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, August 29, 2008

David is Looking for Wedding Reading Suggestions

Hello, a David D. Guest Post here, as I reach out to you fine people on the Internets for help.

I am looking for suggestions of secular wedding readings from poetry, prose or drama. Something beyond Sonnet 116 (and, hey, nothing wrong with that one, I just worry many of our guests will have heard it at a few too many true-minded weddings already).

Thanks in advance for any help or leads you can provide.

- David D.

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

The man said "abortion" aloud in a major speech, in front of millions, without suddenly bursting into flames, proving it can be done. That's just one of the 2 million things that speech did right. 

On a side note: McCain makes yet another play for Clinton voters with his VP pick, proving he does not have voters of his own to which he might appeal. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Theatre related post?

Well, I've posted a lot of generic thoughts about politics and a few tidbits about movies lately. So what gives, Freeman? Where are the theatre-related posts?

I've had my head down most of the summer. When is a Clock closed in May, and I proceeded to mail the script all over the place and work on my new play. My day job got busier due to a rate change (very uninteresting) and then there were a few jaunts out of town. I reviewed a show at the Fringe (which is the moral obligation of all of us it seems) and this weekend I'm off to Minnesota to see family and also catch up with the newly exported Adam and Kristen.

But, as with all cycles, I'm feeling rested and getting my groove back. Next month In the Great Expanse of Space there is nothing to see but More, More, More will have a public reading, and we'll see how it is received. It might be one of the least burdened moments of my writing career: I don't feel the weight of expectations or the desire for this play to accomplish anything. I just want it to exist and it does.

I'm wondering if that means I've wandered into a complicated trap, or if I've figured something out. Maybe there's a fine line between those two things.

Maybe I'm driving the car, maybe I'm tied up in the trunk.

Either way, more to come. And soon.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The AP versus Obama-Biden

Obama has chosen Joe Biden as his running mate.

Obama's biggest criticism is that he's inexperienced. He goes with a man who has boatloads of foreign policy experience as his VP choice. What happens? The AP calls it a "lack of confidence."

I don't know, but if there's anything we've seen from Obama, it's confidence. To me, the Biden choice shows that he understands the importance of a more robust ticket than simply that of "change." Change is inherent in Obama; foreign policy experience isn't.

If there's anything I hear from Obama's detractors (not his supporters) its that he is inspiring, has soaring rhetoric, but they're afraid his lack of experience will mean he can't close the deal on his promises. The choice of Biden should relax some of those doubts: he's been in public life for years, he understands the ins-and-outs of the Senate, he's got credentials, and he's going to make an excellent attack dog. (See his Guiliani withering performances in the debates.)

The willingness of Obama to add a voice that augments his own, as opposed to mirrors his own, is a sign of an intelligent executive.

Let's be honest: people who already like Obama are going to vote for him. Heck, even Democrats, liberals and progressives who are so-so on him are unlikely to vote for McCain. People who are legitimately on the fence, though, need to see people like Biden near Obama in order to feel more comfortable with him, especially as rhetoric against Russia heats up. If Obama has an "Appalachia problem," Biden will help there too, as a native Pennsylvanian and Senator from Delaware.

Ron Fournier is in the tank for McCain.

For example:

Obama Walks Arrogance Line
Obama Presidency a "stretch" for voters
Obama a Courageous Leader?

Of course, Fournier isn't just some reporter. He's the AP Washington Bureau Chief.

One who thinks Karl Rove should "keep up the fight."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

We are going to have a public reading of my new play In the Great Expanse of Space there is nothing to see but More, More, More next month: Wednesday September 17th.

More details as I have them. Excited about it. Keep the night free.


So apparently in various polls, McCain is pulling ahead or closer to Obama.

In conversation with a friend yesterday, I was reminded that polling is done primarily by telephone and primarily to listed numbers. Meaning landlines. Meaning those who primarily use cell phones are not polled. Which means, of course, that Obama supporters are unlikely to be polled and that the results are going to lean towards an older set.

Has anyone else heard this?

Now, obviously older voters are considered more "likely" voters anyhow. And the idea that Obama (being a man named Obama, young and black) could ever really be considered a 'frontrunner' in America is a bit of a fantasy. But with so much in his favor, and a new wave of voters coming his way, I think any panic about the polling is a bit overstated.

Maybe, just maybe, it'll be good for Obama to be seen as fighting for it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kudos to nytheatre.com

Once again to nytheatre.com for another year of posting reviews of all the shows in the Fringe Festival. As of this writing, they are only 14 shows away from reviewing every single show for yet another year.

