This is not some big shock, right?
Not sure what the methodology of the "survey" is/was. But I don't think anyone who's held a theater program in his or her hand in the last few years hasn't noticed that prominence of certain MFA programs. Heck, I made a rather successful joke (if I do say so myself) about the whole thing in a play about a year ago.
One has to ask why this is institutionally? Is it the playwrights themselves serving up big bowls of excellence that are far tastier and more zesty than the work of their peers with different credentials? Could it be? Or could it be that those same departments shepherd their wards into good opportunities?
Quality can't be surveyed. One person's academic navel gazing is another person's compelling theatrical experiment. I do think it's worthwhile to throw water on our faces every once in a while, and look in the mirror. If your MFA becomes a more predicative criteria for your success than, say, how people actual respond to your work in real time: that's probably a bad trend. But that doesn't follow exactly that writers with MFAs are getting opportunities they haven't earned.
- 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.