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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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Other theater apps we need

We're living in the App Era. The age of the App. I wonder if there are kids that won't know why it's called an App (lication.) I also wonder if there are children who don't know why it's called a "C" drive. I mean, I guess they never had to sit up for hours with their friend Marshall and remove every damn thing on their home computer from a C prompt just so they could transform their entire computer into an "X-Wing" arcade machine.

But I digress.

Apparently Scene Partner is an app that helps people memorize their lines. Because a yellow highlighter and a patient friend, or heck, just a room by yourself, is no longer good enough. We need the funky iPhone version of learning things.

So, I think I'd like to request a few more theater related apps. Things that will replace age-old problems with newfangled problems.

CUE ME APP - Keep your iPhone in your pocket on stage. It will buzz whenever it hears the three words preceding your next line.

WRAPPER REMOVER - An app that reminds you to remove the fucking peanut M&Ms from their wrapper now, five minutes before the play starts, while you're reading your program, not the second Mark Rylance comes onstage.

RIGHT FOR ME? - An app with several parts. First, you upload your headshot. Then, you put in your resume. Then, your friends anonymously can upload notes about the parts you're best for. Then, when a listing for an open call shows up, and your mind is feverishly looking for rationales why you should audition for Romeo at 47, you can consult the objective app and get your shit together.

NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT APP - Replace the entire development process with an app that gives all the standard notes that you will receive during a talkback session, but fills them in MadLibs style from the details for your play. For example:

"I didn't believe it when MARTA confessed to DANIEL."

"I just think you should raise the stakes for HAROLD."

"What you need to ask yourself is 'Why is this night more important for GINA than any other night?'"

"I felt like THE ANGEL GABRIEL was from a different play."


"Do you have any questions that you would like this APP to provide feedback on?" [ENTRY SCREEN] "Yes, the APP agrees that part could be tightened up."

"Why isn't this a screenplay?"

INSTANT REVIEW - An app that reads your play, the cast, the director, the company and the venue, and quickly writes the review you know you will receive before you even start rehearsing. It even will emulate the reviews from different sources, such a three star review from Time Out or an exasperated review from Charles Isherwood.

LITERARY DEPARTMENT APP - Send your play to this app for your daily dose of deadening rejection. It fills in the name of your play: "We loved reading THE JUNIPER BUSH" and makes a single comment that seems personalized before rejecting you. "The characters were unique and the structure inventive. We're sorry, it does not match our needs at this time." (Works especially well with the iPhone 4s.)

NEW PLAY APP - Enter a premise and characters, and this app will produce a 70 minute, intermissionless play with an ambiguous ending and a progressive social theme.

HEADSHOTS! - a new iPhone app that uses the camera to create the perfect digital headshot from any standard picture. Closes up on your face, finds your best side, whitens teeth, adds hand-on-your-chin with photoshop, creates either brick-building or stoop background with state-of-the-art digital technology. Then, instantly sends to agents and online depositories of dreams.


You're welcome, entrepreneurs.


RVCBard said...

We also need a grant proposal app that will translate our ideas for theatre projects into grantspeak.

MOB said...

I may be the only one to do so, but I'm gonna go all earnest here and say: Scene Partner is awesome (accept no substitutes - it has a shinier, better publicized competitor called Rehearsal, which is not worth the pixels it's... printed on?).

It may not be for everyone, but if you learn well by having someone "run lines" with you, there's nothing better than having someone with infinite patience and literally nothing else to do, any time you feel like putting in some work.

I've used this thing to learn massive, brain-melting quantities of dialogue (and one 5-page monologue) that I honestly don't know if I could have gotten otherwise, all while riding on the train, walking down the street, hell, sitting at my desk doing repetitive manual spreadsheet-related tasks.

Don't get me wrong - all of your fantasy apps sound like way more fun, but thought I'd point out that the one that got you going is actually quite useful.

Freeman said...

MOB - Thanks for the endorsement. I'm inspired to have fun, of course, but if the App works for you, cool.

joshcon80 said...

Um... I don't know what the C in C Drive is for.

Also, I'm in the Soho Rep Lab and we read only off kindles, ipads and laptops. That was a first.