As a former landlord of a small apartment building, I can tell you in one word:
If anyone had been hurt, it could have fallen to the landlord as a secondary - or quite possibly even primary party in a lawsuit, because the tenant had leased it for "residential" as opposed to "commercial purposes." The property owner most likely had "deeper pockets" than the playwright tenant, so he/she would most likely have been party to a liability lawsuit. Expensive. And his insurance carrier could have denied any claim as it was an illegal act.
As a playwright and actor, I personally love the guy's gumption and his tenacity and inventiveness and cunning and all the other things he did. But...when something like that could totally bankrupt someone else...whew!
I had a woman - whom I thought was sane as she had been a long-term tenant and became kind of a friend who looked over the place when I was out of town - who was running an off-the-books day care center for about six kids when I was gone.
I evicted her pretty quickly, as you can not run a business in a residential - as opposed to a commercial - rental. Can you imagine the lawsuits I would have had with a kid being injured!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy Sheeeeeeeeiiiiiite!
Then, I decided to sell the building, as I did not want to have those problems. Thank god I sold when the market was high!
I would have been liable for any injuries to any CHILD - or in the playwright's case - audience member. And insurance would not have covered my liability, as I would have been in violation of my insurance policy regarding residential vs. commercial usage.
These are all "grown-up legal/business" issues that I myself personally hate, but they have to be dealt with.
I think they guy had a great idea. Kind of apartment theatre. Given it became a commercial enterprise, he should have approached his landlord first. Made an insurance rider, if possible, and gotten liability on himself and all the other legal mumbo jumbo crap one has to go through. Really, most likely it would not have cost him that much.
Personally, as the actor/writer...and even as a former landlord...I hope he gets away with it!!!!
I hope he taped it. He could probably make some money on it. I forget, did it mention in the article he taped it? I'll have to look again.
Anyway, it always shows how inventive we must become to get our stuff out there. I admire the guy tremendously. Wish I could have been there!
in media res
P.S. Of course, I lived in NYC for many years. I totally understand. You do what you gotta do to get noticed!