MinterTom  Mar.31.2010 0 Comments

..while reading a blog on the BBC News site the other day [Gomp/Arts – Is Britain Best For New Playwrights?], I found myself distracted by several observations missing from the thought..


In general, there is so much visual noise pasted to subjects of sale these days, attempting to catch our eye and turn our heads, determined, to alert us, as purchasers, to buy in a particular arena of exclusive opportunity.

Marketing is platform; the product gets a shot, for the right pitch.

The language of selling is now so endemic that it has denuded originality, made truth a lowest common denominator, and branded the individual into herds, to be collared and coerced into a chute, and in the case of theater, a seat, where product is often a flavor, rather than menu.

…or is that its own hyperbole?

Playwrights must certainly participate in the selling of themselves, and their work; to be platformed, they need to be storytellers who engage –however it’s managed. They also must find a company that has a constituency, especially if the playwright has no base, or fan club at hand. Invariably, this turns into a particularly grueling kind of weeding for the playwright.

As for the production company -it has to feed its constituency; which is a dilemma of many heads. In these straitened times, the company must make a choice of which head it feeds well. Lite fare can be filling, and easily replenished, bulking a constituency into complacent gluttony with unchallenging chews, and cushy seats. Meatier dishes take mastication, strong digestive abilities and overlooking the occasional weary jaw, sagging neck and dowdy vision.

But let’s be honest: a constituency is both hard found, and hard to feed evenly. It is also lifeblood to any company who intend to remain vital.

In the light from the front office, playwrights are plentiful, the right playwrights are marketable, and, being driven by the market, they write ‘in-the-vein-of’… or at least write in a way that can be referred to as ‘in-the-vein-of’..

In this type of hothouse, playwrights are engineered, and production companies keep a golden clasp on its constituency, with a specific type of fodder.

When the sell steps back from marketing the platform with the noxious bray of the best, the only, the most fearless, the most different, the most ambitious, the most unique, the most contemporary, the most American, the most singular innovative experience – speaking of a greenhouse of many voices, many views, many visions.. feeding many different conversations.. the individual in our playwrights will truly bloom, and a culture of theatre will be enriched.