Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OF: 3

Theatres point of view:
ADs are worried about losing audiences to other media, the critical climate. Ads also agree with playwrights in new play process is not working. 2/3 of theatres believe it's harder to develop new plays in past decade (this was before financial downturn of 2008). Biggest problems: Expenses, not enough funding, audiences aren't interested, ADs don't agree (even wih one another) whether the boom in new plays means a increase in quality of writing. Obstacles: Cast size, cost, tech demands, hard to find work that makes an important contribution, audience reception.

Plays of quality & merit: ADs are split. Some feel there's a surfeit of new plays. Those who lead new play theatres feel we're in a period of dearth--the plays lack exciting choices, they aren't finished, they seem too much like TV. Writers of talent are writing plays to a set of rarified concerns. Those tackling big issues aren't the most talented. Form over content is a stumbling block for new plays. Playwrights are not writing for theatre's audiences.

System of new play production: Inadvertently drives a wedge between producer and playwright. Lack of access to AD is seen by playwrights as greatest obstacle to getting their plays produced. (ADs don't read the plays, but make the decisions.) A play needs support to rise to top. Agent submissions account for 0-1% of actually getting plays produced. The relationship with the AD is better for getting plays produced.

Wedge in relationship: Growth of institutions drive wedge. Lit departments were created to help playwrights gain access, but instead disconnects playwright from AD. AD should direct play for it to get good productions. Artistic curators don't control the purse strings.



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