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A Few of the 365 Plays with Terence McFarland

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By day, Terence McFarland is known throughout the LA theatre community as the Executive Director of the LA Stage Alliance, a reputable non-profit service organization dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and support for the performing arts in Greater LA. After leaving the fashion industry in New York City to attend CalArts for a master's degree, he quickly found his role as a leader helping solve problems within the experimental art school's bureacracy of BS. It was that keen sense of "fuck this shit, let's fix it" that led him to be one of the most powerful movers and shakers in LA's theatre and cultural scene.

So what happens by night with McFarland? His art does. And tomorrow night at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. at Shakespeare Festival/LA in Downtown, his vision of the 365 Days/365 Plays festival will come and go as fast as Andy Goldworthy's art survives on a windy day (for info on seeing it tomorrow, go here). And here's what McFarland has to say...

Why should Angelenos check out 365?

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As directors and companies threw their hats in the ring during the application process to participate in the 365 festival we weren't given the plays for the weeks we picked. We went in blind and cold.

Knowing a thing or two about Suzan-Lori (um, hello, TopDog Underdog, The America Play - Lincoln as the ground zero of Race and America), I figured Lincoln's birthday week would be a kick-ass week. Not to mention that my birthday is Feb 11th. Little did I know that she fucking killed it with president's book-ending the week and a sweet gooey valentine's day play in the middle. The performers, dancers collaborators and I are having a delicious time...a deep tongue kiss to the audience for valentine's day week.

Last night, the performers and I were discussing the generosity of these plays, not only in our week, but throughout the 365 cycle and Suzan-Lori's and [producer] Bonnie [Metzgar's] generosity in allowing this work to be shared with communities of different stripes, shapes and sizes with the inherent understanding that if a reading is all one company pulls off it is celebrated just like that of a fully realized production. There are over 16 regions producing 52 weeks of programming - that's at least 832 theatre companies collaborating on one work throughout the country. Even if you're a community activist and don't give a rat's ass about theater - consider the Herculean grass roots work it took to build the coalition that made this happen.

Also, Suzan Lori lives in Venice, won the Pulitzer Prize and the festival is FREE. Free, that's right, free. 52 weeks of FREE shows produced by some of the best companies Los Angeles has to offer and a tremendous number of up and coming directors, performers, collectives etc. There are so many approaches and entry points for the work that everyone can find a way in to the worlds of these plays.

In the weeks I've attended I've seen some of my favorite performers, discovered a few new ones, reconnected with friends and had one of my top theatre experiences all year. My mister, Dennis said that the play for Jan 10, Things are tough all over, was his favorite play of the last year.