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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, February 20, 2007

On a Tuesday

I find myself with a rather large number of writing projects, even as I settle back down into my cubicle to commit myself to creating Charitable Gift Annuities and talking about the Almighty Lord. Much to do, much to do. Happy to be back in New Y ork City, home of wanderlust and a semi-functional mass transit system.

To get back into the swing of things a bit, I'd like to throw another question out into the Web-E-Net. Here it is, without further ado:

What's your favorite contemporary American play?

18 comments:

Rex Austin Barrow said...

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Not contemporary enough? How about Fat Pig. I know that's a huge leap and I am not comparing the two, but the difficulty of casting the female lead in Fat Pig is reason enough to make it a challenge.

Freeman said...

Would you say you actually prefer Fat Pig to other plays? Or that you just find it challenging?

MattJ said...

I had to think hard about this because 90% of my favorite plays are not from American playwrights. But I would say maybe either Naomi Wallace's THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK, or ANGELS IN AMERICA.

Tim said...

is contemporary last 25-30 years? Within that time, I'd say either McNally's L!V!C! or Guare's SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION

parabasis said...

Tony Kushner's Hydriotaphia, although it changes every day. So today, Tony Kishner's Hydriotaphia.

Also, I hear Matt Freeman's The Shadow is gonna be da bomb.

Jigsaw said...

Is it betraying my obvious love of sketch comedy and things that are very short to say Ives' SURE THING? Is it equally telling that the first play that leaps to mind is from way back in 1988 and therefore not even remotely "contemporary"? Is it even sadder that, forcing myself to come up with something written in the last five years, the first thing that comes to mind is TMLMTBGB?

I don't feel terribly qualified for this question. I a) don't see nearly as much theater as I should, b) rarely see contemporary theater that isn't written by friends or relatives. I did see THOM PAINE recently, and quite enjoyed the script despite having issues with the production; regardless, I don't think I'd call it a favorite. For something to be a favorite of mine, I need to want to see it over and over again. And there just aren't that many modern plays I can say that about. At least, nothing longer than twenty minutes.

I could expound, but only if asked.

Kevin Ashworth said...

Currently, my favorite is How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel. I just wrapped up a production of it, and am missing it. Or maybe not, as it's difficult, too. But I found it well-crafted, and great.

(Also love Sure Thing. And Wit. And Arcadia. How far back can we go?)

Kevin said...

Did I really write that Arcadia was one of my favorite American plays?

P'tit Boo said...

Anything by Sheila Callaghan.
:)

Okay, but if we put her aside, I'd have to say "Angels in America" and "Waiting for Godot".

Freeman said...

"A Number."

For the record, Boo...Godot ain't American. :)

I think I'm going to arbitrarily limit contemporary to 1980 and forward. That's harder.

Joshua James said...

Just one?

That's too hard. I love THE BALTIMORE WALTZ and HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE . . . loved ONE FLEA SPARE . . . loved FENCES and THE SWAN . . . GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS . . . loved WIT . . .

Love them all . . . and I have to say, while I don't love him, it's hard not to admire the word of Mac Wellman . . . any fella who writes a play entitled 7 BLOWJOBS gets a hat tip from me.

Freeman said...

D'oh! My own choice is, in fact, NOT American. See? Foolish me.

George Hunka said...

Yeah, these are like potato chips, hard not to have just one.

Since 1980? Like everybody else my choice revolves from day to day, but I guess among the top five would need to be Wally Shawn's The Designated Mourner, Sam Shepard's Buried Child, one of a number of Richard Foreman's plays, Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio (which is being revived quite soon on Broadway), and Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon. But ask again tomorrow. There'll be another five.

Freeman said...

Soft spot for "The Goat." Which I know wasn't everyone's cup of tea. I thought it rocked the hizzle.

I also think that Sister Mary Ignatious Explains it All For You is a pretty fantastic piece, and underrated.

Joshua James said...

It's nitpicky and I apologize, but BURIED CHILD came out in 79, if I remember right (that's when it got the Pulizter, right?) . . . but it's so good, it should be included in any discussion of Contempary American Theatre . . .

Interesting, though, that Shepard had to go to London for a few years to really find himself, don't you think?

I have a soft spot for THE DINING ROOM, too . . . and damn it, it's overdone, but there's a lot of fun in GREATER TUNA . . .

And ON THE VERGE is a fine piece of work, too.

I'm a big fan of THE KENTUCKY CYCLES - that's a fine set of plays, and the only one to win the Pulizter before coming to New York

IN THE HEART OF AMERICA by Naomi Wallace, but I'm pre-disposed to admire her work, but that's a fantastic piece of theatre . . . damn this can just go and go . . .

YS said...

I actually Saw Kevin as Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive this past weekend. A fantastic performance.

If we are going to include early Shephard I am partial to Curse of the Starving Class It has more of an edge and a strange otherness swirling about the proceedings than Buried Child, though Child is a superior work.

August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Getting Real Contemporary Tom Pain, based on nothing

George Hunka said...

Agreed about Curse of the Starving Class, and I'll cop to the Buried Child date mistake on my part. On the other hand, Shepard just rewrote Buried Child last year. So many that makes it more contemporary. Again.

David said...

Hurly Burly: David Rabe

Buck: Ronald Ribman

The Lights: Howard Korder