Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Few Comments of My Own

I'm going to start with a few little things that regularly tick me off, and that are surfacing in this discussion. A few quotes:

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with people that was to be big fish in a small pond - but it's not what I, myself, want out of this life - I want to do it for a living. As Matt pointed out, you simply cannot do that from Bumfruck Iowa. You can't. If you could, I'd still be there."

"You don't go to Alaska to harvest tropical fruit.In that analogy, it's clear when I say Alaska, I mean Zack's Wichita, and when I say Tropical Fruit, I mean artistic praise. Let's just assume that when a producer in the great plains sees "produced in New York" on a play's resume, they're more likely to take a look at it than when they say "ran for ten years in Wyoming."

"I cannot find that in my hometown of Boyertown, PA, where baseball is the order of the day."

"That being said, I also feel that we're underestimating the popularity of theater outside of New York. Anywhere you'll find a public high school, I'm sure you'll find at least one musical being produced."

What ticks me off about these comments? The insulting assumption that once you get west of the Hudson River, the audience is comprised of a bunch of unwashed, uneducated, and unenlightened hicks whose idea of theatre is a high school musical. Words like "Bumfruck Iowa" are insulting and belittling. Just because they don't live in the concrete canyons of NYC doesn't mean that they have no appreciation for or understanding of quality theatre. And so for all you New Yorkers who think a 100-zip code is proof of superior intellectual and aesthetic sensibilities, I say: get over yourself.

Phew! OK, that felt good. The above gripe goes along with my other gripe, which is the insulting way that people from the South are represented in popular culture and even the news media. But that's for another day...

What is most interesting to me about the rest of the discussion we have been having is the way it is bringing to the surface previously buried assumptions.

I'm very puzzled: several of you say you are living in NYC because you want to be a professional writer. A sample of these quotations:

"I want to write for a living. I don't want to be a weekend warrior, like the cover bands I've written about in "No More Covers" - driving a truck during the week and doing theatre on the weekend."

"I want to be compensated for my work, I deserve to be compensated for my work - my work is worthy of that. "

"I do want to have a successful career and when you want that, you go where the industry is thriving. You don't go to Alaska to harvest tropical fruit.In that analogy, it's clear when I say Alaska, I mean Zack's Wichita, and when I say Tropical Fruit, I mean artistic praise. "

Now, tell me: are you all making a living doing theatre in NYC? Didn't Josh just post an eloquent and passionate article about how much doing play's in NYC costs him? And how difficult it is getting to produce work in NYC? It doesn't sound as if you all are making a living doing theatre. It sounds as if you are weekend warriors working day jobs to pay for your theatre habit.

So there must be something else. Obviously, it isn't the actuality of making a living, it is the possibility of making a living that keeps you all there, right? But even that doesn't make sense, at least to me, because where are the venues that are paying playwrights a consistent living wage? Broadway, but I don't hear any of you singing the praises of Broadway as a playwright's haven. Off Broadway? Are those theatres paying regular sizable royalties? I'm not there right now, but when I did live there, I didn't see that happening much.

No, what I saw (and still see) happening is that serious plays are transferring from regional theatres, they're not originating in NYC. In fact, many of our prominent playwrights don't live in NYC: Paula Vogel, Romulus Linney, Sam Shepard, David Mamet, the late August Wilson -- all non-New Yorkers, aren't they? Productions are transferring from Steppenwolf, the Goodman, the Seattle Rep, LaJolla.

What this really is all about, it seems to me, is the myth of NYC. The whole New York, New York thing. I think earlier in this blog, I got taken to task by somebody for implying that they were naively hoping to become a star, and that's why they were so devoted to living in NYC. But isn't that what it is? Not necessarily the fame thing, but the making-a-lot-of-royalties thing. It really isn't about the art, it is about how much you get paid for doing the art. It isn't about receiving artistic praise for your work, but about who is giving the artistic praise. If you ran a theatre in, say, Athens, Ohio, you might actually make some money (even a small amount), and not have to spend money in order to do your work. But the money wouldn't be NYC money, and the appreciation wouldn't be NYC appreciation, and the hands clapping wouldn't be NYC hands.

