Target Margin Theater was founded in 1991 by David Herskovits on the principle that works of art return us to real truths more powerfully by their divergence from a strict illustration of reality. Through classic and contemporary texts, we seek continuously to expand our conception of what can take place in a theater. Now in our 20th season, we have created aggressively re-imagined versions of classics and new creations inspired by existing sources. Difference is the generative principle of everything we do. When we program we gravitate toward plays or other literary material that is different from us; either it is from another cultural or historical context, or it is strange in language or content, or it is formally adventurous and challenges our received ideas about what a play is. This often means aggressively poetic writing like Gertrude Stein and Shakespeare; or music-theater or opera; or adaptations of non-dramatic sources. We hope that everything we do creates a different answer to the question, ‘what is a play?’
Difference as a company principle not only defines the work we create but also positions us in our social context. We aggressively cast and staff our work with the broadest range of people. That means racial diversity has been a guiding principle from the start, but it is no less true of gender and age differences. We are proud that one way people identify a TMT show is our history of diverse casts and crews. It also means that as an artistic matter, we seek to give opportunities to people to work in new arenas. Our mainstage productions have given first jobs to designers straight out of grad school, to emerging directors, and to young actors just getting their union card; our Lab has nurtured hundreds of young artists. TMT is a place where new talent finds opportunity.
We are especially proud of the many artists we have inspired and fostered. TMT has had a significant impact on the field in New York and nationally by identifying, supporting and influencing a generation of new artists. The list of artists whose career roots trace back to working with us is long and growing: Founding Artistic Director of The Elevator Repair Service John Collins, Tony-nominated designer David Zinn, Denver Center Literary Director Douglas Langworthy, set designer Louisa Thompson, award-winning playwright Rinne Groff, director Trip Cullman, lighting designer Mark Barton, director Carolyn Cantor, Clubbed Thumb’s Diana Konopka, director Emma Griffin, costume designer Miranda Hoffman and Tony Award-winning actor John Lloyd Young. Young TMT artists continue to start their own vibrant companies including Little Lord (a theater company) and Theater Reconstruction Ensemble. This influence on our cultural conversation is as much an achievement as the productions we create, and we hope is effect will be lasting.
Ultimately, Target Margin is defined by the work that we do. Our more than 40 mainstage productions include ten world premieres, seven company-created works, three U.S. premieres and five new translations. Recent well-received productions include Faust at Classic Stage Company, The Really Big Once at the Ontological, A Family of Perhaps Three at The Chocolate Factory, Ten Blocks on the Camino Real at The Ohio Theater, People Are Wrong at The Vineyard and The Argument and Dinner Party at The Kitchen. Our productions have garnered four OBIE Awards, enlisted the talents of hundreds of designers and employed over 500 Equity actors. For 20 years we have worked amongst our many “downtown” peers to share our excitement and further our ideas of difference, mystery and entertainment. Target Margin has also enjoyed creative partnerships with Classic Stage Company, The Vineyard Theatre, The Ontological, HERE Arts Center, The Chocolate Factory, The Bushwick Starr and The Kitchen. Extending outside of New York, TMT has been presented at the Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, Mass MoCA, the Emelin Theatre and the Bonn Biennale in Germany. Our various partnerships over the years make the work possible and broaden our impact on the field at large.