About Me

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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, June 30, 2006

An article from the bowels of...well...just from someone's bowels

I abhor this article in Showbusiness Weekly.

If this is STILL the perception of Off-Off Broadway, that's a damn shame. The fact that the gent from OOBR referred to his bread and butter as a string of "vanity productions" is just awful. Even suggesting that in a quick online article you can tell someone "How to Mount a Show So Casting Agents Can See You!" makes me want to chop off my own head in shame. This view of Off-Off Broadway is for those that see Disney as Legitimate Theater and Richard Foreman as that guy who sells Low-Fat Grills.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Privatize Everything ... But Information

I was recently listening to Jim Lehrer (at least I think it was the News Hour) and they had a point-counterpoint about the recent New York Times article which disclosed the Bush Administration's "covert" activities relating to bank records. The Editor of the Times even bothered to justify himself. The Bush administration did what any fascist government does when challenged by the press: it treats the press as traitors who are threatening "National Security."

I'm relatively certain that if you read this blog, I don't need to convince you of the frightening overtones and slippery slope that the Bush Administration's argument contains. Nonetheless, there was a talking point I found so particularly hilarious and insidious, I just had to mention it.

During the News Hour, the pro-Bush guest (excuse me if I can't remember his name) that the New York Times is a "for profit" entity and therefore made this decision in order to sell newspapers. How dare they, he said, put their own profit above the security of the United States. I'm sure if this was said once, it will be repeated again and again. Republicans are nothing if not automated to stay "on message."

What is stunning about this argument is that the Bush administration is a firm believer in the market to regulate things like health care, social security, the environment, schools and prisons. It believes the basic social infrastructure is best left to for-profit enterprises. He's farmed out half the war effort to private contractors (I won't say Halliburton, whoops), he's pushed privatization across the board. Even Vouchers for Private Schools, which are, in fact, charging for the right to earn an education.

Amazing, therefore, to claim that the Press having a profit-margin somehow means they cannot be trusted. If anything, the press living and dying by its journalistic impact makes sense (the idea that people will read well-written journalism notwithstanding). It makes far more sense than a state-controlled (or even approved) Press. It makes far more sense than a profit-margin attached to AIDs medication in the Third World, or leaving environmental controls up to an industry that's eyes are on their bottom line.

Truthfully, though, after all this time, it's become imperative to stop responding to the arguments being made, and to start responding to the reason behind the arguments. The Bush Administration and its supporters do not make consistent statements and their talking points shift expediently. When these massive contradictions appear, they indicate that those in the opposition must attack the meaning, not the "message."

The Republican Party's consistent message is that questioning them is akin to apostasy.

It believes that all things should be controlled by large, for-profit corporations, except the most valuable commodity of all...information.

They won't say those words, and no one can make them. But that is exactly what they mean.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Last night the Phantasmaphile and I checked out NERVE, written by this guy.

I have to say, for just about an hour, Szymkowicz manages to push a ton of buttons. I laughed my ass off. This is probably because I love it when the wrong thing is said, which is exactly what happens in this play, over and over again. Whenever there is a pause, you can be certain that the precisely incorrect words will escape an actor's lips, turning the knife and bring forth a laugh of acknowledgment. And, um, pain.

Don't think massive, crippling insecurity is funny? Check out Nerve, and you might figure out how funny it can be. The message is clear in this microcosm of a screwed up New York romance: there is someone for everyone. And I mean...everyone.

The production is top notch and so are both of the actors, who are able to magically turn their almost dangerous issues into charming foibles.

Props to Adam, a gentleman and a scholar of all things terrible. I can see why they let you into that school of yours.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Essay Questions for Bad Poetry

Today, in "Essay Questions for Bad Poetry" we approach the song stylings of pop singer Seal. This song was attached to the film "Batman Forever" and has since become a staple of Light FM. Song lyrics can be seen as the new "popular" poetry, I'd like to approach this as such. Get your pencils sharpened.

