About Me

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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.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Weird Al Post

Ok, so I know that's two this week already, but the theatrosphere is feeling sort of heavy right now. Guess what? It's the end of the summer. It's fun time, kids.

I really think Al should write a Broadway musical. It worked for Monty Python.

So... guess what? It's Weasel Stomping Day!

Arthur and Daniel Miller

There has recently been a stir kicked up by an investigative report in Vanity Fair about Arthur Miller's fourth son, Daniel. This son, from his third marriage, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. According to Vanity Fair, Miller and Daniel's mother, Inge Morath, made the decision to have Daniel committed not long after his birth in 1962 (or 1966 depending on who is telling the tale.)

Miller is said, essentially, to have cut this son out of his life and of the public record, until his final act, which was to make Daniel a full and direct heir in his will.

The story received further note in the New York Times here.

I find myself with some rather mixed feelings about all of this.

I have an older brother, Michael, who is developmentally disabled and who is a ward of the state of Maryland. He was adopted before I was born. He isn't the sort of person with Down Syndrome you might see in an advertisement for the Special Olympics. Michael can be violent; he can be shockingly embarrassing and inappropriate; he occasionally doesn't seem to know who I am when I do visit him. Those visits, suffice to say, aren't frequent. But he is my brother, and I do love him.

The fact of the matter is, Michael is a part of my life and my family. The way my family and I go about navigating the complex issues therein simply aren't for people outside of my family to judge. I feel the same should be said for Arthur Miller, especially posthumously. It serves no one to bring this obviously incredibly painful issue into the public eye. Suppositions about the meaning of his behavior, interpretations and outside commentary; what purpose do they serve? Shouldn't there be some sense of decency at play? Isn't there any understanding between the difference between the public and the private?

There is a paragraph in the Vanity Fair article I find particularly distasteful.

"It would be easy to judge Arthur Miller harshly, and some do. For them, he was a hypocrite, a weak and narcissistic man who used the press and the power of his celebrity to perpetuate a cruel lie. But Miller's behavior also raises more complicated questions about the relationship between his life and his art. A writer, used to being in control of narratives, Miller excised a central character who didn't fit the plot of his life as he wanted it to be. Whether he was motivated by shame, selfishness, or fear—or, more likely, all three—Miller's failure to tackle the truth created a hole in the heart of his story. What that cost him as a writer is hard to say now, but he never wrote anything approaching greatness after Daniel's birth. One wonders if, in his relationship with Daniel, Miller was sitting on his greatest unwritten play."

This sort of grandiose speculation smacks of the worst kind of journalistic overreaching. To begin with, the judgment of those outside his family should hold no weight whatsoever. His public work consists of his writing. That, in the end, is all that the public has the right to judge. The idea that anyone outside of his life would be appalled by his behavior is, in itself, appalling. The idea that it has been offered forth by Vanity Fair for judgment, despite the clear wishes and intimations of Miller himself during his life, is abhorrent. If his own family or friends took issue with his behavior, what business is it of mine? Or, for that matter, the readers of Vanity Fair?

What's worse, here, is that Ms. Andrews attempts to somehow validate the existence of this muckraking non-story by stretching to connect it to Miller's playwrighting. That doesn't hold a bit of water with me. The story is about Miller's personal choices and his personal life, nothing more. The whole argument is specious: one could just as easily point to the fact that the Soviet Union banned his plays in 1969 as a cause for his change of artistic fortunes.

Arthur Miller was a celebrity. He was a playwright and a public figure. One of the sicknesses of mass media, unfortunately, is a belief that by become achieving celebrity, one surrenders all privacy. Perhaps we're resentful of the famous, and seek ways to humanize them. Perhaps our curiousity gets the best of us. Perhaps we feel we're owed the whole truth for our attention. Perhaps we love a little blood in the water.