It's something that deserves a round of applause every year. And yes, I did review a show this year. See if you can find mine!

How to Handle a Playwright (Director's Edition)

After reading Isaac posting about Horton Foote and how to handle the text; it behooves me to bemuse you by ruminating on the nature of the handling of wordplay. Or words in plays. Or a play on words. Horton Foote need not be heeded. The man wrote the screenplay for To Kill A Mockingbird. It was nothing like the book.

Here are excerpts from my upcoming tome...


You've poured over hundreds off scripts. You've read each sentence with a care that you do not give to your own lover's body. You understand the interlocking structure of each narrative. You have fed on the imagination of other artists. You are a director, and after years of intensive and careful search, you have finally found a new, wonderful, but inevitably flawed script. The writer of this script is alive, which causes you consternation. How to speak to this misanthropic bull? How to draw out the best impulses of a charlatan who stumbled upon an acceptable narrative purely by chance?

A few simple rules.


When a playwright is sitting across from you, cross-eyed and drooling, grateful to be even spoken to by a competent professional who actually uses three-ring binders, it is important to frame the discussion in advantageous terms. Do not refer to the play. Refer to the "text." The playwright should not be given the false assumption that they have created anything more than the words. Words are nothing. They are just the bones on which to hang the glorious meat of blocking and sound effects. Worse, they have given the actors reason to speak. For this, if nothing else, they should be struck with copies of The Empty Space.

Someday, at last, we will be able to call them "textwrights."


The playwright should be often reminded, sometimes with subliminal suggestions placed in iPods, that the theater is 'collaborative.' By spending hours alone in front of a computer, or with a legal pad, or at a bar with a fucking quill, they have missed the point entirely. A play is not a "text" but a serious of often circular conversations from a variety of points of view. The text must be passed through several hands, given careful consideration, a fresh look, an outside perspective. The playwright hands over this warm, fresh "text." It is best served cold, like vichyssoise.

This does not apply when you, as the director, stand in front of the room and speak on the meaning of the play; and the design; and the precious, beautiful, handcrafted, organic blocking. That is law, you whores! Law. You actually went to school for this! After you're done filling their heads with wisdom, the animals can collaborate in the confines of their cages!


Really, you could have chosen any play. They should be washing your car just for giving them notes. If you wanted five playwrights to form a couch with their bodies so you could watch a DVD, goddamn it, they'd better get to it. Otherwise, how are they ever going to know how to fix the second act?


At times, a well-meaning textwriter may show up, hair mussed, clothes on backwards, and want to speak to you about the 'merits' of what they have bothered to cook up from leftovers. To make this simper heartworm leave your sight, compliment some small part of what he or she has written. Do not speak well of the script in general, because it will make this lucky jerk feel entitled. Acceptable phrases include:

"I like this speech. It really tells us what the character wants."
"This whole section really works."
"At least it ends on a high note."
"One thing I like about your writing is that you know where to put an Act Break."
"I noticed how they repeat themselves. Good work."


Do not ask the playwright what the line means. He or she will babble forth some self-justifying nonsense you already don't agree with.

Do not ask a rhetorical question. You will receive a blank stare.

Do not firmly say that the line must be changed for the integrity of the piece. Integrity is a word like "unquestionably;" it means its exact opposite immediately.

Do not ask the playwright to think up something new if they'd like or to maybe reconsider the line. Playwrights are lazy and some don't even have both legs. They will forget and then where will you be? Nowhere, that's where.

Do not challenge the playwright's understanding of his or her own work. That is like challenging an orange to juice itself.

Do...change it yourself. Simple. The playwright not notice unless you call attention to it. Playwrights are all high, drunk or blind.


I am grateful that listened to me. God knows I don't deserve it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Looking for an apartment on September 1st in Queens?

This blog's friend Matthew Trumbull is seeking a roommate. $900 a month, huge room, in Astoria near the 30th Ave N Train and Steinway. September 1st. E-mail me if you want more info. mattfr - at - gmail.com

Clone Wars


I saw it.

I look forward to seeing it on TV. Which is clearly where it was meant to be.

I liked the art direction. I liked a couple of moments. I think the love story between Anakin and Padme has so far worked far better in the original Clone Wars cartoon and its small reference in this film. I like the idea of the clones as individual characters with different jobs a whole lot. I liked the vertical battle. I think that it's possible they could tease out a good serialized cartoon episodic TV show out of it.

