Not this or that, but this and that. Because one thing is true, it doesn't necessarily follow that the opposite is not also true. Up and down, back and forth, move ahead and drop back, no straight staircase to the sky but growth in a kind of spiral: success, success, success, then failure and disappointment, then the struggle to get unstuck and push ahead, to keep on keeping on, and the one who finishes last wins. Brecht has Galileo say, 'As much of the truth gets through as we push through; we crawl by inches.'
It is good for actors to get paid. It is good for culture to thrive in our communities. Commercial theater is good for commerce. Non-profit theater is good for art. It is good to volunteer. It is good to earn a salary. A professional actor is someone who gets paid for what she does. A professional actor is someone who practices her profession whether she is paid or not.
It is good to embrace market values, to know what "sells" & how to sell it. It is good to resist the values of the marketplace, to make art for its own sake. It is good to see a popular actor on stage. It is good to see a young unknown in his first play. It is good for the price of theater tickets be competitive. It is good for theater tickets to be affordable. Not this OR that, but this AND that.
In her seminal 2003 essay Whither (or Wither) Art? Zelda Fichandler, the co-Founder & former Artistic Director of Arena Stage writes about the schism between artists & institutions, the conflicting needs of various constituencies. She calls out to her readers not to prioritize one need over another: "Because one thing is true, it doesn't necessarily follow that the opposite is not also true." Nothing must be excluded from the matrix of the artist & the artistic organization. Art AND money. Risk AND reward. Infrastructure AND freedom. To find the win/win, we embrace the possibility of "AND."