Why do theatre companies have them?
Rob Kozlowski posted a blog saying that he went to see a preview of Little Dog Laughed. He wrote a little bit about the show as did one of his commenters. Eric Rosen posted a comment in response where he gets on people's cases about criticizing a preview, comparing it to inviting dinner guests over when you're deciding on the menu.
No offense to someone I don't know, but ... that's kind of a dumb analogy. It's more like inviting people over an hour early while you're setting the table. Why would you? I certainly wouldn't, unless they were an out of town guest that was staying over and had nowhere else to go. Or maybe he was saying that he's the type to plan his menu out last minute ... I'm a couple weeks in advance girl, if I'm having a dinner party, but that's just me. Anyway ...
I don't really understand previews and inviting others to see a final dress/tech, especially if you're not ready and there's the chance of someone yelling "Hold!" during the show. If you're at the "Hold!" point, I don't think you're ready to have an audience.
Am I wrong? And, if you're going to invite people to come see the show before it's ready to open and those people have an opinion on the show, then ... why would you have a problem with that? You chose to let them in!!! Our friend, Bob, wanted to come see A View from the Bridge during one of our final dress rehearsals, but we just weren't ready to let the public in. We were figuring out the video stuff, making sure our light board and sound/video ops were good to go, making sure the actors were comfortable in the space, giving last minute notes, etc. Sometimes, we're completely set to go the night before we open, sometimes we just need the closed space. This time, we needed the privacy, even though Bob's a director, peer, friend, etc. We just weren't ready to pull back the curtain.
So ... why do people have previews exactly? How do they normally work? Do people pay to see glitches or are they normally free?