Regardless, my hope is that the theater community, and the country at large, will have the good grace and good sense to leave Miller's legacy, and family, alone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Walking Out

George Hunka, before his hiatus, takes a moment to win friends and influence people by beating the shit out of pretty much everyone associated with "100 Saints You Should Know" at Playwright's Horizons.

I dunno. Maybe the play blows. I haven't seen it. I'm pretty sure no one was specifically attempting to abuse the audience. I don't see much evidence of Artaud at Playwright's Horizons.

Certainly, I've seen much ballyhooed stuff that I found not-so-good. I've even felt the way George seems to be feeling: baffled and furious that something given this many resources seems so criminally inept.

But I never really walk out. I mean...I never walk out. Of anything.

George notes:

"Poor 100 Saints, perhaps -- workshopped within an inch of its well-intentioned but pale, weak life. I left at intermission, I'm afraid, not compelled to return by the tree-injury ex machina that closes the first act, but since Ms. Fodor, the director, the cast and Playwrights Horizons are producing a play that knows more about itself than the playwright or any of the creative team, I hope nobody will take the above words personally."

Now, George didn't go to this show as a reviewer in any official capacity (unless he was given free tickets by Playwrights Horizons) so it's his right to walk out. I'm sure many people walk out regularly. In fact, I know so. I've seen them. But I find myself pretty much glued to my chair whenever I see a show, whether or not I'm there to review it.

The reason: I just think that even a pretty bad show has to have been sprinkled with a little love, and it's the least I can do to give them my attention for the duration of the experience. Who knows what it all adds up to? And, in the end, my job isn't hard, even if I don't enjoy the play. I'm watching the play, being generous with my attention. Even the very worst productions aren't there to personally offend me.

I guess I sympathize with anyone putting plays on the stage. It's hard for me to imagine turning my back on them and heading to the bar early.

If I'm reviewing the production, of course, it's more than just sympathy that keeps me watching: it's responsiblity. If a given production is going to wind up with a bad review from me, then it's pretty much only fair that I watch the entire play. Simply put: I think it invalidates my opinion to not experience a play from beginning to end. To give a production the middle finger in print after only watching about half is pretty much something I wouldn't be comfortable doing.

I'm curious what readers think about "walking out." What's your limit? Have you walked out? When you do - why do you? If, like me, you don't - why not?

Weird Al

While on my vacation in MN, I went with my family to see "Weird Al" at the Minnesota State Fair. Man it was awesome. I can't tell you how awesome. I haven't really listened to him in years. Nostalgia, I tell you. It's a thrilla.

So, in honor of this, I bring you the video of "Weird Al's" parody of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet." A parody of Trapped in the Closet is redundant, you say? Pish-posh!

Superfluities Moves Again

For those who keep track, George Hunka will be moving his blog to a new website and resuming his posting on October 1st.

Link to George's announcement of such, and acknowledgment of his fourth year on the theatrical blogosphere.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Breaking the Code

Great to see a story in print (link to the online version here) about the Showcase Code. Kudos to the Village Voice for running a piece that speaks to some of the nuts and bolts of the Off-Off Broadway scene.

Well done Garrett Eisler!

Oh, and I'm quoted. Yes, yes I am.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Some words about acting from EXTRAS and Sir Ian McKellen

I'll be away for a few days seeing family in Minnesota.

I leave you with this wonderful little clip.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hail Satan

Got a chance to see a late night performance of Hail Satan by Mac Rogers as a part of the Fringe Festival last night. I personally loved it, and I wasn't the only one. Around me I heard chatter that it was the best of the Fringe Festival shows many of the other members of the audience had seen. It's wonderfully acted, well-directed and the play itself is a hoot. I loved it.

The play struck me as a bit of an anxiety dream about gainful employment. Many of us that ply our trade in the world of playwrighting have money jobs that take up a great deal of time and, of course, offer up countless ways to just, frankly, give up. Every day I sit down in a cubicle, lined with pictures my girlfriend and cartoons from the New Yorker, and talk to people about charitable deductions and IRS discount rates and IRA Rollvers and Annual Fund Letters and best practices for endowment management. It's shockingly easy and terribly distracting and it's the only way to afford my apartment and have healthcare at this stage in my life.