"Kiss From A Rose"
There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea.
You became the light on the dark side of me.
Love remained a drug that's the high and not the pill.
But did you know,That when it snows,
My eyes become large and
The light that you shine can be seen.
Baby,I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
Ooh,The more I get of you,
Stranger it feels, yeah.
And now that your rose is in bloom.
A light hits the gloom on the grave.
There is so much a man can tell you,
So much he can say.You remain,
My power, my pleasure, my pain, baby
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny.
Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby?
But did you know,That when it snows,
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
Ooh, the more I get of you
Stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom.
A light hits the gloom on the grave,
I've been kissed by a rose on the grave,
I've been kissed by a rose I've been kissed by a rose on the grave,
...And if I should fall along the way
I've been kissed by a rose ...been kissed by a rose on the grave.
There is so much a man can tell you,
So much he can say.
You remain
My power, my pleasure, my pain.
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny, yeah
Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby.
But did you know,That when it snows,
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
Ooh, the more I get of you
Stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom, A light hits the gloom on the grave.
Yes I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you
Stranger it feels, yeah
And now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grave
Now that your rose is in bloom,
A light hits the gloom on the grave.

Question #1 - Grey and Grave are interchangeable in this piece. How important is specificity in a poem?
Question # 2 - In this poem, the writer expressly states: "I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey [grave]." Does every rose have its thorn? Just like every night has its dawn?
Question # 3 - When you read this, does it get stuck in your head? If I were to tell you that I could get these lyrics unstuck from your head, to what crime would you confess?
Question # 4 - There is a "tower" referenced in the opening line of this "poem." Why does the poet mention this if, obviously, the Tower does not factor into the narrative. Speaking of which...is there a narrative?
Question # 5 - There is a reference here to snow and also to addiction. Is this poem about cocaine? Or, as you might call it "blow?" Is it about drug abuse? And is that healthy, baby? Why or why not?

BONUS QUESTION - What sort of a name is Seal?

If anyone has further thoughts on how to interpret this...I'm ready to listen.

The Numbers

So, the show is still churning and life goes on as it will. I'm seeing Nerve tonight and looking forward to it. We have a long schedule this week...Tuesday-Saturday. So if anyone wants to come Tuesday...hey, that's a nice thing, no?

Right now, the Showcase Code is doing us about as much good as the Electoral College has been doing the concept of Democracy.

I'm of the belief that the only way for Equity to reform the Showcase Code is for actor's within the organization to demand it. Actor's Equity will react with hostility to producers who want more freedoms. A solid case needs to be made that the Showcase Code, and indeed, the entire system in New York, should be changed to reflect the truth of the economics and state-of-the-Arts.

An important step, though, is to formalize the complaints and debate. There are very few organized facts about Non-Broadway, Non-Off-Broadway Theaters and how they function financially. How much do most companies spend on their shows? How often do they profit? What do they generally spend?

I would like to set up a survey to gather statistics and create a broad overview of the financial state and general business practices of the Off-Off or "Indie" world of New York theater. Of course, I'm completely inexperienced.

What sort of questions need to be asked? Hit my comments.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Blackout / State of the Show

Last night, during "The Most Wonderful Love" the power on the 4th Floor of 380 Broadway went out, meaning that "Marat/Sade" in the Gallery and the third act of my play were suddenly being performed by the emergency lights above the Exit signs.

One thing I love about theatre is that on occasions like this, the audience rallies around you and seems to throw all their love and support and encouragement to the performers. The actors were great and worked their asses off...but it's in those moments you feel a bond between the performers and the spectators. The bizarre and lovely disaster; how sweet it is. That's what you get, I guess, when you mock God.

So where does this leave us?

We've had great reviews and we've got that nice podcast up on nytheatre.com (where we are currently the "Pick of the Week") and interviews and the audiences are making their way in. I've seen a few bloggers at the show (James, Dan, MattJ, Lucas, Isaac) and had a few beers at South's and shown up haggard to my day job, a little later than I should have arrived, apologetic and, of course, unapologetic all at once.

All that's left is audience. So I absolutely encourage anyone who hasn't made it out yet, or has been on the fence, to take a look and check it out. You'll have fun. We have beer. Cold water. We have hugs. We really, really do. At this point, the show has weathered broken air conditioning, blackouts, a tough leading lady working through losing her voice, and even a playwright that lives in a state of perpetual neurotic panic.

I think it's been worth it. We're kicking ass. At least, that's how I feel right now.

