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January 20, 2010


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Ding ding ding. You get the prize, sir.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist

to date, I've had one production in London (which recently ended its 3 week run on October) and various stage readings so far, both in UK and US.

Iam SO tired of readings. when am I gonna get my play produced again? F--k it, I'm going to self produce my plays because no one else will!

Ian Knox

More masterpieces? Gah, my Artaud reflex kicked in when I read that.

While I heartily agree with your proposition to produce more plays that are less than perfect, I take some issue with that ultimate goal... or more specifically with whose ultimate goal it is.

On one hand you say that we need more masterpieces in the canon, but on the other hand you say that we shouldn't produce them (focusing instead on "ok-to-good plays by today's playwrights") in order to keep beginning and mid-career writers from calling it quits. So once this arbitrary "masterpiece" level is reached a play's producibility should depreciate? This seems somewhat at cross purposes doesn't it?

I feel that the goal of a theatre should not be to produce only great scripts, it should be to create great productions which can be done with any script that meets basic level of competency (h/t Scott Walters). It is the goal of the playwright (and only the playwright) to write great scripts.

Let the text book authors decide what's a "masterpiece" and what isn't-- it's a silly subjective term anyway that serves no real purpose except perhaps in what gets taught in thea101 classes.


Agreed, Isaac. There's entirely too much pressure on playwrights to write the next great play and directors to snatch it up. The exposure and dialogue potentially opened up by producing more plays seems like a surer way to foster more and better work.

I agree with Ian that "canon" is a "silly subjective term." While we may agree that a canon exists, I don't know that there is necessarily general consensus about "what plays fit the quality of masterpiece." Particularly when it comes to arguing for the inclusion, say, of more recent formally unconventional works into the canon.

Also, academics (who often double as text book editors) have done a lot to rethink the whole notion of canon, to correct for historical ignorance and oversight (exclusion based on class, race, sex, etc.), but I'm not sure just how much (or well) these changes have carried over into the daily lives of theatre makers, readers, and viewers. The 'new canon' wants to be fair(er), more democratic, but I don't think it's there yet.

Ben Layne

Isn't this essentially a variaiton on the old chestnut of "They say I need experience, but how can I get experience if nobody will hire me?"

It's a similar question to how we develop better actors, better directors, better designers, etc. We have to take greater risks in order to expect real progress.


Just to clarify: I'm not really a canonist, I'm trying to speak to/with the assumptions that undergird a more cannonist position than I myself hold. That's why i was trying to outline some assumptions at the top of the post.


10,000 hours, boo.

And they can't be all spent in workshops where people who want the same thing as you do try not to tear you down, or give you bad criticism, but since you're all at the same level, no one knows what writing at that next level looks like from the inside?

What, me bitter? Nah.

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