Hail Satan's premise is that a young writer (it's implied that he's given up on creative writing as an aspiration and now writes corporate communications) winds up at a small office and finds himself embraced wholly by the team. The catch: his co-workers are literally Satan-worshippers, who make a wonderfully persuasive case for their religion. It's essentially your standard anti-Christian message with a rather sickening twist.

Personally, I actually work for a religious organization. So on that level, the play had some resonance with me. But Rogers does far more than flesh out a funny premise. He treats his premise as a metaphor for the influence that the intensity of others, and our own passivity, can have cumulatively have on our...well...souls. It's darker than you might think, and very, very funny, and it never quite does what you expect.

There's one performance left: Friday August 24th at 7pm.

It's definitely worth a look.

Might I also suggest Adam Szymokowicz's Susan Gets Some Play? I haven't had a chance to see it, because my schedule is the Devil, but it's gotten great notices and it's universally been called a great time. Go see it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bush compares Iraq to Vietnam

You'd think that would mean "coming to his senses" but instead he's saying that we should have...stayed in Vietnam? Holy F*cking Shit.

Bush is like our own national snuff film director.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quixotic Coverage?

I've got no beef with Alexis Soloski, who seems to rock quite a bit from afar.

But I have to say, this seems a little dismissive. How "quixotic" is nytheatre.com's coverage if they do, in fact, review every show in the Fringe? And have for several years?

Also there is the line: "typically, they enjoy lots" which, to me, seems like a good old fashioned bit of condescension.

Now, full disclosure: Martin Denton has been a good friend to me. He's published me and reviewed my stuff, so I'm not Captain Objectivity. I even review for the site on occasion.

But it does seem that 1) all media comes with a declared or undeclared point of view and 2) nytheatre.com does a whole lot more good for the artists themselves than most media outlets in NYC. If the reviews on the site skew more positively than they do in most places, frankly, I'm fine with that. There is a belief, I think, that giving something the benefit of the doubt, or not speaking from a place of critical authority (or cruelty, frankly) makes the opinion of a reviewer less valid than a critic that finds flaws in the details.

That certainly doesn't do much for me. I think there's validity and merit in all sorts of perspectives.

Could be I'm overreacting...?

Plantanos and Collard Greens

Isaac asks about the term "high art" as a way to compensate for a lack of popularity.

This makes me wonder about one particular production.

So...this is a play that has had a long life in New York City (its been running since 2003) and has rarely been mentioned by the mainstream press (Garrett brought this up a few months back, I see, and noted the Times article).

It seems that its audience is segregated from the rest of the traditional New York theater audience.

Has anyone who reads this blog seen this play?

By any Off-Off and Off Broadway standards, it's a success.

Does it lack the mark of "high" art that would appeal to the Downtown Scene, or even larger non-profit institutions? Is it simply not using the traditional PR agents that have established relationships with the papers of record?

Or is there a little racism at play here? It can't be ignored. Is Plantanos and Collard Greens, simply put, not considered "for" the established artistic or moneyed audiences found attending most Downtown and Uptown Shows?

Given it's success, I'd say many downtown shows could learn a great deal from how its been produced, marketed and kept alive.

Furthermore, I wonder what Howard Barker or Peter Brook would think of it? Does this production show just how much that doesn't matter?

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Horse and his Hatchet

Today, perhaps, I will blog a little less. It's Friday and I'm tired.

But I saw this story on AOL, and it made me gasp with sickened amazement.

Perhaps it will bring Joy into Your Heart, too.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cheney in 1994

Thanks to Adam for the heads up. Cripes!

Fringe Festival Review

My review for "Out of my Mind" can be found at at nytheatre.com.

