- 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.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Some good friends of mine are putting up their annual production of a Midsummer Night's Dream in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. This is a children's production, and it's incredibly fun and well-attended. Everyone involved is extremely experienced with outdoor work and Shakespeare. It'll be fun, you'll meet lots of great people. One thing that's great about it is that even though it's child friendly, the production is one that adults enjoy as well. I know Pam and I have watched and enjoyed it each year!
Contact rohanakenin @ gmail.com with your headshot and resume.
Seeking experienced actor to play Oberon and Puck (Puck as hand and rod puppet) in a showcase. $200 stipend. Ideal skill set = experience with Shakespeare, outdoor performance, and either puppetry or good at picking up new physical skills.
Rehearsal May 10 - June 3 weekday evenings and weekend daytimes. Dress rehearsal Friday June 4 in the morning. Rehearsals will probably be quite light the first week.
Outdoor performances all weekends in June. Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. (means actors can be rehearsing for, or even begin performing in other shows while we run)
There is also the possibility of one or two additional Friday performances June 11 and or 18.
Get on it! They're getting started soon, so don't wait!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
So, two of the best and most prolific theater bloggers decide to join forces and also write about...other stuff. Very cool. Have fun with that, and I hope you keep giving theater some love.
Blogging is odd. There's no one to say "Hey, you're done with that part of the job." People quit or change or just get quiet. That's how it goes.
As for me, this blog has retained it totally inaccurate name and will retain its tone and content. I've never viewed this blog as a product in and of itself...I view it as a place where I can speak, be heard, and hear other people too. Sometimes I get my gander up and write at length on a subject, sometimes I make jokes, and sometimes I link to YouTube. It is sufficient, I hope.
Occasionally I get busy. Right now is one of those times. I hope those of you in New York who follow this blog will allow their interest in my daily thoughts or whatever to migrate into the real world and check out what my actual work looks like. Those of you who live farther away, I've got publications I invite and encourage you to read and send me thoughts about. I'd love to be in a conversation about my actual work, not just about what I think about Treme (which I like, for the record) or the new Dr. Who (who I also like) or Collateralized Debt Obligations (which I listen to too many podcasts about).
I've never really believed that my voice should become a cultural authority on any given subject. I'm just a guy. Thanks for reading. Keep reading. And much luck to Isaac and 99seats, as their readership and subjects expand.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Great meeting with Kyle about That Old Soft Shoe.
And, finally, I certainly did NOT buy Avatar on Blu-Ray. What a waste of time and money that would have been! (Cough!) I mean, seriously. What are you accusing me of?
Friday, April 23, 2010
There are people that waited longer lines to see The Phantom Menace, and at the end, they just saw a movie.
Hope springs eternal. There are lots of people that want to be on stage. Lots of nice kids who have stars in their eyes that make big sacrifices in order to be seen by casting directors. I think there are some movies about that from the mid-70s. It does not make me faint. If it makes you faint, I dunno. Take a pill.
It's a long line. They're young kids, having fun, trying their luck, learning life lessons, flirting. Whatever. May their spirit infect us all. May their unabashed belief in a lucky break defeat anyone's concern for their well-being.
I, though, will remain affixed in this blogger template until someone reminds me it's not 2005. I'm not someone who loves change. I'm a little more in tune with stasis. Maybe.
Some fun things are going on over in Freeman Country.
A solo version of In the great expanse of space there is nothing to see but More, More, More will be seen at a showcase of work by recent graduates of RADA on May 14th. Directed by Georgina Guy and performed by Valerie Gogan. Ms. Guy has been workshopping When Is A Clock with Greylight Productions at the Newbury Corn Exchange across the pond.
That Old Soft Shoe, my latest play, will be see at the Too Soon Festival at the Brick in Williamsburg. Dates are yet to be announced, but I've got the impression we'll be early in the festival, which runs June 4th to July 3rd. Directed by Kyle Ancowtiz, as is customary and proper. We have yet to cast the production. Actors? Interested? We'll be announcing auditions soon. Very soon.