I teach in a prison twice a week, and one of the phrases I hear when a couple guys are arguing about something is: I'm just keeping it real. So let's keep it real. This isn't about being paid a livable wage for your work -- you aren't being paid a livable wage. This isn't about getting an opportunity to see your work mounted -- you aren't able to get much of it mounted because of the high production costs. This isn't about being in the place where you might get a production -- most productions of straight plays are coming from the regional theatre. (And I suspect that your biggest royalty checks will come from productions done, not in NYC, but in the regional theatres as well.) So what is it about?

Listen, Zachary isn't holding a gun to anybody's head and forcing them over the Brooklyn Bridge. But why is it so necessary to denigrate the desire to try a different approach? Why is it necessary to view that route as banishment, as giving up on the Golden Dream? As Zachary pointed out, at one time early in the 20th century, the Little Theatre movement was where the artistic experimentation was happening. In the 1960s, the regional theatre movement sparked an artistic renaissance in America. Ours is a big country, too big for the theatre to be centered on one small island off the east coast.

Our theatre culture isn't working. We need a new model, a new way of thinking. Robert Sternberg, in his book Defying the Crowd: Cultivating Creativity in a Culture of Conformity, says that creativity involves "buying low and selling high" -- i.e., grabbing an idea when few want it and riding it up. When you do this, you let yourself in for ridicule and dismissal, so I suppose all this is to be expected. After all, Going to New York has been the main theatrical pilgrimage for some time now, and most people see NYC as the Holy Grail of theatre. But isn't that grail getting more than a little tarnished?

10 comments:

devore said...

I moved to New York nine years ago, and happily make a living as a writer.

However, even in my romantic days as a teenage playwright, I never thought that writing plays was a way to make a living. Academia doesn't suit me, so I never wanted to teach, and moreso, I couldn't stomach an MFA program. My brain isn't hardwired for university life.

That said, NYC is a miserable place to live. Expensive. Grimy. When it rains, the city makes it's own gravy. It's crowded and loud and peace of mind is a hard thing to come by.

But you can't get the energy this metropolis produces anywhere else. It's a place steeped in humanity, a city full of people on missions. It's the energy that keeps me here. And while I in no way loathe the South, or the Midwest, or Northern Cali, and in fact miss the quiet, beautiful vastness and sincere bohemia of Austin, Texas, I know that I couldn't get the electricity of rubbing elbows with manic assholes all wanting fame, or fortune, wanting to change the world, or test their mettle that makes this shithole so special.

Whether you like it or not, New York remains the center of the village. And that, in no ways, negates the value of a more pastoral artistic life.

One reason, though, so many shows flood into New York, and I will concede this, is that the shows reflect different experiences that are not the cliche "New York Play."

But Broadway is pie-in-the-sky endgame for the hot new show at Humana. Always will be.

I would like to move to Alaska though.

Joshua said...

Point of order, Scott - my eloquent post on the cost of theatre had to do specifically with independent production - it's not the type of play where a playwright makes his dough, generally. There are others.

Also, I'm from Bumfuck, Iowa, thank you very much, population 539. I've also lived in Nebraska and many other places in Iowa. I know what the livelihood is there. I know what the theatre scene there, too. Some of the audience are illuminated and educated folk. Some is unwashed and ignorant, but I can say that, I can talk about my family all I want. Get huffy, I can take it. Family's family.

Generally, if you want me to hold up my credentials (which is what it sounded like you're doing) then I will say that I've averaged five or six productions a year, in New York and outside of it, for the past eleven years and it looks as though I may make my Off-Bway debut next year (fingers crossed, we'll say no more on that, nobody else bring it up, either) - and most of it is because I live here in new york. I'm also in touch with other playwrights who don't live here and so I have a good idea of the situation on both sides of the fence.

New York credits carry weight. The agents are here. The NYC thing may be a MYTH, but it's a MYTH that a lot of folks in the biz believe. And that makes it, in some part, real. I actually believe it's a myth too, but the writer that ignores the fact that so many believe that myth is reality does so at his or her own peril.

Hey, I've had work done regionally, I'm treated well and paid well when done regionally. I don't have a problem with regional work. I like it and I want more of it.

I don't have a problem with folks that do their work in their hometown.

