Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Email a playwright

 The world is getting smaller and smaller.

(That photo to the left is actual size, no really.)

This means we live in an age where everyone is accessible by email or phone (or even Facebook).  The degrees of separation are shrinking from six to three.  This means that emailing a playwright is easier than you think. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local small-town playwright or Tony Kushner.  

Chances are if they're still alive, you can probably get in touch with them, especially if you’re nice, normal (ie not crazy), love their work and want to talk to them about their plays (and/or produce them). 

It’s so easy, why wouldn’t you?

Some folks seem to prefer to work on plays by dead playwrights: Shakespeare, Chekhov, O’Neill, etc.  And some folks have gotten so used to working only on these old dead guys that when a playwright actually does enter the room they don’t know how to talk to him or her. 

As many people know, I'm a big fan of playwrights being in the room.  I love rehearsals, whether I'm working as an actor, director or a playwright.  I don't always want to watch the painful but necessary process of actors getting off-book, but I like to be available, and not just for the mentality of being a "playwright cop" making sure they "do it right".  I'm not Beckett, y'know.

Just imagine for a second how nice it would be if you were directing or acting in Hamlet and you were having trouble with a particular scene, or line, and you could just email good o’l Billy Shakes and say, “What the heck is Hamlet doing with that whole “To be or not to be” speech, Bill?”  And he could tell you.  And it would save a lot of time and heartache and guesswork. 

Why wouldn’t you just do that?  With a living playwright, you can.  

And guess what?  Playwrights like to be included in the process—it sure beats hearing about a production after the fact and finding out the director and/or actors missed the boat completely.  And that happens.  A lot.  Playwrights also like to see how actors and directors solve some of the same challenges they’ve been struggling with—and playwrights might even be able to learn and grow from your production.  Everybody wins!

So take five minutes to email your playwright.  

It’s the right thing to do.

Like voting!

(By the way, did you vote today?)

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