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.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Senate Passes War Deadline!

Here comes the VETO!

Go David Johnston!

David Johnston was just handed some happy news by GLAAD for his play, Candy and Dorothy! Brilliant!

Why the Wii is Selling so Well

Why is the comparatively low-tech but inexpensive "Wii" hanging in the gaming console market with powerhouses like Microsoft and Sony? This article on Yahoo Games! announcing the new Xbox 360 Elite pretty much tells the whole story. It's like an article in a trade magazine, only we're supposed to give a shit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The New York Times Theatre Coverage

Attending the SPF Salon, and chatting with various friends and associates, it's been clear that the downtown theatre community in New York views the New York Times in a generally unfavorable light.

I guess my question would be... beyond what issues people have with the Times...what is the Times coverage that we want to see? If you could have your fantasy version of the New York Times Theatre section...what would it look like and what would their critics sound like?

Furthermore, what would be the impetus for the Times to make these changes? Do you think it would bring about a rise in readership? Ad Sales? Would it help them as much as it helps, say, us?

I'd love to hear some thoughts about this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SPF Salon Panel - A Quick Recap

Last night I attened the SPF Salon Panel "Blogging the Show." It was hosted by David Cote, and featured George, Isaac, Cara Joy David, and Garrett Eisler.

A fine time, indeed. The panel itself had its moments: there was the obligatory New York Times criticism and a sort of "Blogs 101" air about the thing, mostly, I'm certain, for the benefit of some attendees who seemed, perhaps, not 'up' on the new technology.

I did get to hide in the back of a dark bar later on with a few people and drunkenly talk about theatre in that romantic way you figure you will when you move to New York.

What struck me most of all was just how far ranging even the four panelists were. Blogs are the antithesis of institutions, and in that way, the reflect a variety of personalities, motives and tastes. There is no, as yet, unifying force for blogs except an overall sense that we care about Theatre. Otherwise...all bets are off. I like that. I like that very much.

Either way, a pleasure to meet a few people in person, and definitely lots to think and post about. Whenever I get around to, you know, using this blog for taste arbitration.

Dream of a Ridiculous Man

I've recently been working on an adaptation of a Dostoevsky short story called "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man." The project came about from a conversation with Matt J at Theatre Conversation, who had worked on the piece in the past and wanted to put it on its feet in NYC.

Tha translation we're using is the one in the public domain, which can be found here.

As a process for me, it's been challenging. First of all because I agreed to work on it sight unseen, trusting Matt as a person, liking him, and wanting to work with him. Unlike most of the other work I've done, the impulse to work on this didn't come from me. Even with Isaac Butler and The Shadow (which has found its way onto the back burner but is still there roiling around), I read the piece and said "I think I'd like to work on this." With Matt it was "I'd like to work with Matt" and found myself sitting at my computer with some text to grapple with.

The piece itself is both entirely theatrical and entirely impossible. It's a monologue, certainly, and passionate and heightened. You can imagine this "man" and his desire to be heard. On the other hand, it hangs entirely on the Dream, which is a long piece of expository writing, which goes on for quite a long time. It's sort of like trying to turn "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" into a one-man show.

At first, I thought I'd do a broad re-ordering of the text, but found myself feeling that was unnecessary: I did want to keep the spirit of this thing and keep this as, essentially, Dostoevsky. I didn't want to gut it and throw the pages on the floor and figure out how to cleverly reconstruct it. Then I thought maybe there were places to simply modernize the language: another bad impulse that I ultimately spared myself.

So, first in...I started with the basics, which was to simply edit it down. There is judicious editing, and much of the original text has been sliced away entirely. One thing that allowed me to be so merciless with the text was that the Garnett translation isn't all that beautiful anyhow: it's a tad clunky. It also helped that I wasn't feeling some deep connection to the text to begin with. It's the first time I felt as if I could treat something this mercilessly, and it felt rather good. I hope it worked.

Deeper in, I did some rewriting in order to give the language some more punch in English. Whatever made, let's say, Gogol, a genius in the wordsmithing of his language is often lost when it's translated into English. Idiosyncracies and creative usage are essential to a writer, and there was no way I could, in the amount of time I had, hope to use the existing translation and my own ignorance to somehow whip up into a faithful version. Instead, I overwrote the English translation with my own original stuff, with no particular regard to the original intent of the author.

Furthermore, I've created specific families and factions for the dream and named them, so that as the piece describes the corruption and transformation of the people in question...we see who they are and what they stood for and have some markers and roadmaps as listeners. And, of course, to make it more specific for the actor. It's a large departure from the text... and my hope is that it pays off, and doesn't bastardize the original work.

There's more, for certain. But I guess that's a start. I'd love to see you all at the performances and to talk with you about it afterwards. Click here for more information.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Don't Be Boring - A Response

Check this out.

This is the sort of debate (impersonal, unpretentious, useful) that the blogosphere in the US could benefit a bit from.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Jack Goes Boating

Here's a link to my brief review of Jack Goes Boating.

"Men of Steel" - Vampire Cowboys

I had my first occasion to check out the work of the Vampire Cowboys last night, and checked out "Men of Steel" their latest.

What was once considered the domain only of an eight grader's basement (science fiction, anime, kung fu, superheroes, professional wrestling) has entered the popular adult media in a huge way in the last few years. The very people that once obsessed about Crisis on Infinite Earths and Star Trek when they were kids, are now in their thirities and writing Lost and Battlestar Galactica and The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay. We're using an increasingly mature aesthetic to engage with the mythology of our youth.