Denouement, a sort of sequel to Exposition, will have a limited run at the Brick May 21-May 28th. Created by me, director Michael Gardner, and the cast: Fred Backus, Kina Bermudez, Steve Burns, Maggie Cino, Ivanna Culliman, Alexis Soittle and Moira Stone.
I've recently received an offer from Playscripts.com to publish Glee Club. When that's finalized, I'll have more details, but that's certainly exciting. You can read about my other Playscripts offerings here. I certainly hope you'll pick up a copy or two of The Death of King Arthur. Why not? Gonna kill you?
Plus, I'm working on a script for the animated promotional/educational video for this upcoming book.
And last night, I recorded a new nytheatrecast with August Schulenberg, to discuss his upcoming play Jacob's House. Great conversation, and when it's live, I'll share.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
"The bellicose stance by Democrats, even as Republicans insist they are hopeful of a bipartisan deal, carries some political risk. Voters, often frustrated by the acrimony in Washington, could decide that Democrats, who control Congress and the White House, are being arrogant by refusing to make concessions. "
Does anyone think this is a politically astute assessment? Democrats have never been accused of arrogance by any serious voter or comedian or thinking human that I've noticed. They are accused of being wimps. It's Republicans whose boisterous posturing seems to be treated by the press as a win-win. The Republicans are admired by the press for making lies stick in the minds of the American public, despite how corrupt the behavior is. Democrats who try to be "bi-partisan" with this deposed minority party are accused of cowardice. If they attack, they risk being considered the reason for acrimony.
Most people don't think this way. The DC press, who use the horse-race, and not the substance, to fuel articles, love this type of Catch-22. Even if they contradict their own assessments of the politics a scant few months ago.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
"Perhaps the blogosphere can now take up the burning question of day-care centers for the children of playwrights, musicians and performance artists. But we're changing the world, one child at a time ..."
Frankly, having children in the world of the performing arts is a real challenge, especially for those of us with prospects for income that are close to doodley-squat, as Kurt Vonnegut might say.
I'm 34 and while in the middle of Indiana I'd probably be a father of three already, most of my friends are bravely moving into this phase of life now. My actor/director/all-around performer friends Sean and Rohana are married with two children. Qui Nguyen and Abby Marcus have a son. Joshua James has a son. My friend David DelGrosso and his wife Erica have a little girl on the way. George Hunka is a father, of course. To name a few.
In the world of two income households, it's harder and harder to imagine large families. But in the arts, especially the transitory world of theater, having a family is a decision that comes with almost dire risks. As a community, we reward each other for flexibility, the ability to move around quickly and easily, the ability to take projects that offer little to no financial reward besides cab money. Being a parent comes with it an inherent cost-benefit analysis of all our activity. How much time can we have for artistic expression that doesn't pay, when our decisions affect the comfort and health of someone helpless?
Have you wrestled with this decision? If so, what made you decide to begin a family? Or what made you decide not to? Or are you still thinking about it as a hypothetical?
If you have, or are starting, a family... how has it affected your approach to your work in theater, if at all?
Update: A thoughtful and personal response from George.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The Ontological-Hysteric Theater announced April 16, 2010 that it will cease operations at the theater space at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery at the end of the 2009-2010 season (June 30, 2010). The Incubator presenting programs will take over the theater July 1, 2010. Since taking up a permanent home at St. Mark’s Theater in 1992, the Ontological has presented annual theater works by Richard Foreman, whose trademark “total theater” unites elements of the performing arts, visual art, philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature and, in recent years, film. “My aesthetic remains the same, but after many years of making theater there’s been a thematic deepening of everything I’ve been working towards that can now only be made possible through film,” said the playwright and director.
Mr. Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater will continue to function. While not eliminating the possibility of occasional theatrical production, it will focus on film/video work under the sub-set of the International Bridge Project. Under the co-leadership of Foreman and previous Ontological administrator Sophie Haviland, the Bridge Project was established in 2004 to promote international art exchange between countries around the world through workshops, symposiums, theater productions, visual art, performance and multimedia events. Foreman and Haviland have already filmed material in nine countries around the world (including the U.S.).
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Is this really the only cost cutting measure available to the Public? I ask not out of incredulity, but sheer ignorance. I fully admit that.
Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public, said in an interview on Wednesday that $600,000 was a fairly typical price tag for a full production there, a cost that was shared by the two companies. He said that he was disappointed by LAByrinth’s departure, but that the Public planned to continue collaborating with the company on some shows in the future.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
First is Denouement. This is a sort of follow up to Exposition. Our first rehearsal is this evening. Michael Gardner will direct. A short run of public performances will follow our workshop of the piece, at the end of May.
Also, I'll be presenting That Old Soft Shoe at The Too Soon Festival in June. Kyle Ancowtiz directing. I'm currently doing rewrites on the play. All I can say for now is that it takes place in "An undisclosed location. Probably Florida," that its subject is the political ping-pong that our treatment of detainees has become, and that there will be dancing.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I would say that, despite the politics of all of this, and not having seen Next To Normal, I know plenty of people who believe that the show itself is a really terrific one.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Scott Walters notes the class issues.
Parabasis and 99seats discuss the legal framework and the merits of such an internship.
Even though I understand that theaters also have no money to pay people, and even though I realize that there is a great value in apprenticeships and internships (you can't start at the top after all) I do think that it's a system that rewards - not exclusively, but inherently - individuals who are less concerned about income.
I don't want to overly generalize - there are plenty of people out there that make sacrifices in order to get these opportunities. It just seems to me that if the question is access (and it is) , then the ability to work for free during regular working hours, even to work for very little, makes access far easier.
Life ain't fair, get a helmet, one might say. That's easy to say if you can afford a helmet.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Samuel and Alasdair:
A Personal History of the Robot War
At just under one hour, with little in the way of embellishment, Brook offers us something that feels at the same time quaint and rebellious. A rug, four chairs, two tables, two books, a piano and a leaflet: that's it. Franck Krawczyk performs the music onstage, less an active participant than a part of the production's trappings. I couldn't help but feel unsettled by it. Criticized? Questioned? Why do I stuff my own plays with so much jabber?
Love is my Sin isn't a monumental experience, a piece of theater intended to shatter or shake up. It's, instead, a meditation in the purest sense of that word. Think about this, it says. Enjoy this. I did and I did.
It also made me realize that when seeing new works, I have gotten so used to the strain to impress, to make an impression, that I don't notice it anymore. Young writers, myself included, reach for the audience with every word. There's a muscularity to it. A competitiveness. A sense of urgency and ambition. Even at its most hidden, it's there.
Here, that strain is missing and it just made me breathe a little more deeply in the room. Not only because Shakespeare has nothing to prove (and neither, for that matter, does Peter Brook) but because there's not a moment in the piece that is more than it needs to be, or is even wantonly underplayed for its own sake. The moments are as they should be, the performances light but not weightless, the proceedings comfortable without ever feeling unimportant.
I don't feel the need to expound on the virtues of Shakespeare's sonnets. All I can say is that I was moved by the experience, and I heartily recommend seeing this. Even if only to contrast it with the hurlyburly of the average theater-going experience.
Love Is My Sin runs until April 17.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
As a special treat, I interviewed some of our audience members about their responses to the show. Take a look!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Hey everyone -
I'd like to announce, with great sadness, that I am effectively ending my dream of being a playwright. I've done my best to live in denial, but after reading Outrageous Fortune, the facts are overwhelming. We're irrelevant, poor, and the institutions that were built in order to give the American Theater vibrancy and life have failed. Really, what is it about plays that is so necessary? No one gives a shit anymore. I quit, and you should quit, too.
What? We need more plays about politics? We need another play by a writer about what it means to write? We need more plays about how to have a love life? Someone else needs to reinterpret the Greeks?
Come on, people. There's nothing left. Why try? Why even goddamn try? All I know is that whatever impulse that once pushed me into writing plays was destroyed by the idea that it is very hard to make money at it.
After this one more play, I'm done.
Plays are useless in the age of film and television.
Right or wrong, it's my life and my choice.
I really do thank everyone who supported me and believed in me.
Love to all of you.
Forget what you wanted to be.
Only focus on what is possible.
Only see the world as it is.
Live free of expectation and ambition.
Sorry if that disappoints you all. But it really is the only choice.