Monday, January 4, 2010

The Biz Monday Starter: The Way Things Are Done

I found this article on the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's blog written by a script reader, Pat King, for the theatre. I like it when a somewhat mystifying process is demystified. I was struck by how many new works are being submitted, and how few make it to their stage. King sees his role as less of a gatekeeper, controlling what should attempt to come in and what shouldn't, and as more of an interpreter, a middle man in the conversation between playwright and theatre. He states, "To a certain degree, while I’d love to 'discover' a play that lands on Steppenwolf’s stages, my job is much simpler: to champion exciting, interesting writers that should be on our radar, and to articulate what makes their work sing." I also enjoy when he expounds upon the good, the bad, and the ugly when he says that, "...the very bad and very good scripts are a lot of fun, while the in-between are tremendously difficult to write about." A simple statement that makes a lot sense. Even when reviewing films, the mediocre is harder to categorize or even lampoon/exult...while most people (including myself) can find religious reverence in the stinkers/sinkers and the top of the barrel. Overall, this article also made me feel extremely indebted to the Steppenwolf theatre for having someone to continue the search for new works and to act as a mediator between playwright and theatre. I find it reassuring to know that somewhere out there is a theatre still very much engaged in attempting to introduce fresh works into theatre. As the film industry continues to make giant leaps forward, I believe that theatre must do the same. If not, the danger of creating a stagnant pool overused cash cows as the sole audience fodder becomes less of a thespian's nightmare and more of an American theatre staple.

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