I'm just telling you that the majority of the people who decide where the work is done is here. The agents are here, I don't know how much more I can say it. Now if you win a big award, like Mamet or Wilson, you can go somewhere else and do your work and then it comes here. Sure. You listed a lot of known writers. How about unknown writers? I don't know of many theatres here importing productions from unknown regional theatres with undiscovered playwrights. Rebecca Gilman is one, she got found in Chicago, and it was a bit of a fluke.

Hey, I don't really care for New York City and sooner or later I will probably move to California.

I don't care for the poor pay and treatment playwrights get in NYC which is why I will likely end up writing for film and television like a lot of playwrights do.

But I love the work, for the most part, and that's why I do it. And I'm fortunate in that, unlike some writers, I've at least been paid something and the reason for that is because I live here. The agents, teh producers and most of all, a lot of the media is here. I've seen it happen. There are also many other way to get writing work here, which include meetings for screenplay work, comic book writing, trade stuff and a whole bunch of things that I wouldn't get in Iowa. I have my agent because I live here. I've had production opportunities that pay because I live here. I don't know how else to put it plainly. I wish it weren't true, I wish I could do this somewhere else.

I don't know, Matt, you have anything to add?

A lot of people I went to grad school with have done what you have done, Scott, which is get a teaching position at a university. That's a great thing. I chose not to do that. I want to be a working writer. You have to be here, or Los Angeles or Chicago maybe. London is great.

But Scott, you're not a writer, you're a director and teacher, right? So don't you think perhaps, and I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, you should at least heed what Matt and I have said? We're here in the midst of it, swinging both fists at our craft.

Like I said. I know only because I tried it on both sides. Have you lived here?

Scott Walters said...

Josh -- I know the "I can say anything I want about my family" thing, but nevertheless you are insulting people who don't live in NYC as a way of making a point, and that simply isn't civil. It is engaging in the type of stereotypes that you wouldn't allow said about African-Americans or other minorities. Furthermore, I don't think Zachary is suggesting moving to a town of 534 -- you know, there ARE actual cities out here.

In addition, I am getting a bit tired of having my academic credentials questioned constantly. I have never, ever suggested that any of you should go teach at a university. I do it because I love to teach -- that is my life. I teach about theatre, and I spend a lot of time studying it, both the old and the new. I know many, many people in the "biz" as well, friends and former students. I am not some "ivory tower academic," and I'm getting irritated by the constant subtle slams that have occurred since first I began this blog.

Have I lived in NYC? Yes, twice. The second time, I worked at Performing Arts Journal/PAJ Publications, a publication that focused on downtown experimental theatre. I spent an evening with Richard Foreman, I chatted with Robert Wilson, I transcribed an interview with Edward Said. Believe me, I know about the NYC theatre scene. So can we be done waving our credentials? I got my doctorate in NYC, I was married to an actress in NYC. I visitg NYC. My co-author lives in NYC. I know about NYC. And despite having lived there, not once but twice, I still think there is life outside of NYC -- imagine that!

Believe it or not, I am giving respect to you and Matt. And also to Zachary, who like you is in the midst of it swinging his fists at the art form. I think you could afford to stretch your imagination to encompass what HE is saying, instead of defending your own choices by knocking his. And mine, for that matter.

I did not ask you, Josh, whether you had your plays done every year. What I asked is whether you were making a living as a writer, which is one of your reasons for preferring NYC to somewhere else. I suspect the answer is no, which is no crime, and nothing I think you should be ashamed of. Your work is being done, and from my perspective, that is more than enough. That is impressive. I also think that having your work done in Cincinnatti or Houston or Asheville also is more than enough, and is impressive -- just as impressive as having it done in NYC.

As far as the myth of NYC is concerned, I don't think that "the way it is" is a good enough reason for continuing the myth if it isn't true. Every day, we recreate reality. Zachary is proposing another possible reality, and I think it wouldn't hurt anybody to actually consider what effect such a model might have on our country AS A WHOLE, not just the little northeast corner. Instead of rushing to defend our own choices, take a few moments to use our imaginations to project how things might change.

You're all thinking about your own careers, and that is understandable. My career is teaching, which allows me to think how things might be different, instead of struggling to keep my head above water in the current theatrical ocean. And the question I ask is: how might the theatre be affected by a decentralized system? Might it lead to a healthier theatrical scene? Might it lead to more artists making a living creating art? Might it lead to more freedom to experiment?