Don't quote me on that. Deal?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Hey everyone!

Check out this podcast hosted by nytheatre.com, featuring a conversation with myself, Kyle Ancowitz and Matthew Trumbull about "The Most Wonderful Love."

Click this!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Work / Life / Art Balance

Work and Life Balance is a constant struggle for most working adults. Add a desire for a life in the arts, and many of us are in the midst of a constant battle of attention, exhaustion and dedication.

I have worked in various offices for the past 7 or 8 years. I am, in fact, writing this post from my cubicle on 44th and 2nd Avenue. The day after I got my great review in the Times, I went to work and tried to celebrate by buying an extra-nice lunch and photocopying with puffed up pride.

Add the desire to have a personal life and see a movie and spend time with my girlfriend and do my laundry and chat with my pals to a 40 hour a week day job and a commute and, of course, all this theater and blogging and playwrighting and you get a guy who feels, at times, like he's got three lives.

Oh, did I mention my family? Sometimes, very occasionally, I talk to them too.

So I'm curious how others work out their balance. How do you pay the rent and make time to direct or write? When does it frustrate you (as it always does) and when does it feel like you've got a sweet deal (a temp job where no one looks at you and you steal all the pens you want.)

Let's talk. Hit the comments below.

A Poor Player

Say Hello to Professor Tom, whose blog is surely welcome. Hi there!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pick of the Week!

"The Most Wonderful Love" is the Pick of the Week at Nytheatre.com. Fantastic!

Kyle Ancowitz, Matt Trumbull and I sat down with Martin Denton on Sunday to record a podcast for www.nytheatre.com and their new series. I'll post to a link to it when it's live.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Praise for "The Most Wonderful Love"

Read our New York Times review here.
Read our review from Martin Denton at nytheatre.com here.

Oddball Schedule

The Most Wonderful Love, in service of the almighty Showcase Code, has an odd schedule this week. We have a show tonight, but not Thursday, and then a Friday and Saturday performance. So anyone looking to come this week remember...no Show on Thursday.

Come tonight instead!

And on Thursday, see one of the other fabulous shows that are currently running around town.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Adventures of Nervous Boy... Nice Reviews

Nice reviews so far for Adventures of Nervous-Boy from James Comtois and Nosedive Productions! Send good thoughts to this fellow playwright on his blog here. Well done, Gents! (Mac Rogers has gotten good notices in both reviews for his performance as well!)


"Hey everyone! My Mother Likes It!"

I'm often reminded of The Goodbye Girl when I talk to friends about the success and/or failure of my plays. The mantra of many of my friends (and perhaps the internal monologue of the audience) is "Did your parents read this?"

After they watched "The Most Wonderful Love" on Saturday, I wandered over to my stepfather and my mother. My Stepfather, Joe, leaned away and cried "Don't touch me! I don't want it to rub off!" So yes...I felt the play was a success.

Of course, my Mother liked it. She thought it was funny. She wants to know what my Father will think. I mean, my Father thought that The DaVinci Code was blasphemous. Wait until he sees Act III.

He even loaned us his own robes. Boy, I really should have warned him.

I'm out of the Will. I can feel it. I am no longer an heir to the Freeman Dollar. That's what you get for making "Art."

My Mother is a saint for surviving "The Great Escape" though...which steals liberally from her life. And, um, uses her actual name.

I'd love to know what other people's experiences are with their parents. We're in a weird and confessional business. Do any damage? Get any extra love?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wonderful Words from Parabasis

Click the title of this post for some very kind words from Isaac at Parabasis about The Most Wonderful Love. Wow. Thanks a lot.

Busy, Busy, Busy...Hairdresser on Fire!

At Souths, a bar on Church Ave between White and Franklin, I had the pleasure of bumping into Adam Szymkowicz and Kristin Palmer (Playwrighting Power Couple), an old friend named Brian Taylor, and along with us was Lucas Krech, light of the blogging community. There, as well, was Eric Dean Scott, who is currently making the rounds in Mark Smith, and who I know from a little thing called Gorilla Rep and Midsummer Night's Dream a few years back (he was Oberon, I was Flute).

The Most Wonderful Love is rolling along, getting some rather happy responses and raised eyebrows. Don't forget to make a reservation, crew.

