Friday, March 19, 2010

How Local is Local Theater?

Philadelphia is near New York. The local theater community claims to be a warm-up for Broadway. One excellent play that I know of “Master Class” was developed in Philadelphia.

I have had plays performed in other cities, but never in Philadelphia. I can’t even get the local theaters to look at them.

I belong to a local playwrighting organization. I donate to local theaters. I attend local performances and readings. And suddenly, today, I felt like a hypocrite.

One of the local theaters that has a policy of never looking at local playwrights called me to ask for a donation. They have a matching grant. I have donated before. I have attended performances. Surely I would donate now.

I told the man I’ve decided not to donate to local theaters that never perform plays by local authors. This particular theater does readings as well as performances, but never by local authors.

The phone rep said that one of the other people working on this fund raiser is also a playwright. Would I talk to him? Sure.

This playwright told me that the theater is nice to him about arranging his schedule around plays he’s working on, and they sometimes loan him props. But no, they won’t look at his plays. He reminded me that this theater has playwriting classes. I told him I’d taken one, and still the dramaturgs refused to look at my work.

This man insisted that I talk to the director to make sure I was refusing to donate because I disagree with theater policy, and not because I don’t like the phone reps. I repeated my position to the director. She said she’d discuss my position with one of the dramaturgs. Then she said that the theater will be performing a couple of plays by William Shakespeare next season. I told her I don’t consider him to be a local playwright.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha! I don't know if you meant that last sentence to be funny but I am LMAO here.