Take a look at Megan Terry, who did what Zachary proposes: left NYC and formed the Magic Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska -- a theatre that seemed to have a very strong connection to its community. Here is her bio: Megan Terry, internationally renowned playwright, performer, photographer and author of more than sixty published plays and musicals, has been associated for more than thirty years with the Omaha Magic Theatre. Among her best known plays are Approaching Simone, Viet Rock, Calm Down, Mother, and Hot House. Her latest play, No Kissing in Hall will be premiered at the Omaha Theatre for Young People in the fall and is scheduled for a national tour. The archives of the Omaha Magic Theatre, which include her papers and numerous photographs have been placed in the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley.

If you'd like more info, see the book "Right Brain Vacation Photos": "At first glance, RIGHT BRAIN VACATION PHOTOS appears to be a beautifully appointed coffee-table book for lovers of avant-garde performance. Upon perusal, the devotee of theater history, performance studies or American culture of the latter part of the twentieth century soon discovers it to be much more. This photo chronicle of Omaha Magic Theater's twenty-plus years is as multi-layered as the company's work itself....O M T's concerns and the concerns of contemporary society are revealed through an exploration and comparative study of the photographs. For, apart from the photo captions, the 145-page book includes only 15 pages of text. These pages comprise the company's historical narrative, commenting on its philosophy and process."

Megan Terry ran an experiemntal, vital theatre in Omaha, Nebraska for over 30 years. And I'll bet she didn't have to have a day job, either. And it didn't seem to have stunted her career. I propose we consider such an example, and consider Zach's proposal a bit more widely.

George Hunka said...

I concur with Scott that, if you're going to do good theatre, you can do good theatre anywhere; Megan Terry is only one case-in-point. I recently saw a production by a theater that was located in a very small town way on the eastern border of Poland, and it was far and away one of the most powerful evenings of theater I've seen in a long time, and when I met and spoke to the director, he said nothing about missing Warsaw.

When I think about why I live in New York, though, it's precisely because I'm an "emerging playwright" at best, and I find that, at the moment, the cultural and personal connections that lead me further into my work are best found here. It's not just a matter of having collaborators; these smaller cities and communities can't match the richness of NYC's cultural life (the galleries, the museums, the marginal theater experimental theaters in which I find the most inspiration). I don't have to wait for them to tour (and when the Wooster Group or the Ontological-Hysteric does tour, they fly east, to Europe, not west, to Wichita, because that's who invites them). I'm also far more likely to find the technical resources I need, even if I have to pay for them myself, and have a broad selection of possible spaces in which to work. My Polish friend may be on the Polish/Belarussian border now, but he spent the first twenty years of his artistic life in Warsaw and Gdansk.

Certainly, Scott, there are times in which you miss New York!

Joshua said...

Scott,

I never questioned your creditials -if you recall, I said it was great that you're a teacher. I think that's a great life and several of my friends lead the same life. Remember? You questioned mine, in a sense, you asked me if I can make a living as a writer here and the answer is yes. I never, at any point, questioned your credentials - I think teaching is a great thing - I worked a year in public school -

My point was only that we do different things and we have different goals. I did not, in no way, question your creditials - I don't think about credits that much, really. You can tell how a person is by how they act. I can tell a lot about you just from your blog. I didn't question your background, only that I have a different career perspective. That's not to say there's no value in your point of view or in mine - but bear in mind, you're writing about writers and I am one.

And, I say this with great civility, I will insult Iowa as much as I please - I'm sure that some folks loved growing up there and will take issue, but I did not and thus practice my free speech with great glee. I will flay the back of Iowa until it bleeds. I understand that you may not like that. Understand that I like to do it. For the record, I insult New York City much more than I do in Iowa and I will continue to do so. I don't put New York on any higher plane - I don't know where you got that from my posts - I don't really like the city - I like the work, I like the opportunties that are here - I've been straightforward about that.

I don't insult the south (except for Texas for political reasons, long story) because I've never been to the South. So I don't know where your touchiness is coming from. I rag on NYC more than anything, I don't necessarily feel theatre is better here - I just feel the opportunities are. I've been pretty clear on that. It is.

Never heard of Megan Terry, and I lived in Omaha for a bit. Heard of the theatre, was told they primarily do children's plays.

