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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

All Hail...Harry Potter?

Honestly, I think this is great. Not because I'm in love with star-obsession. In fact, I've never read a Harry Potter book. I know, I know...

But frankly, this is a really brave move for someone who could easily make money forever just because he's associated with a family-friendly multi-billion dollar franchise. Instead, he's taken on a role that is incredibly challenging and potentially damaging to his image. The result? He was rewarded with great reviews, and more people than have in years read about a little play called Equus.

I'm not naive enough to think people are reading about this for any other reason than he takes his underaged clothes off. But I do think the side-effect is basically an overall "good."

Gizmodo shows us the greatest thing ever

Look at this and weep. Weep for humankind.

I want one for parties. Why put your beer down?

Dreamscape Radio Play - Marlowe PI

Zack Calhoon, of Dreamscape Theatre, recently penned a radio play called "Marlowe P.I."

You can listen or download the MP3 of it by clicking here. (Right click "save as..." to download.)

Cool stuff!

I personally think Audio Drama and Podcasting have a bright future for the theatrical webnet.

An Interview with T. Ryder Smith

Nytheatre.com has posted an interview with actor T. Ryder Smith.

Shia and Sunni

I was listening to Seymour Hersh last night speaking about his recent article in the New Yorker about the US's plans for military action in Iran.

Here's a distillation of what I understood:

The US has aligned itself with Sunni nations in the Middle East, and has viewed the Shia as enemies. It views Iran as essentially a Shiite threat that is aligned with the Shiite Hezbollah. Dick Cheney views the greatest threat to the US as Iran gaining a nuclear weapon and then giving it to Hezbollah, which will then, according to his logic, detonate that weapon inside the US.

Therefore, we are supporting many extremist Sunni groups that are sympathetic to Al Qaeda, because we believe they are working against Hezbollah.

And, to pile on the logic, the only place we're making an exception to this rule is Iraq, where we are primarily under attack from Sunnis, of which Saddam Hussein was one. We are aligned with the Shiite government, while treating Shiite Muslims as a direct threat to US citizenry everywhere else.

That's... perfect. What could go wrong? Oh, wait.

Joining with the Chorus

I'll do as others have done and link to this great write up about the heroic Edward Albee.

Climate Crisis

Go here and do this. It will take mere moments.

Via Adam S.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shakespeare's Associates!

Hey crew... my good friends Russ and Katie Marcel are members of the Board of Directors for Shakespeare's Associates, out of Livermore, California. Russ directed Reasons for Moving at HERE Arts Center in 2001.

Two things:

1. If you have a couple of bucks burning a hole in your pocket, donate. They're a new thriving ambitious company and they could certainly use the support. If you're in the Bay Area, it's a great way to support a new company and get involved. If you're not, hey... it's Russ and Katie. We love Russ and Katie. And their daughter Zoe. And, of course, Dakota their Dog. Why not donate?

2. If you live in the area, Russ will be acting in the ART. Go see it!

Christopher Shinn

I don't know him. But I'm overwhelmingly jealous! It consumes me!

Thank you for indulging this outburst.

The Case for War in Iran Gets "Cloudy"

Noteworthy story for those following the administration's newest case for war.

Deja Vu at TPM.

Polling Question

Let's assume Rudy Giuliani is the Republican Candidate for President in 2008. My assumption is the McCain's support of the escalation in Iraq is basically going to sink his ship, and the Mitt Romney is viewed as too Mormon and only recently socially conservative by the Republican base. Brownback is crazy, so I'm hoping he's out. So let's go with America's Mayor.

Which of these races looks best to you?

Rudy v. Clinton
Rudy v. Obama
Rudy v. Edwards

Monday, February 26, 2007


On the train this morning, I was listening to On The Media on my iPod, and then BBC Newspod. It occurred to me, listening, that just about every day I'm struck by a compelling story, something that could easily form a narrative for a play.

There is something in me, though, that seems to inherently understand what I will write about and will not. Not so much as an Editor, but instead as a Guide: I can and will write about certain subjects, certain types of subjects flow easily from me as a writer, other topics, as compelling as they are, don't hit that nerve that would make me want to craft an outline and create characters.

For example: I think that corporate scandals are fascinating and full of fantastic characters studies. I have yet to feel any urge to write a play about that topic.

Poverty isn't a topic I feel the urge to write about.

Racial issues is a topic that's dear to me as a human being, but I fail utterly to write about it.

Religion, faith and emotional violence, though... are topics I do consistently write about.

I'm curious if other writers and directors have that same experience. That what you find engaging to read about or hear about doesn't always translate into something you feel the urge to explore creatively.