Don't forget about James's show, Adam's Show and Sheila's show. Also the $ellout Festival is cooking up boatloads of Billyburg bliss.

Sith Lord Wins Tony!

If you want to discuss it, you may comment below.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Most Wonderful Love - Discount Tickets for Previews

Hi everyone. Special for readers of this blog. BOTH of you.

If you're interested in seeing the show this weekend (which I would absolutely encourage) e-mail me at mattfr@gmail.com and I can provide you with a discount code for Smarttix purchase.

Also, you're pretty. No, seriously. You. I don't say this to everyone.

TMWL First Preview

Well...The Most Wonderful Love's first performance has come and gone and Christ are my arms tired. Fantastic work by all involved. Phew.

Time for a very long nap.

Until, of course, tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


There's quite a bit going on, so I think it's time for a PlugFest.

I know that Adam and James have stuff that's going on this weekend. Me too. Who else? What else?

Plug! Plug your show!

Plug a show you want everyone else to know about!


Monday, June 05, 2006

The Who - Kicking Assets and Taking Names

From the NY Times "Dealbook" Financial Blog. Hedgefunds and "The Who?" Gives new meaning to the lyrics of "We won't get fooled again!"

Next: a grunge-themed investors conference at Proctor & Gamble.

Recommend a poet

To take a cue from Isaac:

Recommend a poet in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Walk on White Street

Free things make the world go around.

Walk on White is a "Celebration of the Arts" which is located on White Street between Lafayette and West Broadway. It features Free Activities from 11am to 7pm.

Involved will be SoHo Photo Gallery, Battery Dance Company, Blue Coyote Theater Group/Access Theater, and Manhattan Children's Theatre.

My play will be performing that night, so come on by after the fun and free stuff. Check out "Walk on White" in the title link.

Friday, June 02, 2006


While I blog at you furiously today, I just wanted to share a happy series of literary accidents that have recently made me smile.

I read If on a winter's night a traveler... by Italo Calvino which I had planned to gut and steal and make a play out of. Some might call this an homage.

On my recent trip to San Francisco, I picked up Natural History, a book of poems by Dan Chiasson, that I would like to gut and steal and make a play out of. (An homage, again.) In fact, I thought maybe I'd use the poems to inspire the Calvino piece.

Then, reading Chiasson's notes about the poems, they are inspired by his reading Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis. He was referred to this literature after reading "Man, the Sky, and the Elephant" by...Italo Calvino.

The world is rather welcoming to interpretation.

Baby with the Bathwater

This morning, while washing my face and looking into a mirror, I heard, on the radio, a General in the Armed Forces made the "few rotten apples/don't throw out the baby with the bathwater" argument. It goes:

"There 150,000 soldiers in Iraq and some isolated incidents where people mess up and we shouldn't blame the entire Army for it. The war is still going well despite some setbacks."

How many "isolated incidents" adds up to large scale problem? Abu Ghraib did not happen to an entire city, it happened between a few American soldiers and their prisoners. What it revealed was far greater than the number of people directly involved. It showed American soldiers as wanton, and even gleeful, torturers who were enabled in this behavior by the culture within the military.

No one wants to throw out the Baby with the Bathwater. People are wondering why you're bathing the baby with lighter fluid.

Marines reportedly killed 24 Iraqi citizens in the town of Haditha. What is troubling therein is that it was falsely reported as a "roadside bombing" and only exposed through the dilligence of hardworking citizens and reporters.

Now, the Prime Minister of Iraq is referring to the killing of civilians as a "daily phenomenon."

It's clear that the behavior of troops on the ground in Iraq is, in certain cases, deplorable. If we want those who do not act with such disregard for human life to return home from this war unashamed of their involvement, we must take large-scale punitive action against those responsible for covering up, aiding, encouraging and enacting crimes against civilians.

Word Up to David J.

To David Johnston for his write up in Time Out NY. He's a good guy, great writer, hilarious, and on his way to great things. Busted Jesus Comix was one of the highlights of the Off-Off scene last year, and Candy and Dorothy earned Vince Gatton (who likes to slap me around) a Drama Desk nomination to boot.

Good things come to good people. It's written somewhere, isn't it?