Not saying that because I haven't heard of her she hasn't accomplished anything. Not at all. Hey, great for her. I guess I could do that but I have other goals.

Can I say that you seem rather overly combative on this issue? So you lived here in NYC for awhile and I lived in Iowa. I think there are more opportunities here than there and you believe otherwise.

Perhaps we should get the opinion of an agent? Not mine, I know what she'll say - anyone else anybody know?

playfulinnc said...

Well, I can tell ya that all of my friends who live in NYC end up in IOWA because that's where their tours go. I lived in DC, am on an Equity tour, and am currently in Phoenix.

BTW, I have been enjoying your blog from the road. A blogger friend of mine, Theatre Nomad, sent me over.

Honestly, I miss NC, and am jealous that you are blogging from Asheville. Say hi to the UNCG theatre folk up there from me!!
Cheers from the road~

Scott Walters said...

Josh -- I guess I am touchy about this, because I feel each time we have had this type of discussion places other than NYC have been marginalized and stereotyped. I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin -- a town I think I dislike as much as you dislike Iowa -- but that doesn't mean that Milwaukee or Minneapolis are bad as well, and that's what I feel like you do -- you paint every non-New York place with the same brush.

I look around and I see theatre slowly disappearing, and it bothers me because nobody seems to be thinking about anything other than tinkering around the edges. When we start talking about saving the theatre by doing better marketing, I just throw up my hands. I sincerely believe that the whole system is about to break down, and from what I see, it deserves to. I feel like we're rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

My very first post on this blog asked "where are our ideas?" Well, where are they? It seems that whenever someone has an idea that actually threatens to alter the status quo, everyone piles on to make sure the quotidian is maintained. We blog thousands of words complaining about how the current way of doing things doesn't seem to allow new theatre to flourish, but we hold on to the current way of doing things with a death grip. Isn't a definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results?

Nobody is asking any of you to leave NYC. Do I miss it, George? Hell no, never. Most of the theatre I saw in NYC was horrible, and most that I see when I visit is horrible. Completely lacking in truth, depth, and thought. Slick and soulless. And it is that way because it is built on a commercial model that tries to create art in 3 weeks with a group of people who have never worked together before in their lives and who mainly do a play as a means to attain fame. It is a pathetic way of serving a noble art form. And unless something changes, we will price theatre right out of existence, and all our playwrights will end up writing for film, and our actors will use theatre as an audition for TV, if they use it at all.

Where are our great plays? Name one that comes close to the great plays of O'Neill, Miller, Williams, Wilder, Odets -- we won't even discuss Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Brecht. The only great play I can think of over the past 20 years is "Angels in America."

And one of the reasons that we have so few great plays is that our playwrights don't have the opportunity to consistently see their work done. O'Neill benefitted by the Provincetown Players' commitment to his work. Odets benefitted from the Group Theatre's commitment to his work. Shakespeare had a company, Moliere had a company, Racine had a company, Marlowe had a company, Brecht had a company. In Europe there are companies. We don't have companies in NYC, because the economics of NYC makes it impossible.

So somebody suggests, quite eloquently, that maybe we should consider going somewhere the economics might allow us to have a company and an audience, and instead of considering the idea seriously, we say it is impossible because there aren't enough museums and good restaurants outside of NYC.

Maybe I'm just feeling edgy these days -- middle-aged end-of-the-world feelings -- but I find myself despairing about the future of theatre, and feel I need to at least make an effort to prompt some new ideas. It's 9:00 at night, and instead of relaxing with a book, I am hammering on this damned blog because I care, damn it.

Nobody has to actually do anything that I suggest, or Zachary suggest, I just would like to feel like somebody is actually weighing an idea, thinking it through, considering its possibilities.

I'm sorry if I seem overwrought -- it is the time in the semester when I feel as if I am wasting my time -- that nobody is listening. And then I write on this blog, and I feel that nobody is listening. Just arguing.

I should just go to bed.

Joshua said...

Hey Scott - I know where the feistiness is coming from, remember, I'm the guy who wrote "No More Covers" and "Hey, What's That Guy Doin' In A Dress?" - I'm pretty feisty about theatre as well.

And I agree with just about everything you wrote in the above piece - I don't care for NYC and I think there are a lot of terrible things about the theatre community, - things I try to do something about, bear in mind I gave Zach two suggestions for ideas - no dead texts for 12 months for his 79 indie companies and adopt a playwright for a season - so I'm not sitting here snarkily picking nits at him. I threw a couple of fastballs.