Qui is a funny person

Click, don't run (because it has no physical form) to this blog and read the post because it is funny.

So say I, your humble narrator.

Padilla Found Guilty

So I guess that makes it "ok" that he was abused and his rights trampled on.

One thing that scares me about the current security culture is that there is a sense that the ends justify the means in cases like this one. I'm certain that this will be viewed by some as proof that his overall treatment was justified.

The fact is, our laws are set up to treat all people as if they are innocent until proven guilty. Simple. Padilla was treated as guilty until proven guilty. He was also undeniably abused while in detention. There is no difference between abusing the guilty or the innocent: our detention system has become substantially immoral, dangerously unchecked, and the mechanics of law are used to defend this behavior.

Padilla's entire case has been a shameful episode. The verdict, at this point, is no vindication of our decaying standards.

TimeOut NY Goes All Denton On The Fringe

Time Out New York is updating this page periodically, with reviews from a wide range of staffers, to cover more of the Fringe this year than ever before.

Thanks to the man himself, David Cote, for the heads up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sarah Ruhl's Coat

Sarah Ruhl is a star, you bastards. She matters. And so does her coat.

Charles Isherwood has this article pinned to the inside of his locker.

Rumsfeld Can't Resign Properly

My sweet Lord, the pigfuckers at the White House can't even quit properly.

Rove hadn't quit yet, of course. More to add to his legend as a pathetic, Bible-thumping whoremonger.

From Playwrights Horizons

Note this great offer from Playwrights Horizons.

For the curious

As the show closed on August 12th (which was, also, the opening)...but here is my review of Idol: The Musical.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New York Times and the Fringe

It's perhaps no surprise that, while Charles Isherwood and Ben Brantley have sent dispatches from theatre hubs like Chicago and London, the Times has committed only a single article, thus far, to its coverage of the New York International Fringe Festival. Fairly, this may well be a matter of scale and of the Fringe's growing reputation as an overcrowded grab-bag.

Pointedly, the coverage of the Fringe this year has been arbitrary on most fronts (an article to acknowledge its presence) and, overwhelmingly, negative. Most coverage has been about how chaotic it is, how it needs fixing, how its quality is in question.

Most of this coverage has come out of wariness, though, and not experience. How many Fringe shows have you seen actually reviewed (outside the always amazing efforts of Nytheatre.com)? Why doesn't the Times commit a single freelancer to covering the Fringe the way they sent their top man overseas, blogging style, on the website?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Want to see Bush impeached?

Go ahead and let him Draft Americans in his bullshit, miserable slog of a War.

One of the things that has kept average Americans from giving two shits about the war in Iraq has been the Republican refusal to have it impact anyone but volunteers and Iraqis overseas. The entire debate, therefore, doesn't affect taxes, rationing, or ask anything in particular of average Americans. People have been free to support the war in Iraq without any financial consequence or any specific harm coming to them, precisely because no sacrifices have been made by the majority of Americans as we torture, bomb, abuse and bully.

So go ahead, support the Invasion. It won't matter. It doesn't mean your kids have to go, or that you will have to go yourself.

If a draft was instituted for the war in Iraq, Bush's approval ratings would go sub-20%, his ability to govern would be effectively decimated, the troops would be home in about two weeks, and even Republican congressmen and women would be calling for his impeachment.

So I say... bring on the draft. Let's have it over with.

Thompson Out

Not even close to the primaries and candidates are dropping out. Well, can't blame him. So long Thompson. Apparently, the voters prefers other sorts of liars and lunatics.

Dear Wormwood

As Karl Rove, you've done terrible, terrible things. You have not only corrupted all you touched, but done great harm to those who you never met. We are very proud of you. After your resignation, please report to the filthpits for a good rubdown.

Your affectionate uncle,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On the Media

For those listening closely to the Obama vs. MSM "Nuclear Weapons are Off The Table" debacle, On the Media has a wonderful segment. Take a listen.

