Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I read this book like my life depended on it -- because it does.
Outrageous Fortune, the Life and Times of the New American Play
is a vital snapshot of the current division between the goals of working playwrights and the artistic directors producing new American plays.
The book does not seek to answer the questions it poses about this creative divide: where playwrights see diminishing production opportunities within the perpetual "development" process offered by most theaters while artistic directors claim that playwrights aren't considering the needs of the general audience and no one is writing large plays. Playwrights counter that without mainstage production opportunities they are forced to write "small" for 4 actors or less and a single set contained in a blackbox "experimental" space.
The writers lay their research bare - and it's up to the readers - the people making theater happen - to use this knowledge to make informed change.