Haven't seen the production, but it's a New York blogsphere play day. Check out Isaac's post here for Washburn Grand Central.
I can't talk about the play, which I haven't seen.
As for the responses I'm reading (from out here in "not having met Anne" country) it seems that there is a disconnect between the actual theatergoing audience and those that make theatre. What directors and writers respect and admire in Washburn may be something that just doesn't translate to the regular spectator.
That may be overstating.
Ms. Washburn's plays are, obviously, obscure and challenging. I was reading Apparition at St. Mark's Books the other day, out of curiosity, and while I didn't ingest it carefully standing in the bookstore, I didn't find much to hold onto in it. That isn't necessarily a flaw, it just means that work like that is inviting strong opinions for and against. I can't imagine Washburn doesn't know she'll lose half her audience's attention with this work... and it's a credit to her that she persists with her own aesthetic without compromise. That being said, it doesn't guarantee that she'll be embraced by a large audience.
It's a deal with the devil. If you push the audience, some will push back.
Maybe, in the long term, we need to seek to cultivate a new audience for the Vineyard. But that's a post for the future.
- 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.