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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, August 11, 2006

The Shadow - a public process - Part 2

Isaac posted these questions for me to respond to.

"What appeals to you about this process?"

First of all, I've never done anything remotely like it and I think, because of the nature of the technology we're using, it's not something that could be done in this way before, well, now. So there's an appeal to "new ground" I think.

Second, and in the sense of full disclosure, I think there is something that appeals about getting people interested and knowledgeable about a project from its inception. As I've said in the past, audience building is what I feel is a key component to most of our concerns about the health of theatre. I'd love to see increased interest in a project simply because the project has been opened up to the scrutiny of its intended audience.

Which begs the addedum, what doesn't appeal... which is that my writing process is something I think is very private and idiosyncratic and hard to describe and quantify. So opening it up in this case may be dangerous to my health as a writer or, worse, toxic to the integrity of the piece. Who can say? There are dangers in any project. Also, simply put, I rarely collaborate. There's one director I've worked with I feel very comfortable collaborating with. So there's risk all around.

"What do you hope to accomplish with it?"

I hope to write a very good play. My interest in it is more of the question of idealism and knowledge and how, at times, they seem incompatible.


That being said, I'm going to post one of Isaac comments about a piece of the initial draft and then the piece in question.

Hopefully, Isaac, you won't mind me posting these comments from an e-mail you sent to me:

"I think the thing that struck me the most was the conversation b/w Skirbent and the Publisher. One thing i like about all of your work is its rhythm. I can't really explain it, it just has a rhythm that clicks with me. And this is most clear in that dialogue. Does that make sense?

I also think you do a good job of creating that environment of loneliness and entropy in the first scene. And then contrasting it with the second, makes Skirbent's position in that scene feel like bullshit (that he's happy, I mean, which, it seems to me the lady doth protest too much).

Do you mean to end scene two with the publisher asking if he can ask a question, but not telling us what the question is?"

My reponse to this, in part, was...

"Skribent Publisher scene really opened up the play for me, so I'm glad it works for you. It's all my dialogue obviously, so it let me shape things a bit. That's not the ending of the scene (didn't come up with a good one yet) but hopefully I will.

I think that there is a lot going on in this story...sort of Jungian fever dream. A man with his shadow, a man losing his shadow, a shadow becoming a man, a man losing ideals, the real world versus the idealistic world, art as beauty versus art as savage... it's all in there. So it's fun to just throw it all out there and see what works.

I'm curious how my style and Andersen's come together in the end to create the "sound" of the play. Not sure if it's TOO jarring, but I like sort of just letting my stuff sit next to his without any veil."

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