The theatrical equivalent of Hot Or Not

by Smartie on January 13, 2011

Not just the title is cheeky!

Aaron Grunfeld has a fun weekly series going on over at his blog The Fifth Wall, wherein he reviews titles of plays.

It’s kind of the theatrical equivalent of Hot or Not, since it is impossible to be substantive in the title. But it’s still kind of fun.
I do think Aaron is sort of on to something here–frankly, titles matter. And the more intriguing the title, the more likely to get an inquiry from a media member. Or an adventurous audience member who was jazzed enough by the title to purchase a ticket.
Now onto a title example (and this is the point where I have to disagree with Aaron).
In his January 4th Title Bout, he critique’s Pants On Fire’s Metamorphosis, claiming that the inclusion of Pants On Fire (the name of the company that created the show) sinks the title.
In Edinburgh, the title was Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and that was the title announced for New York. The original title brought out this response: “who needs another Metamorphosis, hasn’t it been done to death already?” But when Pants On Fire was added to the title, that same journalist said “Oh, now I get it, it sounds really fun.” (And incidentally, it is really fun!)
What the addition of Pants On Fire did was take what is a ho-hum, “been there, done that Ovid stuff” reaction from audience and make them pay attention to what was different about this Metamorphosis.
In other words, titles can matter when trying to sell a show.
So, sorry, Aaron, we must agree to disagree. Pants On Fire makes the title pretty darn catchy. But it’s OK, ’cause I know you liked it.

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