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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, March 07, 2006

While the cat's away

The mice will play, as they say.

I'm still relatively busy, but I'd like to play a little game. Put these playwrights in order of your preference:

1. Edward "The Killer" Albee
2. Samuel "Frenchie" Beckett
3. The endless Eugene O'Neill
4. David...Mamet...fucking...Mamet...you know what I'm saying...David Mamet
5. The late Arthur Miller
6. Harold "Furious" Pinter
7. GB Shaw
8. Brecht. Just Brecht.
9. Topher Durang
10. For all you ladies out there...(winks)...Suzan Lori-Parks

Of course, explain why. That's part I like to read.


Joshua said...

Here are my choices.

1 - Samuel "Frenchie" Beckett
Any list of playwrights of any shape or size should start with Becket - he is the best dramatist of any generation (I consider Will to be the greatest playwright) and the one writer that constantly inspires, at least to me.

2. Harold "Furious" Pinter
influenced an endless amount of modern day playwrights and love his fuggin' politics.

3. Edward "The Killer" Albee
Is it three puliziters? Is there anything this guy cannot do? Damn, he can drive, defend and hit the three, too.

4. The late Arthur Miller
social and expansive and banged MM, how can you not admire this guy? As far as modern playwrights are concerned, he's a rock star.

5. GB Shaw
One of the best social critics in playwrighting (next to Bretcht) and very prolific, a great sixth man on any team and he started out as a critic, too.

6. Brecht. Just Brecht.
Great social critic, though not as accessible as Shaw, still the man who's name defines his own style of theatre.

7. David...Mamet...fucking...Mamet...you know what I'm saying...David Mamet
I don't like all of his stuff, but the plays of his I like, me loves a lot - brings rage a name all its own and he writes good screenplays, too. His name also defines his style, and he's an explosive scorer off the bench.

8. Topher Durang
If only for Sister Mary Ignatious and The Actor's Nightmare, he belongs here on this list. Clutch comic writer.

9. The endless Eugene O'Neill
I am not a fan of his, but I cannot deny the scope and power of his work - he is a definitive influence upon American theatre.

10. For all you ladies out there...(winks)...Suzan Lori-Parks
She sucks, she doesn't belong on this list or anywhere close to this. Come on, Matt, over Carol Churchill or Paula Vogel? Not to mention Sam Shepard and August Wilson and countless others. She can't even carry their water, much less play on the same court as them. Carol Churchhill should go here.

Scott Walters said...

1. O'Neill (for his humanity)
2. Brecht (for his passionate humor)
3. Beckett (for his still, beating heart)
4. Shaw (for his brilliance)
5. Miller (for his moral solidity)
6. Pinter (for his mystery)
7. Durang (for his laughter through pain)
8. Lori-Parks (for her experiments with form)
9. Albee (because he is on your list, so he's gotta be somewhere)
10. Mamet (for his cynical amorality)

P.S. Thanks for giving me a break from the NYTW tempest.

Adam said...

1 Edward Albee
2 Sam Beckett
3 Paula Vogel
4 Chris Durang
5 Caryl Churchill
6 Nicky Silver

Tomorrow my list will be completely different maybe. This is how I feel now though.

Adam said...

and of our generation:

1. Sheila Callaghan
2. Will Eno
3. Noah Haidle
4. Kia Cothron

Again, there are many more and I'm sure I forgot someone who I love.

kirabug said...

Love 'em:
A. The late Arthur Miller. Dude taught me how to relate to my father.
B. Edward "The Killer" Albee. Because sometimes you have to go a long way out of your way to come back a short distance correctly.

Hate 'em:
A. The endless Eugene O'Neill. Oh, God, kill me. Can't stand him. Endless is right.

Didn't grok 'em at all:
A. Samuel "Frenchie" Beckett. We're waiting for who? Whatnow?
B. David Mamet. I always feel like he's writing for a male audience twice my age. Starting to catch on to him but it's slow going.

A. Harold "Furious" Pinter
B. GB Shaw - if he's the same as Bernard Shaw, loved his play about becoming immortal. If they're different folks, never read him.
C. Brecht. Just Brecht.
D. Topher Durang
E. Suzan Lori-Parks

Ones I like you didn't mention:
A. August Wilson.

MattJ said...

Sweet. I miss talking about dramatic literature on the blogosphere a bit.

8)Suzan Lori-Parks

Difficult. No Tennessee? Shaw was doing it all and doing it well way back at the beginning of the 20th century. He was endlessly brave, uber political, and had an overwhelming desire to move theatre forward. A legend. Pinter is my favorite of the absurdists (a category which he sort of fits into). He wrote the most plays and experimented with the most forms, as well as leaving so much room for directorial and actor interpretation. Also uber-political, and I was real into his Nobel speech.

Albee's a genius. What other American playwright of the last half of the 20th century was as influential, experimental, and powerful? Brecht's theory is better than his plays, that's why he's so low.

And Miller is the better of the American realist playwrights. I'm a bit (a bit) sick of The Crucible after so long, but it's flippin' brilliant.

Mamet sucks. And Mamet is awesome. I'm much more interested in Suzan Lori-Parks, though. "Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom," "Venus," "Topdog/Underdog." Good plays. I don't know much Topher Durang. Sister Mary is alright.

Alison Croggon said...

The first six in order of what their significance is to me:

1. Beckett
2. Brecht
3. Pinter
4. O'Neill
5. Miller
6. Mamet
7. Albee
8. Durang

The ladies would like Caryl Churchill or Sarah Kane, thanks, either of whom would probably go around 4 or 5. ...I don't know Suzan Lori-Parkes, though I'm sure she's a very nice woman.

Shaw comes bottom of most of my lists. I can't bear him.

Jason Grote said...

Why just one woman?

I wouldn't choose that particular list, but of them:

1) Brecht
2) Beckett
3) Miller
4) Pinter
5) Albee
6) Parks
7) O'Neill
8) Shaw, though I feel asleep by the time I finished typing the name "Shaw."
9) Durang. Why is he on this list?
10) Mamet. A couple of good plays, but really, he's a glorified potboiler writer.

My own list:

1) William Shakespeare
2) Bert Brecht
3) Anton Chekhov
4) Caryl Churchill
5) Maria Irene Fornes
6) Tennesee Willams
7) August Wilson
8) Euprides
9) Sam Shepard
9a) Mac Wellman
10) Anne Washburn
10a) Sarah Ruhl
10b) Tony Kushner