We opened a show in Iowa this weekend- ATLAS OF MUD by Jennifer Fawcett.
Tonight I drank some whiskey and I talked to Jenn about premiering shows here.
And I said what would the new play world look like if more of the playwrights we knew in NYC left.
If they went to Boise (a dope city). Charleston (a dope city). New Orleans (any question?). Stamford. Lawrence. Omaha. Fargo. And so on. And made companies there. And did their work- work that theaters in NYC are developing but not producing and started to create and refine their work there and then exported it. What would the new play window look like then?
Paula Vogel did this. She moved to Alaska. Fucking Alaska. (note to grad playwrights- when your program head pushes you to NY or Chi or LA- remember… ALASKA). And worked for years and her work stayed pure.
See that’s the real deal, the un-filtered shit right there. You go to a major city and the business will influence you. It has to- because you, young writer, you want productions, and so you’ll follow that shit. Say you won’t, go on pretend you’ll hold on to what you’re doing… you’ll see the next thing in NY- that’s self referential and funny but not real and you’ll be like “Oh shit I didn’t know that’s what the people wanted.” And you’ll see your writing adopt that.
And what you’re doing… it just might start to slip away. I’ve seen it. Exciting writers getting watered down. Because people are gonna push you to live the prescribed theatrical life homeboy- the commercial NY, agent, workshop game…
But this is the deal- you are like my brothers and I say live where you want, do what you want, get your work tight and write towards the cannon. Write towards works that are so fucking ephemeral and universal and necessary that they have to live past that regioanl production, that NY premiere. Because it’s not career-ism we’re talking about. Chat with your agent on that shit. I’m talking your soul. ‘Cause that’s how it started.
Go where your soul and your work and your artistry is free.
Because the rest is ego.
The rest doesn’t even fucking exist( half the theaters you dream of premiering at might not exist in the next century).
But your voice could live on.
Where can you speak free homeboy?
People will say you’re insane.
But that’s just ’cause you might show them the way…