly, the real point of this post, is to say that watching a video like this, or otherwise thinking about Kabuki-za (or other theatres) really makes me feel like I want, someday, to be enough of a bigshot professor or curator or whatever that I will end up spending time backstage or in the offices not as a special guest on a one-time tour (though that would be awesome), but in some more regular way. I wonder if that’s too much to hope for. I wonder how many times James Brandon or Julie Iezzi have been backstage at Kabuki-za.