About Me

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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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tony Awards...yawn

Yes, the Tony Award nominations for another year have been announced.

A little, unfocused rant to just get it out of my system.

No one cares about these Awards at all. No one worth worrying about anyway. They are meaningless and they are handed out arbitrarily and they represent, by and large, the terrifying trends that pushing the theater as far away from relevance as it can go.

Compared to the number of people who ardently see every movie that opens on a Friday, about 14 saw everything that is nominated for a Tony Award. Including me. I've seen NONE of these performances. And I love theater. The reason: I can't afford it.

One could rightly say: "If you didn't waste your money on cigarettes you might just be able to afford it." Pish-posh. I can afford cigarettes and LOTS of other things. Just not $100 on one seat to see something that resembles Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, or that is essentially a dinosaur like Twelve Angry Men.

So how does Broadway make up for the glaring lack of possible "eyeballs" as they call it in Marketing: recycling. That's the main issue. If there was anything going on in the big money areas of theater that was remotely experimental, engaging, challenging, bloody, heartfelt, and visceral, we just might have some interest. But this year is filled with garbage like movie retreads, old shows with big stars ("Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf" with... KATHLEEN TURNER...this time) modest, harmless tripe ("Spelling Bee" The Musical!) and worst of all, "On Golden Pond" which is like a terrible combination of film retread, big star and utterly harmless all rolled into one big waste of money.

You want revivals? How about some Brecht in these politically charged times? You want new Musicals? Isn't there a little something more interesting than a Spelling Bee to sing about? You want movies? GO TO THE MOVIES.

Sorry, but this burns me from heel to top hat. Like I said before: Broadway is the Titanic. Hit the iceberg already, or change course.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Star Wars Final Warning

It's no shock for my friends to know that I'm a purebred and incredibly obsessed Star Wars fanatic. Even before I knew who Joseph Campbell was, when I was just a kid, I think whatever Lucas was tapping into tapped pretty directly into me too. I'm not alone in that...far from it. It's the most successful pop culture franchise for a good reason.

The final Star Wars movie will open in just about ten days. I've been following the reviews pretty closely. (I enjoy Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic for review round-ups.) One surprising early message seems to resound: Revenge of the Sith has an eerie echo of contemporary politics. Don't want to spoil anyone...I'd just say look for it.

It seems there are lots of people that found the endless politics of the last two prequels quite dull...but it was actually rather smartly done. Because you take a senator, add political sympathy (a war on his home planet), then watch a war get created by the bad guys with the straight up intention of solidifying that leader's power: (Palpatine's executive powers come during war-time.) And in the end, you get a Republic surrendering its freedom in the name of safety. Security versus rights. It's the question that most fascists try to force on good people.

Sound familiar?

Take Back Your Time

Definitely worth considering and passing from hither to yon. A close friend of mine (quite close) has a particular interest in these ideas.

I know it's en vogue to trash the US and say Europeans "do it better;" but in this case there's no arguing with the facts. They take more vacation. I want more vacation. Don't you? We should enjoy our lives; not work hard to make sure we get to enjoy the final few years of our already short lives.

Who convinced us otherwise? Probably the very people who are getting rich because we're working our asses off. Excuse my French.

Tally ho.

George Hunka

A big hearty thanks and a wave to George Hunka, who's been kind enough to link me to his blog and give me a kind mention. Hello there George.

Back at work this morning and immediately sat down and opened job posting websites in full view of those who are not going to be employing anymore. Boy did that feel good.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

New Spaces - Matchmaker!

Even though we often toll the bell for Off-Off space in New York City, there is always a solution to this problem: Make More. If some entrepreneur (or 30) could come up with the capital to get into a nice, centrally located space and turn it into even a serviceable black box space, with decent rental prices, it sounds like that place would be in heavy demand.

I imagine some of the more prolific small companies in NYC that have no permanent home could do more together than they can by themselves. Band together, pool your capital, divide up the work, divide up the space by season and viola! You are sharing a permanent residence.

