Here’s an excerpt from a discussion today on The Playwrights’ Forum at Stageplays.com. Boy, I’m cranky!
Subject: love fest
This site has kind of turned into a love fest and is a little boring.
Let’s talk playwrighting! For example, has anyone started on any plays about Sept. 11, 2001 or anything that they see related to that day?
Author: Mike Mariano
Subject: What’s the point?
Why don’t we just wait until James Cameron or Jerry Bruckheimer turn it into a love story and it becomes our patriotic duty to waste our money on flag-waving garbage?
I can’t stand plays that use real life as a selling point. Bang Bang You’re Dead, based on a school shooting, offers zero insight on youth violence, and does little more besides push parent scare-buttons and ritualize the slaughter. Defying Gravity, about the Challenger explosion, is a little more understated, but it’s selling point isn’t fascinating ideas or deeply layered characters; it’s waiting for these characters to ride the Cracked O-Ring Express. That spaceship blowed up real good.
Actually, these plays have been enormously successful. Defying Gravity is a new community theatre staple, and Bang Bang You’re Dead is now almost required performance at EVERY high school in America. CHA-CHING!
So go ahead, write about that five-sided Fistagon becoming four-sided. Pour our nation’s collective loss into your word processor. Then sell it to the people; “This will explain it all, and will help you heal.” They’ll come. But really, you’re just selling the same emotional vomit back to them. Some will recognize it as such. Others will cling to your regurgitation because they feel they need *something*, and, well, the play is something….
But when your empty ritual brings you fame and fortune, don’t feel inclined to save me a seat.