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, April 30, 2009


For the BRICK!

You should go! If you don't, you fail! FAIL!


Dance around in your barrel
May 2, 8pm to Midnight

A Costume Party where the
Hoity-Toity meets the Down 'n' Doity!
At Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO.
A Fundraiser for The Brick!

Limited time ticket discounts below!

from Global Brewer's Guild and
2-For-1 Drink Specials from 8-10p.m.!!
Great Raffles!! - One free raffle ticket with every admission!

Hosted by Richard P. Scatman and
Graspy McTakeItAll (Ten Directions)

Dance to JC Hopkins and his Hopkins Hawkes Quartet featuring Queen Esther!

Rock out to Supermajor!

Then DJ blackkorea keeps you dancing in the afterparty until 3:30am!

Special attractions including:
Fortunes Told by Pelligrina Leoni and Madama Amore!
Lunatic Fireside Chats with Boxcar F.D.R.!
The Hobo Kissing Booth!
Fish-for-a-Bum Competitions!
A Hobo-Flapper Smackdown!
And more!

Come visit Hobohemia, where the Flappers get goofy with the bums! Doll up and party down! Or dress down and party up! We want to see your best Little Tramp fashion and It Girl-Chic! We're Equal Opportunity! Hoboettes and Dapper Dans will not be turned away!

Raffle prizes galore! Tickets from Playwrights Horizons, an actual Depression-Era Cast Iron Skillet from The Brooklyn Kitchen, a Surprise-For-Two from Surprise Industries, silkscreen prints from Desert Island Comic Book Store, gift certificates from The Drama Book Shop, Hudson River Massage, Solo Italian Restaurant, Music Lessons from Sarah Engelke, Yoga Instruction from Jenny Schmermund and more! Not to mention the chance to walk away with half the clams in the raffle monies pot!

May 2, 8pm to Midnight
at Galapagos Art Space
Only $40!
$30 if you come in costume!
Early Bird Special!: $20 for the next 7 days! (Enter the discount code "EARLYBIRD")


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Glee Club's Press Release Materials

For your viewing pleasure:

Blue Coyote Theater Group Presents

by Matthew Freeman
directed by Kyle Ancowitz
as a part of
The Antidepressant Festival
June 5th - July 4th at The Brick

The eight misfit members of Romeo, Vermont’s glee club are on the verge of meltdown after their soloist makes the disastrous decision to save his own life. Will they be ready in time for the big recital? And isn’t music the most important thing? GLEE CLUB is a comedy about singing. Singing makes people happy.

GLEE CLUB, written by Matthew Freeman. Music by Stephen Speights. Lyrics by Matthew Freeman and Stephen Speights. Directed by Kyle Ancowitz. Featuring: Bruce Barton*, Robert Buckwalter, David DelGrosso*, Michael Colby Jones*, Gary Shrader, Stephen Speights, Tom Staggs*,and Matthew Trumbull*. Produced by Blue Coyote Theater Group and The Brick Theater.

GLEE CLUB will play as part of The Antidepressant Festival, June 5-July 4 at The Brick (575 Metropolitan Avenue between Union and Lorimer). Performances: Sunday June 7th, at 2pm, Friday June 12th at 10pm, Saturday June 20th at 5pm and Sunday June 28th at 3pm. Tickets ($15) are available through www.theatermania.com (212-352-3101 or toll-free: 1-866-811-4111).

Only a vessel

Scott Walters, on his blog, shares with us his recent lecture to his students here.

In it, I find this passage:

So the theatre is a process of invocation: “To call upon a god or goddess to ask for their presence.” And also invocation is a form of possession which I’m using in its neutral form to mean "a state in which an individual's normal personality is replaced by another.” Plato writes about poetic inspiration in his dialogue Ion: "God takes away the mind of these men and uses them as his ministers...in order that we who hear them may know that it is not they who utter these words of great price when they are out of their wits, but that it is God himself.”

Wearing a mask, the actor as an individual is erased and replaced by that of another. This is important to understand, because it is an orientation that informs all of the arts that we have studied this semester (Greeks to Spanish Golden Age) And it is the orientation that is most difficult for us, as modern artists, to get our heads around. The play, the performance, is not about the artist themselves. The artist is a conduit through which a story is spoken. In other words, it’s not about you.Whether you are an actor or a playwright, it’s not about you. You are a conduit, a vessel through which the gods speak. Your job is to make yourself transparent, to offer no resistance to this possession.
I know there are plenty of people that are going to find this inspirational. It's intended to be, and in parts, I think it's a striking vision of theatrical history. If you read my blog often, you know that I don't usually write much in the way of grand sentiment about what I believe about theater. I'm not someone who believes, most of the time, in there being one way to look at the arts, or one way to make them happen.