Yes, I'm discovering embedding audio. What a joy.

Martin Denton on WNYC Talking Fringe

Take a listen. Good stuff.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Plays as People

Sheila Callaghan has a post up wherein she describes her plays as people with whom she has relationships.

Joshua James chimes in with his here.

I figure, what the hey. Sounds like fun. Here's me:

An Interview with the Author
Me in 1998.

What To Do To A Girl
This guy I met once at a prep school for boys in Pottstown, PA.

The Most Wonderful Love
A fan of The Simpsons who just wrote an essay about The Bald Soprano for a freshman comp class.

The Americans
You know that guy who, in the dorm, is up until 3 am every night talking about movies instead of writing his first novel? Him.

The Great Escape
My sister.

John Updike.

The directing professor who keeps asking you to define your point of view.

Reasons for Moving
The chairman of the vestry at Christ Church in Short Hills.

The Death of King Arthur
My Dad.

Same-Sex Marriage / Same-Sex Infantry

This CNN article highlights two national polls, that show a majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, but that a far greater marjority of Americans support gay men and women being in the military.

Americans who are taking a "religious" position on gay marriage seem not to have as many qualms about "Thou Shalt Not Kill." To me, this is strong evidence that the public opposition to gay marriage is entirely social, and not religious at all. What moral standard says "It's ok to go and shoot people for America, but you can't get married in America?"

Submission Guidelines

Mark talks Submission Guidelines.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

95 Sentences about Theatre

Over on Superfluities, George Hunka has completed his "95 Sentences about Theatre." They can be found, in total, here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"Something is Deeply Wrong"

Over at Theatre Ideas, where there was, as many blogopathic readers might know, recently a bit of a row, Scott Walters welcomes new readers by defining the mission of his blog. The post can be found here.

There, he begins with this provacative statement:

"Theatre Ideas is based on a single premise: something is deeply wrong with the state of the American theatre, and without radical change it will continue its slide into irrelevance."

Now, whatever differences I might have with the tone of the discussion on Scott's blog (and it can get pretty unpleasant) I think it can be useful to put forth something clear, like the statement, above, and consider it.

I'll leave the rest of his solutions to this proported problem alone, for the most part, because they are variations on a theme: the true problem with American theatre is that it isn't focused on local communities and it is too influenced by a few central hubs, particularly New York City. Theaters should consider their local communities and reach out to them, if only for the reciprocal health of both.

That's indisputable, but it's not revelatory. If anything, theatre is already inherently local, and if local artists resist being put into community-oriented bubbles and resist being treated as community activists, that's entirely their choice. Funding incentives to encourage theaters in the direction of local artists seems to be dictating mission statements. It's unnecessary; if local art is important to you, and local playwrights are important to you, I'm sure you can find them wherever you live. If you are an artist or influencer of artists that is aching to see your own reflection in the art around you, perhaps you can locally support or create the art you'd like to see.

But that's neither here nor there, because I part company with the premise of the argument.

I simply don't think that there is 'something deeply wrong' with American theatre. There is something challenging, perhaps, about working our way through the muck of a world that is full of technological progress and increasingly globalized, while we have an inherently local art form. There is the challenge of getting audience and artists immersed in a language of storytelling that bears resemblance to, but has large departures from, the more popular languages of television and film. There are the economic challenges of marketing budgets, rental prices, union rules, ticket sales, non-profit versus for-profit models; there are tons of logistical and complex issues that make communicating what we do a struggle.

There is, though, nothing wrong with the plays or the actors or the directors or the producers. The work is not irrelevant. On the contrary, there's quite a bit of it that is current, potent, and extremely relevant to today's political and cultural issues. Beyond 'issue' plays, there are plays and musicals that speak to something more fundamental, speak to human truths, and those works are NEVER irrelevant. If these new plays and musicals aren't being seen by as many people as we'd like, then we should dedicate ourselves to that problem.

