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November 18, 2008

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Seth Christenfeld

"a big Middle Finger to everyone who shies away from producing aggressive work that provokes an audience."

In other words: to write something rough like Blasted and have it produced, all the playwright needs to do is die young.

RLewis

...die young, and don't let the play into the US for 5 years. the play sold out on suspenseful marketing buzz (including talented actors) before it ever opened, not because it was aggressive or provoking. Until the new Dot program, did Soho Rep even have a suscriber base?

Aaron Riccio

In response to Seth--Stephen Daldry commissioned and produced "Blasted" for the Royal Court back in 1995, so methinks that what one needs is not to die young, or even to write young, but a producer who is willing to, as Isaac and Tommy Smith point out, stand behind that middle finger until the audiences reach out and embrace it.

As for the entertainment factor, I suspect that varies from person to person. I'm in the camp that does NOT like merely to be entertained--I want to feel something real, something that justifies going to a live production instead of turning in and tuning out at home. The movies I enjoy, (like Quantum of Solace, which Smith references), DO more than entertain--at the least, they excite, which is a vicarious thrill. Can one simply entertain? Sure. But I didn't like Reggie Watts's "Disinformation" because it only made me--occasionally--laugh. I already get that one-dimensionality from the daily slog at work.

Seth Christenfeld

Aaron--I'm well aware of Blasted's history. I probably should have qualified my initial comment with the phrase "in the US."

The UK seems to be somewhat more welcoming of younger, rougher playwrights--recently the girl who wrote That Face, and stretching back as far as Shelagh Delaney, Joe Orton, and John Osborne (if not earlier), all of whom were young, mean, and produced in major venues.

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