"Men of Steel," for all its bombast and camp, seems like a love letter from a fan to the deconstructionist comics that cropped up in the 1980s and have continued to this day. It's got allusions to Kingdom Come, The Death of Captain America, Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns. Yes, the fight scenes are fun and acrobatic, the acting is pretty damn great (I especially enjoyed Paco Tolson), and the interim films are beautifully put together. But what surprised me most was how steeped in the lore of this iconography the play was, and how it never seemed to apologize for it or treat the audience like anything less than knowing fans.

In short, it's a fine time, and far more sensitively put together than I expected walking in.

On a side note, the play has one idea that I found particuarly compelling: the idea that someone who is indestructible who allow himself to be abused in order to make money. It's a rich psychological idea, and a terribly sad thing to contemplate. I, of course, just loved it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Why So Many

Take note of Martin Denton's recent blog posting, asking why the Oresteia has popped up so often recently on New York stages.

Thou Shalt Not Bore

Required reading at the Guardian's blog. Amen, brother.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Does anyone remember "LOGO?"

Isn't that what it was called? A programming language they taught us in Elementary School, about moving a Turtle around a screen and drawing lines and such.

Anyone remember that? No reason. Just wanted to say...I just had that moment where you go "Oh yes. That existed."

NYC Theatre Spaces

Great site for finding "space." What more valuable commodity is there in New York City? Check it out.

Handcart Ensemble - Alcestis

My friends at Handcart Ensemble have an interesting show going up... take a look.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day

My least favorite day to live in New York City. Essentially, the city turns into a frat house. It's joyless and chaotic, like New Year's Eve, only prejudiced.

Friday, March 16, 2007

"The League of Independent Theaters"

This is brilliant and demands everyone's attention. Take a read, comment, and link to this.

Personally, I believe in Unions, and I believe in the essential importance of Actor's Unions. I also believe that the Showcase Code in NYC was/is intended to avoid the abuse of actors who are willing to go to great lengths, for free, to be on stage.

That being said... the current system actually does far more harm that good, not only for producers (who struggle with the economics) but I would argue that it actually harms actors as well, whose own industry is making it harder for them to commit themselves to projects they believe in.

Anyhow...let's TALK about this.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Village Voice in the Blogosphere

Thanks to the Playgoer to linking to the new Blog run by the Village Voice. Neat-o.

The Guardian Asks a Question

Are Experiments in Form A Female Trait? Is Aristotle's "well-made play" a phallic concept?

Considering how many men are experimenters in form, I'd have to take issue with this entirely. But it's worth consideration.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

I'm sure George will have something to say about the relationship between gender and experimentation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

George and Martin

Martin Denton has the nytheatre i up and running again, this time with a blogroll and other fancy stuff. It's good to see him finding a use for his blog again, to support his fantastic website, http://www.nytheatre.com

Definitely go check it out.

In other important blogosphere movement, George Hunka has moved Superfluities to Blogspot. Find the new site here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Adopt This Resolution to Impeach

From Middlebury, VT. So say we all!

We the people have the power -- and the responsibility -- to remove executives who transgress not just the law, but the rule of law.

The oaths that the President and Vice President take binds them to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." The failure to do so forms a sound basis for articles of impeachment.

The President and Vice President have failed to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" in the following ways:

1. They have manipulated intelligence and misled the country to justify an immoral, unjust, and unnecessary preemptive war in Iraq.

2. They have directed the government to engage in domestic spying without warrants, in direct contravention of U.S. law.

3. They have conspired to commit the torture of prisoners, in violation of the Federal Torture Act and the Geneva Convention.

4. They have ordered the indefinite detention without legal counsel, without charges and without the opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention -- all in violation of U.S. law and the Bill of Rights.

When strong evidence exists of the most serious crimes, we must use impeachment -- or lose the ability of the legislative branch to compel the executive branch to obey the law.

George Bush has led our country to a constitutional crisis, and it is our responsibility to remove him from office.

Grassroots Movement for Impeachment

Vermont seems to be starting a grassroots movement to show public support for the impeachment of President Bush. Read about it here.

Do not expect this to become news. Unless, of course, we make it news.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Radio Silence

Hey crew ... I'll be maintaining radio silence for the next few days. I've got Jury Duty.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ironic Linking

Lucas Krech talks about Blogger's Nights, conflict of interest, his own relationship to the Theatre Blogs and how he feels about theory vs. action. Here.

Elsewhere you can read about Dying City. I didn't get a chance to check it out, of course. But others did. Look around, you'll see.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Sheila Callaghan (and Lucy Caldwell, and Stella Feehily and Abbie Spallen) for winning the 2007 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Fantastic.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Albee Gets Blogged

Perspectives on Albee's statements are being spun all around the blog-wires.

The Guardian


Rob Kozlowski

Mr. Excitement

Scott Walters

Mirror Up To Nature

Now that, my friends, should provide us with hours of entertainment.

What do I think? I think he's pretty much hit the bullseye... but I don't think it's some revolutionary challenge or surprising sentiment. In fact, I'm surprised at how much resistance that statement has found. It seems fairly obvious that writers have this problem.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ever thought about...

Buying a copy of The Death of King Arthur? I would fully support that line of thinking.

Hey, it's my blog and I'll plug if I want to.