In June, we talked about National Premieres (how is that going Slay?). We talk about, on this blog anyhow, new genres and marketing techniques. These things are useful approaches, in my view, to practical problems that are mostly about managing scale and communication in the modern world, about expanding audiences, not about fundamentally altering the plays to match anyone's personal taste (regionalism, minimalism, musicals, etc).

One could easily say, "The problem with theatre is that its too expensive, let's give money to anyone who writes musicals with small budgets."

Or one could say, "The problem with theatre is that it's not enough like TV. Let's give money to theaters that perform episodic plays."

The list could go on for miles. Personal taste extrapolated into theory and rules.

Scott has, during his tenure on the blogosphere, worked to refine his position, often by way of hardening his stance against what he feels (and this is clearly stated in his post) "those who are invested [...] in maintaining the status quo." (Perhaps that's where the fiery rhetoric of apocolypse comes from, or where his comparisons to Global Warming and, in his last round of posts, slavery, come to the fore.) I disagree with Scott, and I don't particularly find an affinity for the Status Quo. In fact, what I find is that there is very little in the way of Status Quo. Theatre communities are very distinctive in the urban markets I've sampled, in both style and access and audiences, and if the Status Quo is somehow represented by a few New York large theaters, let's all remember that they are simply a well-heeled and vocal minority anyhow.

Scott, to be fair, isn't the only person who speaks of American theatre as if it's sick, as if it's a patient and he's a doctor. That's a sentiment that is easy to find on any street corner, in conversations among undergraduates, among professionals, among professors, among subscribers. The death of theatre, Broadway, the impossible business model, the lousy playwrights... you name it. Those declaring the death of theatre are often offering the sort of solutions that come from any would-be revolutionary: tear it down and start over. They don't like the theatre, but would love to be theatre's savior.

In the end, I don't deny that there are issues facing theatre as it moves into the 21st Century, but these problems are not new and they're not insurmountable, if we have reasonable expectations and an eye to what's practical.

In short: let's stop talking about theatre as if it's broken. Let's look at the increasingly diverse and exciting work being done all over the country, celebrate it, and try to get more people to see it.


Last week I was invited to come and check out Madagascar, a production by New World Theatre at the American Theatre of Actors on the Upper West Side. The company, whose website is here and who also blogs here, initially produced The Bad Hamlet at the Pretentious Festival in June. I tend to avoid reviewing shows on the blog, but the production invites comments and I'd like to recommend it to (both of) my readers.

Madagascar, by Wry Lachlan, is, on the surface, a melodrama couched in a few theatrical tricks. It's the story of a couple, a writer and an architect, whose relationship is tested by, among other things, the loss of a child. Lachlan moves the story in time freely, with pieces of scenes, monologues and memories. There are moments when this script (which is, fairly, being workshopped) feels a bit overwritten. There is, maybe, a bit too much repetition. It also has moments that are both compelling and convincing; no small feat with material this well-trod.

The play is immeasurably helped by the direction and the acting. Director Meghan Dickerson keeps things modest and spare in the small ATA space, but she takes advantage of the scripts fluidity, and never allows the actors to feel boxed in or over-staged. The actors, though, do wonderful work here and I recommend this production almost entirely so that you can go and check out their work. Jason Liebman (who many of you may know from Men of Steel at the Vampire Cowboys or Bad Hamlet) gets to sink his teeth into a more realistic role and thrives in that environment. Both Alanna Thompson and Robert Zick, Jr. in supporting roles, are in turn touching and hilarious.

The biggest revelation for me was Courtney O'Brien as Michelle, the center of the play. She is bruising and complex; a powerhouse of an actor that I'm happy to have discovered in the time spent with New World Theatre.

The play runs only to August 11th. If you're looking for an alternative to the Fringe this weekend, try a trip to Madagascar.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Showcase Code Revision - Stories

In NYC, one of the hot button issues is the Showcase Code. Note this if you haven't, and read the Code here if you're curious what I'm talking about.

