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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.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A few things I would like to ask...

Just a few questions from all those who care to read my ramblings. Things I'm curious about.

1. How often do you buy new plays to read?
2. Do you think of plays as written literature, or are they simply blueprints for a production?
3. Do you have a favorite critic to read (as opposed to one you despise)?
4. When is your next production? (This is where you can plug stuff with my permission.)

Onwards and upwards.

11 comments:

parabasis said...

Why this is... this is almost a meme!

1. How often do you buy new plays to read?

I rarely buy new plays to read, I'm usually reading unpublished scripts. So I would say... maybe 5-6 times a year tops. Often when I buy plays, however, I buy collected works, and thus read several at once.. if you counted them as individual plays, probably 12-20.

2. Do you think of plays as written literature, or are they simply blueprints for a production?

If it's already published, I tend to view it as literature. If I'm reading a new work, I usually think about it in terms of production. Sometimes, you're thinking you're reading one as written literature, and suddenly it starts talking to you going "this is how you shoudl direct me!!!!" and then you have to switch gears.

3. Do you have a favorite critic to read (as opposed to one you despise)?

I really liked John Halpern, but he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. I really like John Lahr, too.

4. When is your next production? (This is where you can plug stuff with my permission.)

Why Matt, moi, plug? The Rapid Response Team's first new show in a year and a half is Tuesday February 21st. Go to www.rapidresponseteam.org for more info!

Don R. Hall said...

1. How often do you buy new plays to read?

Much less than I like. We get sent a lot of new scripts though. Does that count?

2. Do you think of plays as written literature, or are they simply blueprints for a production?

Blueprints. I produce and direct, primarily, so definitely blueprints.

3. Do you have a favorite critic to read (as opposed to one you despise)?

From Chicago: Lucia Mauro, Nick Green

4. When is your next production?

Invasion of the Minnesota Normals by Jen Ellison. May 11 - June 10, 2006 - in Chicago.

devore said...

1. I bought Doubt recently and read it. Begged a critic friend of mine to give me copies of Rapp's Faster. I always hit the theater section of a bookstore.

2. I read plays as research. I want to see what playwrights are doing, what they are writing about. I don't know if I enjoy reading plays. I love writing them, and I suppose I read plays so that I can grow? I'll tell you, purely artistically, I find reading a play I hate to be as valuable as reading a play I love.

3. You know, Time Out NY has a critic by the name of Helen Shaw. She's young and sees alot of shows. Her copy is punchy and her reviews are fair. She's an ethusiast with a touch of the wit.

4. My new play "Total Faith In Cosmic Love" opens March 9th at The Brick.

Devilvet said...

1. Either buy or library them 5 or 6 times a year

2. Ultimately, published stuff is literature in my mind, how you use the literature, well that's up to you and the right's holder

3. I do not have a favorite critic

4. Hopefully this fall in Chicago and next spring in Atlanta

kirabug said...

1. Uhm.... never? But I do go back and read old ones on occasion... and there's this guy I went to high school who writes them and I read his stuff when I can ;)
2. They're both. Sometimes, you can't get to a production of a play, and reading it's the only chance you've got. In those cases, they function as decent literature. On the other hand, they're designed to be performed, so if performed well they can only enhance the play. (On the other hand I've seen crappy performances that dimished the effectiveness of the material.) As someone who's only rarely seen plays since, ohIdunno, 1994, and got her BA in English, I tend to lean toward the Lit angle.
3. Eric Burns. Oh, wait, you mean theater critic? I don't read them.
4. Tomorrow's Saturday so my next production has to be up by midnight tonight.

Adam said...

1. Too often. I have stacks of plays to read some of them purchased and some of them given to me by other writers. I will never get through them all.

2. Literature although people no longer think that so much.

3. I try not to read critics if I can help it. I skim. When I do read I don't rememeber names, except the big boys.

4. In May Nerve, and probably Food For Fish in July, both in NYC. Perhaps Pretty Theft in DC in June.

Freeman said...

Figure I should be fair and answer this myself:

1. I usually read plays as needed, not for pleasure. I usually buy novels for pleasure to read. I don't often buy plays that I'm not actually working on. Maybe two or three times a year, honestly.

2. I think plays are intended to be performed, not read.

3. I actually like Ben Brantley when he gets really mad and slaps a show around. Like his Dracula review, which was hilarious. I also wish we had more theatre reviewers like Anthony Lane reviews films.

4. My next production, as of now, will be going up in June in NYC, and is called "The Most Wonderful Love." Also, a new anthology (as yet unannounced) will feature a play of mine. That will be released around the same time.

MattJ said...

1) Almost never. I spent the last few years of my life going to used book sale extravaganzas and cleaning out their drama sections so I have a veritable library now.

2)Written literature to me. Because when I approach a play I find it debilitating to think of it as a blueprint while I am reading it; I'm unable to key into its thematic and philosophical value. And it is THAT stuff that makes me want to direct a play in the first place.

3) I'm a big Martin Denton fan.

4) Something small at KCACTF in DC this Spring, and also a full production of a Sheila Callaghan play here on the island in April.

George Hunka said...

1. Not very much, not any more. It's more likely now that I'll pick up a single-play Shakespeare or a new translation of an older play: now it's the Berg/Clay translation of Oedipus.

2. As written literature, but more, as spoken literature.

3. Of contemporary critics I enjoy reading John Heilpern in the Observer (he's back, by the way, at the NY Observer site), and I also find Michael Billington insightful more often than not. Of older critics I'm reading a lot of Jan Kott these days.

4. "In Public" will open at manhattantheatresource in October; a scene from "Light at Midnight" will be part of a staged reading of short plays in March; a new play is boiling away.

Lucas Krech said...

1. I only read plays I am working on, or that friends of mine have written. It tends to vary quite a bit.

2. Yes.

3. I have trouble with criticism even when I agree with the author's point of view.

4. End of the month. That is if you missed my last

RL Nesvet said...

1. How often do you buy new plays to read?

Once a month - they're so expensive! But I successfully beg some writers to give me their work-in-progress scripts more often. And I like the British theatre programs that include the whole script if it's a new play. I have lots of these.

2. Do you think of plays as written literature, or are they simply blueprints for a production?

Depends which play. THE HINGE OF THE WORLD is written lit, to me. PHAEDRA'S LOVE is a blueprint. L'AIGLON is either.

3. Do you have a favorite critic to read (as opposed to one you despise)?

Feingold, in the VILLAGE VOICE. And I don't ever get to see any plays in NYC.

4. When is your next production? (This is where you can plug stuff with my permission.)

The collaborative work AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION: TALES FROM AN AGE OF ANXIETY, by Art Riot Theatre Co., from 22 July at the Washington DC Capitol Fringe Festival. But check my website (linked) for updates, please.