Theft Should Be Dangerous

I finally got around to reading The Ecstacy of Influence. I'm aware that Isaac is a big believer is the inherent "corruption" of "intellectual property" law and that there is no such thing as plagarism.

I don't know. I know theft is rather common... but that doesn't mean we should suddenly legitimatize theft as a sort of badge of honor. It's a dangerous practice, a high-wire act, and that's how I like it.

Certainly, it would be far easier for directors if each script came with no restrictions as to how it should be performed, by whom, and whose name goes on it. But shouldn't some practices be difficult and fraught with challenges? Like taking ownership of someone else's work?

EDIT: I'll be an adult about this and correct myself: - Isaac doesn't say that there is "no such thing as plagarism." It's not something he stated and is careful not to imply that in his postings. Too quickly written, this post was.


This site looks like a lot of fun for those of us who are still waiting for them to come out with House of Representatives trading cards.

David Cote on Authenticity

More to talk about here.

Here's a question: Is it possible for something that lacks "authenticity" to also be good theatre?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dick Cheney Goes After China

Ok, old man. I know YOU'RE not going to live forever, but the rest of us are attempting to look forward to long, happy lives.

So stop it, for God's Sake.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Worthy of Note - Scrota in Children's Literature

Important literary discussion.

Via Surplus.

Arts Funding Decline

This article in the New York Times is important reading. It's referenced today both my Garrett and George as well.

To me, it's become abundantly clear that small theater groups must change their fundraising model in order to remain viable in today's culture. A few quick thoughts on ways we need to refocus. Love to hear your thoughts.

1. Marketing - I've said it many times in this space. Small theatre, Off-Off or Indie or Off-Loop or whatever you'd like to call it, needs to rethink how it presents itself to the culture at large. This means embracing new models in marketing, branding effectively, and battling the perception that Theatre is both inaccessible high art, or the bastard stepchild of film and TV.

2. Small Donors - Something that most theatres fail to do is cultivate a small donor database and create a consistent strategy for capturing and encouraging a pool of small donors. Currently, there are many groups applying for the same relatively small pool of large grants. If one could refocus their energy on a large number of small donors, one could create both Attendence and Cashflow.

3. Equity - Actor's Equity (at least in New York City) needs to reform its codes to help small theatre's become profitable and viable. Currently, the Showcase Code is needlessly restrictive, and makes it next-to-impossible for any but a few to crawl out from under its restraints.

Ash Wednesday

Hello Invisible Friends!

Today marks the beginning of Lent. You may know this because yesterday was Fat Tuesday. Whether you are a Christian or a Wiccan Priest, it is always fun to think about what, exactly, you might give up to the higher powers during this time of sacrifice.

When I was a kid, I'd give up things like video games or candy or crying in my room alone.

Later, I would give up things like Self-Respect. Dreams. Hope. Just until Easter. This year for Lent, I think I will give up "Acting Like I'm 14."

So... networked theatricals... what would you give up for Lent?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

On a Tuesday

I find myself with a rather large number of writing projects, even as I settle back down into my cubicle to commit myself to creating Charitable Gift Annuities and talking about the Almighty Lord. Much to do, much to do. Happy to be back in New Y ork City, home of wanderlust and a semi-functional mass transit system.

To get back into the swing of things a bit, I'd like to throw another question out into the Web-E-Net. Here it is, without further ado:

What's your favorite contemporary American play?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

...And Boy Are My Arms Tired!

Phantasmaphile and I have returned from our trip to Paris, a bit sleepy but definitely satisfied.

Enjoyed the concept of being forced to drink ones cafe sitting down, smoked indoors, navigated the Metro, saw the new Musee du Quai Branly, hung around in Montmantre, went to the Sacre Coeur and listened to the Nuns singing, drank wine and ate cheese (as one must), discovered a new favorite beer, and had a chance encounter with a Dentist who showed us his collection of rare taxidermy and books on zoology. I also got to read, on the plane, Travels in the Scriptorium, the new Paul Auster. A fine, fine time.

Now, I'm back to write a few things, work on a teleplay a bit more, get back to the day job, watch Lost, and go to see the Oresteia. Typical teenage fun like that.

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions on how we should spend some time in Paris. I'll have you know those comments were printed out and brought with us on the journey.

In other personal news:

My brother, Danny, and partner, Joe, are coming to see us this weekend. Joe was recently nominated for a literary award at LAMBDA, I'm told. Very cool. For this book. Go Joe. Looking forward to seeing them both.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Orestia Opens Soon!

