Seems this prize was given to Kushner to establish the prize and make headlines, more than to award someone who is currently primarily writing plays. The article says as much and Kushner seems to say that as well. All the sentiment is right here, and the idea of an award of this size being out there is fantastic. But aren't there playwrights struggling to make ends meet that would make good use of these funds to immediately write plays?
The amount of the award itself is newsworthy, but the last theatrical output from Kushner that I'm aware of was an adaptation of Mother Courage two years ago. Before then it was a short piece in 2003. Angels in America is 16 years old. I've got nothing against Kushner, of course, who has made significant contributions to not only playwriting, but in bringing American playwrights into the national consciousness. Still, though, this seems as relevant as giving a major award to David Mamet.
Is this meant to encourage Kushner to come back to the stage?
What about Tracy Letts? Or Suzan Lori-Parks? Or Theresa Rebeck? Or Adam Bock? Or any number of writers that could use and deserve a major award to move past the 'emerging' moniker? The list of writers who have current output on major stages is substantial. The list of writers that could be established by this kind of award is even longer.
- 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.