I haven't updated this space since Tuesday and there has been much, much hubub. Republicans who never served in the armed forces calling an ex-Marine a coward for showing common sense. Bob Woodward getting back in the middle of the secrecy game. The Bush administration taking one step closer to George Orwell by actually changing a transcript from a press briefing to turn an admission into a denial. It's a beautiful time to watch the culture, because it's exploding into a thousand tiny pieces.
And, therefore, we write. My latest play received a reading from the Blue Coyote Theater Group on Friday. Comments are that it was funny, twisted and too long. (Read at about 3 and a quarter hours, which is too long.) But, I was happy to get some big belly laughs and appalled looks. They are what makes this grown man smile.
My friend Scott Reynolds from Handcart Ensemble dropped by. Scott is Mormon, and the play has a rather high rate of anti-Mormon jokes, which he took in stride. When he ducked out, he whispered in my ear "You should be shot," which I am going to take as a compliment.
And so, I'm speeding up the play by better defining the action. That always seems to work.
I saw the Metropolitan's production of "The Inheritors" by Susan Glaspell this weekend. The cast is very strong, and it features my pal Matt Trumbull, who can get a laugh out of an exit line (and does) like no one else. The play itself has its ups and downs. There is something quite remarkable about seeing how little the arguments have changed over the years between the revolutionary and the careful in this country. But what's striking is that we all couch our sentiments in being more "American" than the other. "It's un-American, what's your doing!" "No, it is precisely because I'm an American that I question America."
As far as I can tell, this shows just how effective the term American ever is or ever was. It means nothing, which is precisely the point of the word. This culture is intended to be about freedom, and part of the danger and joy of freedom is making your own meaning.
So the play did leave me with some things. But it also left me with a few lines that I will remember for an entirely different reason: they are high camp. Such as "Damn the wind!" and "She choked to death in that Swede's house!"
Martin Denton has a fine review of the play up here.
Yesterday, also, I had a little pre-Thanksgiving with Matt Trumbull and my girlfriend Pam and her roommate Lauren. We had slow cooked ribs, three pies (pumpkin, apple and cherry cheese pie, for the record) and watched Jodie Foster's "Thanksgiving is messed up" movie Home for the Holidays, which I thoroughly recommend. If anyone's interested in why I am not moving to Kansas to make theater, I'd point to last night and the sense of friendship and family I have here. It's a wonderful...um...life.
Oh no. What have I said?
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.