Showing posts from February 28, 2010

Tom Loughlin on Mindsets

What he said. RTWT. Well said, Tom.
    I'm off to Kentucky. See you next week.

Guest Blogger

I am heading off to Lexington, KY on Thursday to do a presentation with Tom Loughlin (A Poor Player) about the Theatre Arts Curriculum Transformation (TACT) and CRADLE. I'll be gone until late Saturday night.

Since my wife Laura Sue did such a nice job in the comments of the previous post, I've asked her to be a guest blogger for me in my absence. Laura is a former social worker with two master's degrees and two great grown children. She is a passionate knitter and weaver.

She is very busy these days, but I hope she can find some time to do at least one post.

I doubt I'll have the time or inclination to post anything while I am away, so I'll pick up again Sunday or Monday.

Thanks Matt, Mac, Don, and Buckminster

My  last two posts, "Formal Exclusion" and "Stories for the Folks Who Work the Cash Registers of Our Lives," perhaps predictably have caused a certain amount of agreement and consternation in various places around the theatre blogging world. The consternationoutweighed the agreement.

Perhaps the most direct attack came from Matt Freeman, who said his response to posts like mine and Tom Loughlin's is "write your own plays." He goes on:
If you don't see something to enjoy in the plays being written today, that doesn't mean you are excluded. It just means that today's playwrights don't speak to you. There are lots and lots of plays that will, or have, I'm sure. Be patient, read the things you love, and stop prescribing your taste to other people.Plays aren't written to order. I read the frustration in posts like these, and I understand it. But there's only really one solution if you feel that a certain play that should exist th…

Formal Exclusion

Yesterday, my department completed a run of Naomi Wallace's play The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek. For the most part, I like Wallace's play, which is set in 1936 and is the story of the effects of the Great Depression on the people of a small town: a father who has lost his job at the steel mill, and as a result doesn't know who he is anymore; a mother whose hands have turned a toxic florescent blue because of a change in chemicals at the factory where she works, and who is getting involved in a workers' attempt to take over an abandoned glass factory; and two teenagers, Dalton and Pace, who fall in love while planning to outrace the 7:10 train across the titular trestle. It is a mystery, as the story moves back and forth in time, investigating Pace's death seemingly at the hands of young Dalton. I admire Wallace's obvious empathy for the working class characters in their struggle to hold onto hope in the face of a national economic meltdown not unlike today'…

Stories for the Folks Who Work the Cash Registers of Our Lives

Tom Loughlin over at A Poor Player has posted a emotionally true post about "Battling Ennui," expressing feelings that are all too common to people of his and my age, people who have devoted their lives to a particular something and now are looking for the next something to engage them. This, by the way, is the type of thing that youthful playwrights cannot write about empathically, having never experienced it. The young are still thrashing around with possibilities, while we are searching for meaning in what we've done and seeking the new thing that will enhance that meaning. Had Arthur Miller written Death of a Salesman at 54 instead of 34, there would have been a lot more sympathy for Willy and a lot less for Biff, I suspect. Salesman is a young man's play.  Instead, at 49 Miller wrote After the Fall, a play that looks inward at his life. It is a middle-aged play.
    At the end of his musings, Tom suddenly lifts out of his ennui, and writes something that is so c…