One of the major components of changing this Code to reflect the needs of the community is engaging with actors. Much of the discussion and movement about Showcase Code reform is from playwrights, producers and directors who find themselves economically and administratively stymied by the Code's increasing irrelevance and age.

I'd like to ask actors what their experiences are with the Code. What does it do for you, and what would you like to see changed? Do you find it frustrating? Do you find it protects you?

I'll throw out a thought: Currently an actor must have 12 weeks of covered employment in order to qualify for 6 months of Health Insurance through Equity. Would it be a help to AEA members if NY Showcase Code shows could contribute at some reasonably adjusted rate to their Health Insurance? So that, for example, one could accure two weeks of your twelve needed weeks by way of four weeks in a Showcase? In return for this, Code shows could lengthen slightly, to perhaps double the number of performances?

Forgive me...I have no idea if that's remotely feasible mathematically, and it's probably impossible to get Equity to agree to that without, of course, a groundswell from membership in NYC.

In fact, there are some far more coherent and specific thoughts about this in the White Paper.

But anyhow... I'd love to hear thoughts, stories and concerns from NY actors.


Response from Zack Calhoon on his blog.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Branagh Puts "As You Like It" in Japan

Straight to HBO this time. I mean, seriously, what's up with him?

Did I miss a story about him urinating on a famous producer's shoe?

Bastard Wants To Hit Me

I find this terribly pleasing. They Might Be Giants song from their last album. Lovely, lovely.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Have you been reading

Isaac at Parabasis blogging his reading of Peter Brook's The Open Door? Check it out. Here's a post.

Mid-August Terror

One of the saddest truths about the Bush Admistration has been its active, and frighteningly successful, push to expand the powers of the Executive, heighten secrecy and reduce the rights of individuals.

Example: the Senate votes to approve a widening of the wiretapping authority of this administration. The idea that an Administration who has proved contemptuous of Congress (refusals to testify, commuting the sentence of Libby); in violation of international law (black sites and torture; holding international citizens without fair trail) and openly fraudulent (false intelligence to involve us in an illegal war); and disastrously arrogant (putting non-military civilians in charge of the post-war Iraq efforts and the pre-war planning); could receive more authority is simply staggering.

If the House approves this measure, they're handing a gun to a chronicled murderer.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Siskel and Ebert Uncensored!

Thanks to my friend Dave for turning me on to this.

One of the greatest things I have ever seen.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Actor's Playhouse to Close

This is not wonderful news.

From the NY Times:

The Actors’ Playhouse, a 62-year-old Off Broadway theater that has been home to such productions as “Funhouse,” “Torch Song Trilogy” and “Naked Boys Singing!” and actors including Robert De Niro and Lily Tomlin, is closing. The theater’s rent, which had doubled in the last six years, was getting too expensive, said Peter Breger, who has operated the playhouse since 1995. “Basically, we just couldn’t make it,” Mr. Breger said yesterday. The Playhouse is the latest in a string of Off Broadway theaters to close in the last few years; others include the Promenade, the Perry Street Theater and the Variety Arts theater. The owner of the property, Duell Management, did not respond to a message seeking comment; Mr. Breger said his understanding was that Duell was “in negotiations with people to turn it into something other than a theater."

Charles Simic named Poet Laureate

I love Simic, and this is wonderful news.

NY International Fringe Festival

So...the Fringe is upon us, here in NYC. I've love to know which shows readers are involved with, looking forward to, or find noteworthy. The Festival begins on August 10th and ends on August 26th. There will be more that 200 shows (all of which will undoubtedly be reviewed by nytheatre.com).

I've mentioned a couple of shows (here and here) that I think readers might want to check out. What else, everyone, should we be paying attention to?

For anyone interested

No one in my family from the Minneapolis area was on or near the bridge when it collapsed. My pal Matt Trumbull, who some of you may know, has family in the area as well. Everyone is fine.