That being said, what I find in this passage a scolding idealism: a sense that theater is beyond the artist, more powerful than an individual's voice, and that an ego-less artist becomes a conduit to gods. The argument is a seductive one because it offers the reward of a transcendent experience. What artist wouldn't love to find himself or herself speaking in this mythical, mystical way; in a way that is bigger than his or her personal experience can express?

I have, to say the least, mixed feelings about this. I'm certainly not a person who believes entirely in the supremacy of the rational: I'm a lover of the spiritual and the unknowable. I don't though, like the idea of illusion as practical guide. To discount the importance of the individual and replace it with the importance of submission to a higher purpose seems a bit more like Abraham and Isaac than makes me comfortable.

What I read above is a veiled attempt to corral the ego of creative people. When I read about God "taking away the mind of these men and using them as his ministers" I can't help but wonder why we, in the modern era, would prefer mindlessness to active thought.

This isn't to say that there haven't been moments that I've seen on stage that didn't feel inspired by something greater than the sum of its parts. We've all felt, I would imagine, something that seemed otherworldly. I've found, though, that 9 times out of 10, those moments are the product of equal parts craft and inspiration. Craft, hard work and knowledge are not replaced by inspiration: they are the tools by which inspirations are communicated.

When reducing the talk to its basic message, Walters states: it's not about you. He implies that all around an artist are important things. The culture, the Gods, the society at large, history. The artist is, on this list, not present. In Walters' view of how artists should be (i.e. humble vessels) he leaves them at the mercy of greater forces. They are choice-less, inactive, voiceless, and somehow, through this process, become divine. In this vision of theatre, that is their best state and true purpose: to be spoken through... not to speak for themselves.

I'm sure some of this is his reaction to the worst excesses of ego. We have all seen theater that is self-indulgent, inaccessible, poorly constructed, or off-putting. I don't believe, though, that the cure for the occasionally incompetent artist is to prescribe, like medicine, emptiness to all artists. Here, a collective's sense that it is more important than the individual, the 'Collective Ego' maybe, is perfectly justified. The Gods, and the society that they watch over, must be served and spoken for by the lucky few ministers open enough to be chosen.

I believe in the importance of the individual human voice, seen and heard as unique, in the face of great institutions, religions and communities. If an artist believes in something divine, then he or she should speak with and for that. If they imagine themselves reaching out into the ether to pluck strange poems, then let them. But I hope that this process will always lead them back to something true in themselves. We have plenty of voices for God, plenty of voices for Culture. What we need is the voice of one person, even at its most irrational and seemingly useless.

Walters' lecture tells us that we are not enough: that one person who assumes that his or her own voice is important is committing the sin of pride. His message is that to speak for yourself, to speak about your own experience, to reach inside yourself and find something that is only yours is folly. Worse, it's unwanted. This is a massively distrustful statement. He doesn't trust human beings to know what to say. He asks us to outsource our voices.

Human beings are flawed. We fail. We inadequately express ourselves. We have limits. We have, though, in my estimation, proved no better or worse than anything 'divine' at creating beauty and truth. At our best, we show our generosity when we share our secret, wicked, monstrous and gorgeous selves. Our best work is created when we, as individuals, have a conversation with our own experience, with our beliefs, and share that conversation with others. We're not vessels for voices beyond our control, we're giving the idea of singularity credence. Artists are, at their best, evidence that humans, all by themselves, are whole and sublime. I don't hold much faith in the idea that it's best for artists to 'not exist' in their work. Instead, we should exist as fully and uniquely as we are able.

There are many roadblocks to creating good work. Creativity is mysterious. It can feel like it comes from outside of us. It can also feel like the product of hours and hours of labor. Maybe somewhere between the two is what's true. But I would never go so far as to believe that it is human beings themselves, something inherent about self-expression, that is the problem.

Is all art 'about you?' Perhaps it's not solely 'about you.' But it also is about you. About one human being expressing himself or herself, as fully as possible. That's the theater I want to see, the theater I want to make, and the theater that I would encourage any student, peer or even hobbyist to strive towards.

That's why the study of literature and art is called often called The Humanities. We have been godless and we have been faithful. We have believed in Zeus and we have believed in Jesus and we have believed in the free market. Behind it all, it's always been us. Just us.

