By Mac Rogers
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Shortly after I wrote my little bit about whether or not Angels In America could be produced today, playwright and ole china plate Mac Rogers mentioned that he had just come off a year in which he wrote and helped produce an epic science fiction trilogy. We got to talking about it, and I asked him to weigh in here with his experiences. Enjoy.)
Mac Rogers here, guest-blogging on Parabasis in response to Isaac's post earlier this week on the Mike Boehm "Could 'Angels In America' happen today?" article in the LA Times. I highly recommend reading the whole article - in particular, the description of the ANGELS IN AMERICA development process is riveting - but the basic gist is: in this time of drastically reduced arts funding, could a little known playwright write - and hope to see produced - a play like ANGELS that is epic in both length and scope, with a large cast and a host of capital-I ideas? Are PITTSBURGH and KENTUCKY CYCLEs a thing of the past? Are all the plays now going to be sort of magical-realist urban comedies of manners where a painting or a math problem is a metaphor for the 90-minute problems of a cast of three?
It was just much easier to be poor back then. It feels now like you need $20,000 a year to wake up in this country, and kids are coming out of school with so much debt." Taccone said that in his conversations with beginning artists, "These kids are, like, 'I have to start my own brand,' creating tiny businesses that are not able to support you full time; you scale back your expectations to do little projects that you self-produce, to get your little niche audience, your Facebook following. The spirit of it is cool, it shows ambition and drive and creativity, but it's just so compromised. There's just a huge lack of resources that has an immediate impact on what they can aspire to.