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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, March 18, 2009

How to Write a Manifesto about the State of the American Theatre on your own Blog!

I have been, my friends, remiss in my duties. We all know that bloggery is intended for more than links and open ended questions about complicated politics and economics of which I know nothing. Nay! Instead, the blogospace is for the ranting of experts (people with computers) about how to fix the whole shebang. To reinvent the invented in a way that appears freshly fresh.

I know that many of you wonder: "Expert-Freeman...how can I create a lasting testament to the amount of time I have on my hands? What are some ways in which I can structure and sustain not only one Manifesto, but the hundreds of daily, monthly and weekly Manifestos that must be written in order to properly blog about Art?"

For you, my beautiful darlings, I have complied a list of important rules and considerations. Follow these rules, and you, too, can be a Manifestrian blogger.


1. Imagine a dollar bill. Hate that dollar bill. It is a corrupting force, that dollar bill. Use this to inspire you to change the world.

2. Theatre is an art, not a product to be sold. This can be said 105 ways. It's up to you to discover them.

3. Write a declarative sentence. For example: "The closing of a theater in Wisconsin is proof that we cannot continue along this terrible path." Now, unpack each word. Closing. Theater. Wisconsin. Path. Terrible. Add a closing paragraph about yourself.

4. Think of something else you'd rather talk about. Like your job. Or that time in the 5th Grade you had to go home and change your clothes because you had pee on them. Write this. Replace your own name with the word "Theatre." ("Theatre is not respected, it deserves to be paid more for working 40 hours a week! And what about theatre's benefits?" or "Theatre should not have to be embarrassed because [some other art or institution] cannot control its bladder! Theatre, instead, should be allowed to walk home without shame.") It's metaphorical.

5. Come up with one idea you like. Stick with it. That's the one.

6. Remember: to err is human. To err without apologizing for 15 paragraphs is a Manifesto.

7. If you have made a point before, you must wait six months before writing exactly the same thing slightly differently.

8. Theatre is dying. It has been since Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata. Keep it up!

9. You have an amazing idea. You get up and write it down in a moleskine notebook, the one you got as a birthday present. Your mind is fevered, tossing about, sure that once you share this with the world, you'll be able to help. You have loved theatre since you first got cast in a community theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie and at last you've gotten the inspired concept you knew would come if you read enough by writers from the 1960s. It's here, at last. The way to make it all work.

Good luck with that.

10. Write this down: "We must diversify, market, reduce our reliance on development, free artists, find new sources of funding, justify our existence, stop writing bad plays, turn off the TV, get to work, go green, organize." Now write it again each month, between links to articles about cats.

You're welcome.


Scott Walters said...

Should you write "what do you think, dear reader?" at the end of the post. I'm so confused.

Freeman said...

I forgot that part. I think I did.

What do you think, dear reader?

Scott Walters said...

Now I'll play my part:

I think that you are making a ridiculous attack on those of us who care enough about theatre to form our ideas into coherent sentences. It is typical of you glib NY theatre types who only care about what star is going to be cast in the next Broadway revival -- oh, and superhero movies and TV shows. If you would actually read some books, it would help.

[How's that? Sound like me?]

jengordonthomas said...

this is frakkin hi-larious and is probably my second fav post of yours. if i could figure out how to go to old posts, i'd link to the other.

Scott Walters said...

I wrote this over at Isaac's place, but I ought to do so here as well. In my opinion, what you are satirizing here are not manifestoes but jeremiads. Manifestoes are usually positive visions of the future (Marinetti and the Futurists wrote awesome manifestoes). A jeremiad, which is what I often write (although my best writing has been more manifesto-like, in my opinion), is "A literary work or speech expressing a bitter lament or a righteous prophecy of doom."

I know I am being a nerd about this.

Freeman said...

You are, but that's why I love you.

Adam Szymkowicz said...

That's good. but I'm worried about this thing you mention about theatre dying. Is that true? Is someone doing something about it?

Anonymous said...

Raw funniness. Uncorked and unhinged.

Freeman said...

Adam -

We are all doing something about it. We each help theater die, each day, in our own ways.