And we're enough.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter switches parties!

Huge! HUGE! Hooray!

Glad to know that the Republican Party can still find new and exciting ways to implode.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Glee Club Promo # 2

Blogging Lightly

What can I say? It's warm out, I'm working on getting GLEE CLUB up and running, working a full time job (that's Assistant Director Freeman to you!) and all that fun stuff. Also, lately, I've had a few thought here and there about theater, but mostly haven't felt compelled to write about them. That, like all things, will likely change down the road.

You can rely on getting Glee Club info here in the short term, some linking, stuff like that. I'm not gone. Just got my head elsewhere. I still love each and every person that reads this blog as if you were my own family. If you were all physically in front of me, I'd hug you.

Glee Club tickets now online

Tickets for GLEE CLUB are now available.

Our dates and times are all over the place, so take note and make your plans now.

Performance dates:

Sun Jun 7 @ 2pm
Fri Jun 12 @ 10pm
Sat Jun 20 @ 5pm
Sun Jun 28 @ 3pm

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One of the scariest things you'll ever read

We tortured prisoners, and this man's argument is...we were good at it?

Marc A. Theissen condones, promotes and defends torture. He is "a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, served in senior positions in the Pentagon and the White House from 2001 to 2009, most recently as chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush."

This man was and is a major speaker for the political establishment. And no, I don't qualify that as "for the past 8 years." The political establishment is what it is. Even with a new administration, we need to see justice done. We have no 'values' that are being expressed right now.

These men are admitting and defending publicly the committing of war crimes. These are crimes against humanity, and that's not hyperbole. We need to put people in jail for this. We put people in jail for petty theft and selling pot and not paying their taxes.

Who are we?

Monday, April 20, 2009


wins the Pulitzer Prize.

Rob Kozlowski says that makes it official: Chicago is better than New York.


Newspapers as non-profits

As a group that, by and large, operates in the world of 501(c)3, what dear readers, do you think about the concept of newspapers being transformed into nonprofits?

It makes a certain amount of sense, and it would save them from being plundered by private interests. It would, though, take them out of the endorsements business.

How long has...

Nora Ephron been the posterwoman for shallowness? Why am I just getting this memo?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pencil this in

Mirror Horror with Trinie Dalton. Hosted by Phantasmaphile. Saturday April 25th at 7pm at Observatory in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

I'll be there. You should be there too. It's going to be supercool.

Dear Teabaggers


That is my entire political commentary for this foolishness.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama with Dog

Is this news? Hell no. But I like the picture, so I'm posting it.

Looks like

Al Franken might actually be a Senator.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Playwright interviews Playwright

Had a fun interview with Adam Szymkowicz on Saturday afternoon for the nytheatrecast. Should go live on Wednesday. We discussed his upcoming play Pretty Theft with Flux Ensemble and the rambling, lively chat focused on the idea of theft for playwrights: influence, literary allusions, sampling etc.

I'll post a link when I have one.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Edward Skyler, Deputy Mayor...

...loves Star Wars, and is therefore qualified at age 35 to practically run New York City.

The point I've been making for years is laid out here in plain English.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tiny Vampire Cowboy!

Congratulations to Qui and Abby! May the Son of Nguyen fulfill the great Prophecy!

Glee Club

GLEE CLUB is a play about singing. It will be a part of the Antidepressant Festival at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn,


Sun Jun 7 2pm – 3pm
Fri Jun 12 10pm – 11pm
Sat Jun 20 5pm – 6pm
Sun Jun 28 3pm – 4pm

The performance times are all over the place, so make note. When tickets are online, and more details are available, you'll have them, dear readers and friends.


David Brooks new op-ed in the NY Times has one of my pet peeves embedded inside.

"...Evolution is always about competition, but for humans, as Darwin speculated, competition among groups has turned us into pretty cooperative, empathetic and altruistic creatures — at least within our families, groups and sometimes nations."

Evolution is not about competition, and it's that very misconception that has caused countless debates about evolution to go absolutely haywire. Evolution is a matter of adaptation. I'm not a scientific genius, but I think that's a key distinction. The word competition implies that a form of life that has superior strength will win out over something that is less strong. It's an inherently capitalist view of biology, and its a view that has infected some of the worst thinking humankind has committed to its institutions.