I'm about to head out for about a week... going to California and then Paris. I will miss, therefore, the opening of "The Orestia" which promises to kick very much ass. Go see it. You'll love it.

Here are the details...




By David Johnston

Freely adapted from The Oresteia of Aeschylus
Directed by Stephen Speights
Wed - Sat, Feb 14 – March 10 @ 8pm
380 Broadway, Fourth Floor

Tix $18 @ smarttix.com or bluecoyote.org

With Frank Anderson*, Kyle Ancowitz, Brendan Bradley, Bryce Gill, Nell Gwynn*, Heidi Jackson, Kathy Lichter*, Jonna McElrath*, Sarah Schoenberg*, Gary Shrader, and Robyn Weiss*

Sets – Robert Monaco
Lighting – Evan O’Brient
Costumes – Jonna McElrath
Sound – Brandon Wolcott
Music – Margaret F. Heskin
Masks – Michelle Ross
Blood – Dash Vada
Press – Karen Greco Entertainment
Stage Manager – Liz Reddick*

New "Plays and Playwrights 2007"

Is going on sale. Support your local theater practitioner. James Comtois is represented.

Read about it here:


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

London and Paris

Right now, Phantasmaphile is in London for work, which leaves me home alone with the cats. I do what any self-respecting idiot would do when she's not around to notice what I'm doing: I sit and stare forward for minutes on end, watch television for a bit too long, open and close the fridge, and argue with the cats about who really deserves to eat my dinner.

On the night she left, I watched pro wrestling for two hours, then a bit of News, and then Animal Planet for a bit. Pathetic. I also had some beer. Which was truly pathetic, as I was alone.

The upside to all this weakness: On Friday I am off to El Camino Real to talk about Jesus and stuff some more for my job (what happened?), and then I'm off to meet her in Paris for four days.

So...crew...what should I do in Paris? I've never been.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In April

For two nights, check this fun stuff out.

Herein lies MattJ's announcement...


A Load Off My Mind

Thank God THIS is settled. I knew Reverend Ted could never...ever...be gay. It's just impossible.



When I was in high school, I saw a production of Fences at the Pennsylvania Stage Company that made me say: "That is how I want to make an audience feel."

Name a production that affect you this way... a production you saw that represents to you the type of actor, director or writer you'd like to be.

Monday, February 05, 2007

James Comtois Cyber Interview

Great Stuff Jimmy!

Getting Reviews

So, the Playgoer's discussion about Press Coverage has been really illuminating I think. Read about it here and here.

I'd love to talk more about this from the outside. What have been our experiences and what have we learned?

For me, I've often been covered by Martin Denton, who takes special care to review as much of the New York theater scene as he can. In fact, the only reviews that Genesis, Reasons for Moving, The Great Escape and The Americans received were from him. My most reviewed play was The Most Wonderful Love which was covered by Martin, but also the Times, Showbusiness Weekly and Time Out. (Time Out and Showbusiness weren't too kind, the Times and Martin were exceedingly so.) Other than that, The Death of King Arthur was the first play I'd had produced and it got a Times Review and...nothing else.

What connected "Arthur" and "The Most Wonderful Love?" They had the same press agent and well-established companies backing them up. Plus, four-week Showcase Code runs.

A few questions to spark a bit of thought...

1. Have you ever hired a PR rep, and if so, how successful was he or she for you?
2. Have you ever been extremely successful in marketing your show and getting reviews without any press representation? (For bloggers: Do blogs help or harm?)
3. If you're not a fan of how the print media goes about chosing what to review: how should they go about choosing productions with their limited space and time constraints without using PR reps and press releases?
4. Have you ever done "everything right" and found yourself with no reviews to show for it?
5. What is your best success with getting reviewers? What was the biggest frustration?
6. If you have experience as an editor or reviewer: share with us a particular story that you felt showed how things work and why.

My comments section is your playground!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Isherwood's not a Utopian...

After countless articles and two love letters from Ben Brantley, the New York Times prints Charles Isherwood's sympathetic nod to the confused blue-hair crowd.

Is there any precendent for this sort of coverage in the Times of a single production?

If anyone out there has seen it (I've yet to find the cash flow for seats)... do you find any sympathy with Isherwood? Or were you as stunned as thrilled as Brantley? Fess up, Philistines.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Playgoer's Crisis of Conscience

As always, Playgoer offers important food for thought.

Interested in what the reaction from the cast and crew of this one are.

Read here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Question for you

What do you think of the "Three Act" structure? Seen it lately? Hate it? Miss it?

Don't give a damn?