So I read a lot of plays. A LOT. And I have a ton of work to do today; I have to read about 20 more plays in the next, oh, 30 or so hours, plus teach a class, shower, and engage my husband in some light badinage to let him know that, Yes, although I am SCREAMINGLY busy, I still remember he exists and appreciate that existence.
I don’t have the time to do a full post about the submission process. IOU a real post about it. Pinkie swear. But today, after reading +/-10 plays so far, I have a short series of pet peeves to unload, and a short series of high fives to give out.
1. SMOKING. For starters, it’s illegal to smoke indoors in California, and faked smoking always looks asstacular. Additionally, it’s almost always a boring, lazy choice. Yeah, I’ve seen it used well in new plays on occasion, but for the most part, it’s just a lazy way of tagging a character with a certain characteristic– nervousness being the most popular. Come on, you wrote a whole play! Surely you can come up with a better way to express a characteristic, right?
2. NO CHARACTER LIST. If you managed to include a page with quotes from Lao Tzu, Pliny the Elder, and Chaka Khan, surely you can include a page with a character list. We need it.
3. ONSTAGE SEX WITHOUT COVERS. I produce in a two-sided thrust that seats 59. I read fully 5 plays today that included this. How in the chocolate-covered fuck am I going to stage that believably? My front row is close enough to make the scene a sneeze away from an eleven-way. Also, the narrative stops when the sex begins. The amount of time it takes for the action of start-to-finish onstage sex is far too long for the information “they had sex.” It’s not porn; we can’t show anything good. So it’s just actors awkwardly groping each other while the audience sits there awkwardly waiting for the action to recommence. If you must, AT LEAST GIVE ME A BLANKET TO WORK WITH. Help a sister out.
1. STRONG, INTERESTING FEMALE CHARACTERS WHO DO NOT DIE AND WHO HAVE A NARRATIVE ARC THAT IS NOT ALL ABOUT A HUSBAND AND/OR A BABY. Thank you. You know who you are.
2. PLAYS SENT TO ME AS PDFs. I really do appreciate that little courtesy.
3. PLAYS THAT KNOW THEY ARE PLAYS AND NOT FILMS. When I see work by playwrights who understand what is unique about theatre and explore that in some way, I am DELIGHTED.
OK, back to work for me.