I'd be happy to serve as a hub for said interest. Let's say if you're in a theater company that could use another company's resources to pool with your own to this end. E-mail me and I'll be happy to see if there are any matches for what you need from other e-mails. Think of me as an ad hoc dating services for small theater companies.

Try me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The odd world of apartments

New York apartment search Number 506. I don't want to go to Craig's List. I have to find a roommate. I have no offers from the good people I call friends.


Let's just say that if you don't live in New York City this is what it's like looking for a new roommate:

Try picking up a small piece of fruit, putting a $12 price tag on it, and then being really picky about who gets to buy it from you.

Work, Rinse, Repeat

Well...the work is never done.

If you've ever felt the pull of the day job/arts grind, I suggest you read Paul Auster's "Hand to Mouth" for a healthy dose of perspective. Most of this large writ essay on his own money troubles, but he's got a singular voice that's hard to deny. Read Paul Auster's novels, of course; they're far superior and some of the best American writing around. But I keep "Hand to Mouth" at my desk here at my day job for comfort.

Here's why: in the beginning of the book, Auster spells out the "other careers" of famous writers like Don DeLillo, William Carlos Williams and T.S. Eliot (in Advertising, Medicine and Banking respectively.) And it makes any of us who toil in the doldrums to make a New York living a little less hard on ourselves for the toil.

What's strange is that Auster's issues are far less sympathetic. As a man and a writer, I absolutely admire him. As the son of a middle class, relatively comfortable family who actively chooses to struggle with money because of some romantic notion of the "writer's life," the narrative comes off as a bit privileged. There are people in such worse shape than Auster ever find himself in "Hand to Mouth," that sympathy gave way to eye-rolling rather quickly for me.

It can be fairly said though, that my eye-rolling comes from my own honest experience at reading an honest account. I'm sure if someone read a volume of my early years (of course I'm still in them) then I'd warrant a fair amount of eye-rolling as well.

I'm thinking fo this because I current find myself looking for a new job. My position at my day job is being changed to a more senior level (meaning they want to go out and hire someone with more experience than me for more money and replace me with them) so while they did me the favor of giving me two months notice (thanks crew) I am off to the corporate resume cycle again.

So if anyone knows a place for an admin who is pretty good, sadly, at Human Resources...I'd be happy to entertain offers.

All the best!

Monday, May 02, 2005

The audience and rental prices

Had the pleasure of reading Martin Denton's new Nytheatre i and he brought up a great point...how the Off-Off spaces are dying out.

I worked briefly at Theatre Row (the new Theatre Row) and at the risk of burning bridges I have to say it's a fine example of exactly what's wrong with the New York theatre scene. Dodger too.

Sure, these spaces have created new opening for high quality theatres...but the prices and contracts are simply out of the range for your standard Off-Off Company. It's increasingly rare to find a space that a group of friends can afford after saving up their waitressing money for a year. And why? Take the fine example of 42nd Street Development Corporation, which proudly enjoy the fruits of a relationship with the New Group (who can afford all kinds of space) and nickel and dime small companies for profit and nothing more.

One might say to me: Well, isn't that why anyone operates a business? To make money?

Answer: If they continue to kill the audiences by turning small exciting theater into a series of vanity projects by children with rich parents (I saw a few of those when I was at Theatre Row); or moving all the experimental work further from the audiences by forcing it to use odd lofts and cheap space because real theater's costs are so high, no one's going to make much money in the long run.

If the number of companies that are able to afford theatre in good quality theater's diminishes; so will the audience for any theater at all. Because they will be turned off by the "small shows" they do see, and will move further towards accepting that what's on Broadway, in its embarassing state...it was true theater is.

In the long run that creates an uneducated audience, and eventually, no real audience for anything other than movie adaptation musicals. Follow that to this logic: No actual audience of any economic merit for plays...at all.

Well...I said in the long run. But is it possible...we're already there?