There are, though, some pretty big problems with the plot they chose to hang the fight scenes on (Jabba the Hutt's son?). And there's no "new" information here. It's just "the further adventures of characters whose fate you already know and have known since 1983." It's also animated in a way that would be fine on TV, but with things like Wall-E out there, it looks a little inexpensive and rushed. Plus the lightsaber duels, once the highlight of the movies, seem really shoehorned in here and they never seem to have much at stake.


The movie is an ad for the series. Hopefully, the series will create an identity all its own.

Back from Maine

I would like to tell the Comtois family that I love Blueberry Beer now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gone Fishin'

It's August. I've been pretty inconsistently blogging. Inconsistently doing most things.

Pam and I saw Bob Dylan in Prospect Park this week. We had lawn seats, but a friend of hers from work just happens to be a famous Dylan archivist, and he walked up to us online and handed us center right reserve seats. One of the luckiest things that ever happened to me. Hell yes it was great.

For the next few days, I'll be camping in Maine. I will be seeing The Clone Wars when I get back.

Until then...go! Fight! WIN!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Congratulations to Tony Simotes!

For this review!

Tony directed me in Richard III (along with Matt Trumbull and David DelGrosso, in the Murderers Scene) and The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui when I was at Emerson. Wonderful to see his direction (and all of Shakespeare & Company!) receiving such high praise.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I would assume that the RSC's Hamlet, featuring too rather large stars, has benefited in every way from the publicity. I'm sure the fans are also a nuisance. But is this ban too much, or a necessary evil?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Did I mention...?

That I DID see the X-Files movie?

It was as if someone from 1996 sent a movie to the future.

Friday, August 01, 2008

What once mattered...

I would like to list a few things you actually might have cared about five minutes ago.

1. Fred Thompson
2. The Sex and the City Movie
3. Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama
4. Valerie Plame
5. The Final Episode of the Sopranos

Now...what do you give a shit about right now?

Take a breath.

Bluebeard, Privacy and Politics

I've been working, for a year or so now, on a play adaptation of Bluebeard. It works in fits and starts, and I'm buckling down lately to try to complete a second draft. The first was, shall we say, unsuccessful.

For those unfamiliar with the basics of the story:

A young woman is married to Bluebeard. He is mysterious, ugly, wealthy. Upon her arrival, she is told that he will be going away on business. He gives her the run of the house, and tells her that she may go anywhere except beyond a single room in his house. This room is locked behind a red door. Then, he gives her the key to the room, and leaves. Her curiosity gets the better of her, and she opens it, to find the murdered bodies of his seven previous wives.

There are varied versions of how she escapes.

The images in the story are dreamlike and potent. It's cautionary. Or a story to scare children. Or a lesson about marriage. Or a way to discuss sexuality and violence. Or all of the above.

Privacy is clearly an important question here. Certainly, she discovers that he is a monster. As, its implied, they all did. But what was the transgression of the first wife? Should we think of curiosity as a transgression? Is he testing? Or simply psychopathic? But, if you step back from the literal translation of the events, you find simply that he asked her not to look in one place, and it is there that she discovers the very worst of him. Isn't that her right? Or is it a way to say: "Leave certain things alone?"

Privacy, in the age of social networking, blogging, and search engines that maintain profiles of your e-mail content and search habits, has come under serious attack. Even using blogspot (a Google product) as I am now, I also use gmail. Which means that, essentially, Google has easy access to all sort of information about me. That which I share publicly, and that which I don't. Then there's myspace, Facebook. We increasingly surrender our privacy, and live in a world where we expect to be monitored. And we are. And we monitor each other.

It bleeds into our own behavior, and into the behavior of our public servants. Think about Barack Obama and John McCain. As they are increasingly in the public eye, they are doing so in an era where public access to them is unprecedented. The result is they become less and less human, more stage managed. Where is the place for a politician to publicly muse? To ask a rhetorical question? To speak extemporaneously? It would be foolhardy for them to do so, of course. They would be crucified by our increasing propensity for and acceptance of 24 hour a day coverage.

It seems worthy to ask: how precious is your privacy? Are we too quick to surrender it? And if we cannot remove the technology that permits the 24 hour a day monitoring of citizens of all types...do we not have an obligation to act with our own privacy in mind? And with a careful eye on the privacy of others? Just because an employer can find out all about you with a single keystroke, does not make it ethical behavior. Do we need new laws to control this type of thing? Or is it, simply, too late in the game?

So...how is your relationship with privacy these days? I'd love to hear some thoughts on that issue, as its become a bit of a theme in the new play.