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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.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Question: As a writer, a director, an actor...do you consider yourself, first, a storyteller? How important is narrative to you?


Joshua James said...

I guess I consider myself a storyteller, and I believe narrative pretty dang important.

The question usually is, what is the narrative, what is its essence?

That's my pet obsession, anyway.

Mac said...

Narrative is my starting-point. If I don't have a story I think people will get caught up in, I dump the play idea. I'm not saying other playwrights should work this way, but for me, if I'm not intrigued and worried and tense, it means I'm not interested enough to finish writing the play.

Devilvet said...

I enjoy narrative. I believe narrative is inevitable.

Is it essential? I don't know. It is inevitable though.

But, it doesn't have to start with narrative. If there is something that resonates for the spectator and they meditate on that resonance narrative sudden arrives.

TD said...


Scott said...

This really raises the question of what narrative is. If one uses the definition of narrative as "stuff that happens" then it's always about narrative, no matter if you're a dadaist or a realist. If, however, one wants to define narrative as, say, "cause-and-effect, linear events leading to a conclusion," then maybe not everybody will be able to say that they're on board.

I'd have to say that my definition tends more towards the first than the second, but that's pretty common, these days. Story might be said to be the interaction between perceived events and the meaning we attribute to those perceptions. Which is not to say that I don't prefer to structure those events that I have a hand in creating in a linear fashion.

Simply put, I would say that when the performance meets the audience, narrative is created, even if that is not the intention of the author. Even if it is only in the sense of a performance beginning and ending there is a structure in place.

That's the short answer. Sorta convoluted, too. Ah, well. I'll leave it as is, see if it stimulates discussion.

Adam said...

It's only important if it's not working. it's not about the story to me--it's about the characters and aobut what it's about. the story is the line to hang it on. but without it, we all suffer.

Anonymous said...

The narrative sells it, but I fell in love with editing. My partner and I have just sent off our latest work. It's a 130 thousand word novel, which took four years to produce. The first draft contained the entire nuts and bolts of the narrative and really only took eight months.

Dan F

MattJ said...

From a directing perspective, the definitions of narrative and storytelling explode.

I see my job as a director to be 100% storytelling. Everything I do feeds into that purpose. Whether the play actually has a concrete narrative is a different idea.

Although interestingly, my job as a director requires me to find a narrative in everything. I can't do my job of storytelling without it. Narrative can take the form of plot (which is much closer to Scott's def. of narrative, "stuff that happens") or a core thematic through line pulsating through the text/performance. Even in the most obscure stuff.

Anyway. Yeah. Definitely a storyteller, and narrative, however you want to describe it, is essential.