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Drawing a Paycheck might not pay the artist's bills but does ask questions common to Austin's creative scene
Dr. Scott Walters, an associate drama professor at the University of North Carolina, recently put forth the idea of an “organic theater.” In his words, this theater would be “a small community of people who sometimes perform, sometimes listen — a sort of ensemble who share their talents with each other in informal spaces... [it] wouldn't create a 'product' to be sold, but rather members would come together to share gifts, alternately giving an receiving.”
Solo performer Annie La Ganga's latest improvised show, Drawing a Paycheck, felt very close to Walters' vision. Two kitchen chairs, which we soon learned were from her kitchen, rested on stage with some drawing tools and a large pad of paper. The lights were basic and the stage was empty, even in comparison to other Frontera shows. There was no fanfare, music or dimming of the stage lights to welcome Annie; she just popped her head around the corner and said, “Hello!”
“Hi!” audience members enthusiastically called back. When La Ganga asked how people were doing, she genuinely meant it, peering past the stage lights to name friends and smile at those she hadn't yet met. The crowd was small but enthusiastic. Many knew each other and La Ganga. From the start, the experience felt more like an informal gathering than Theater with a capital T.