And I know writers that have left for other climes, Chicago especially. I am preparing for that eventuality myself. But I'm not necessarily of the mind that it will make life better.

I really think it's about the disconnect between the writer and those that produce it - I've written extensively on it, ranted about it and also produced work on my own.

I don't think the writers of theatre today are nurtured or even encouraged. I think film and tv and comics are actively seeking young writers, paying them and asking them for ideas. I don't see that in theatre. In theatre we spend most of the time doing revivals and if there's a new work being offered, it's usually coming from an established playwright. I don't know that it's necessarily better outside new york, either.

I remember my friend and mentor, Naomi Wallace, who is from Louisville, was trying to get into the Humana Festival for years. She'd been produced in New York, she had Tony Kurshner as her sponser, still they wouldn't take her. It wasn't until her work got big in London that finally Louisville took a chance and signed her up in 97, years after she'd had work done. That play was ONE FLEA SPARE, which was already produced in London, and it rocked the festival. She was the only semi-unknown featured that year and she stole the show.

They love her there now, but I remember that she was bitter that she had to go to another country and get acclaim in order to be accepted into her own hometown.

But she got in.

She lives in England now, of course.

I'm not giving up, even if I end up writing for film and television. I'm coming back to do theatre.

Scott, keep up the fight.

Freeman said...

I just wrote a very long response that seemingly was eaten by this here computer.

Bullet point version:

- Thanks for the lecture, Dad.

Greg Frumin said...

Hello all, Greg here, Brooklyn, NY born and bred, university acquaintance of Isaac, doing theater research at the University of Bologna, young theater artist and performer-of-all-sorts. I am also a friend of Zach Manheimer, but mostly because I like to hear him make these kinds of rants in bars, not because we are joined-at-the-hip best friends since birth. I know him for a year or so and we like each other's ideas.

I was planning on just jotting some notes and then making a full response later. This is what came out, a partial response. Lets try to keep the discussion serious, but, well, not too serious. lets dig deep into the quagmire and unearth, discover, synthesize, and allow our own ruffled feathers to smooth with a cleansing breath.

MYTH: if everyone believes the myth, than maybe its just a successful illusion, like much of the state of affairs in america

a myth is a story told enough times that it actually affects people because it has this "real foundation" but it is an allegorical one that encourages some given value or system of beliefs that come out of a specific point, an intersection of history, culture, politics, sociology, etc. but that doesn't mean it is true in all its implications for YOU Here Right now. you must investigate what you're own situation is, what is the current environment, and if that system works just like the myth said, great.
I think we all are saying in different ways that it doesn't work quite that way. Joshua says he'll come back to do theater. I've spent too much time saying the same thing. If it doesn't work along the lines that you thought it would, or had an idea that might work, no problem, try again. BUT CHANGE SOMETHING. zach is suggesting a new experiment, and I don't see how any of us can argue its worth until we've actually attempted the experiment. Scott has presented an analogous experiment with similar results that zach is hoping for.

if zach's experiment doesn't suit your fancy, well, as he always says to everyone he works with: Ideas?

Yes Joshua, you gave him some great ideas. Thank you, they are good ones. But when Zach asks for Ideas, I understand him as saying: What are your ideas for You? what do you propose to do differently? If the situation as it stands doesn't work the way you would like it to, how can you try swimming upstream? He is also asking: What ideas can you and I do together? and that you have responded to, perhaps. perhaps your ideas for the Community Dish Playwright Program are something you and he can do together.

But Zach's personal work ethic is: I see there's no theater community in NYC? I make one. I get the feeling that with all these artists crammed into one city can't effectively make a community? I propose a change of scene to try another model of community-making. What is your specific question/problem or thing you see lacking? what can You do personally to realize your goal? You have spoken numerous times about different goals. It can be a truly frightening thing to say, perhaps to admit "This is my goal and I won't give it up for anything". I am wondering if you see yourself as compromising when you talk about the future you see for yourself in "earning a living as a writer". If that is precisely your goal, then I see that as somewhat different from the larger discourse on "Theater in America". Perhaps I am wrong. I would be pleased if you would care to enlighten me.