Evolution, according to what I understand, rewards not strength, but usefulness. It's a matter of what works. The question isn't what makes your species simply durable, but what is a functional adaptation based on your environment. Evolution is systemic trial and error, and the idea that "what survives is stronger than what doesn't" applies a uniquely human, particularly ugly morality to what is essentially just a process of figuring out "wings" or "no wings;" "long nose" or "short nose;" "large leaves" or "light leaves."

That is all.

Monday, April 06, 2009

This weekend

I'll be interviewing Adam Szymkowicz for a nytheatre.com podcast. Looking forward to it. I'm sure it'll be fun. Adam's got a show coming up. Pretty Theft. Tickets can be purchased here.

We will talk about that.

Is there a question, dear readers, you'd like to hear me ask this man? What evidence should I confront him with?

Friday, April 03, 2009


Hey there!

Because I, personally, am not a 501(c)3, I cannot solicit donations on my own behalf. But, if you're looking to support my work, or just generally like me as a person, or just read the blog regularly... why don't you buy a book or two?

When Is A Clock can be purchased on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, at the Drama Book Shop, or directly through Samuel French.

The Death of King Arthur can be purchased through Playscripts.com.

If you're inclined to write an Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com review of When is a Clock, I certainly encourage you to do so.

And...if you're in an area of the country with a drama book store you frequent, or a university bookstore, why don't you ask for a copy of When is a Clock?


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Rebeck on plot

Via Via

Theresa Rebeck mounts a defense in the LA Times of plot and structure. Or, it seems, storytelling. There is a loose use, in her piece, of the terms plot, structure and story, but I think I'll focus on structure. As it seems to me that a plot (two guys want to go see a baseball game) isn't really an issue. The issue here is whether or not a hostility towards structure is a good thing.

To quote:

"I seem to be constantly confronted by theater professionals who are more or less annoyed by the prospect of structure. One time I was at a wedding reception, for crying out loud, and I got seated at a table with a really famous genius of the contemporary American theater who had directed a play I admired. He had deconstructed a well-known play but the essence of the original story was still there, and the artistry and strangeness of his interpretation was beautifully balanced within the original tale. When I told him so, he went into a drunken rage. "All that structure, all that story," he growled, pouring himself more wine. "What a nightmare."

"I love structure," I confessed. "I think it's beautiful."

"Yeah, the audience loved it too," he sneered.

OK, I condensed that conversation; there was actually more yelling and drinking involved. But the essence of the exchange is accurate: He was a great artist who looked down on structure and managed to admit that he looked down on the audience too."

With this story, Rebeck is making the point that makes me wince. Which isn't to say I know exactly how I feel about it or I'm sure she's wrong. She is equating a frustration with structure and a dismissal of the audience.

That can be true. It can also be a product of trying to give theatrical audiences something they can't find elsewhere. If you want perfect structure, you don't have to look far: it's on every TV screen, and in every film. Films that eschew traditional structure are praised simply for doing so, it being so uncommon.

On stage, the only limits imposed on us are our own. We aren't slaves to a 44 minute episode plus commerical interruptions, or a one hour and forty five minute screen time to maximize showings. So structure on stage is less a necessity of the market. It's a tool.

How useful is that tool? Most of the time...very. And it's also used prominently. I have a hard time thinking of a recent play that doesn't have some version of a two-act or three-act structure embedded somewhere in its DNA. In fact, Rebeck seems to be mounting a defense for the norm.

It seems more complex and challenging to create something successful for the stage and entirely opposes or breaks down the dramatic structure that seems to somehow be a part of "how plays work." Perhaps Expositon - Rising Action - Climax - Fall Action and Denouement are the Golden Mean of drama; that they spring forth from something more fundamental about how human being perceive and accept storytelling. Dramatic structure isn't something that comes from academia. It seems like it was discovered by an unofficial scientific method, proven on stages again and again.

That's why it behooves most playwrights to attempt to subvert or reject it or try to replace it. Because it's there, and we feel it, and we're reminded of it by people like Rebeck, and professors, and Sophocles. I'd guess that most writers feel, deep in their gut, an urge to plainly deny that their work must fall into these parameters or automatically be judged unsuccessful, messy, or less beautiful.

I love messiness. I'm not, though, dedicated to writing plays that fail to work because I've tried to resist structure. That's the dilemma I feel as I write. That tension is a good and healthy one. It's not a need to reject the audience...it's a desire to give them, and myself, something else. Something they can't find elsewhere.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beyond Here Lies Nothin'

If the single that's been released is any indication, Together Through Life will be yet another right hook in a stream of pugnacious Dylan albums.