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, October 29, 2009


This young woman (who I spent a lot of personal time with) is one of the people that runs this space. You should check that space out, come to events, and generally fall in love with it. Since it is so very cool.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

On the other hand...Box Office Numbers

I know that much of the theater going on in NYC is under a 501(c)3 banner, and that mission-driven grants and fund-raising are a bigger part of our world than are ticket sales... but ticket sales do matter. Obviously, Off-Off or Indie Theater is hard to keep track of that way: there are too many companies to expect buy-in, the record keeping can be spotty, a lot depends on the venue. Still, wouldn't it be interesting to see a website much like Box Office Mojo for Indie Theatre?

Here's why it would useful.

First of all, there's a horse racing element to this type of thing that draws interest. Period. Half of the interest people have in politics is about numbers. Same is true of baseball. People like statistics, they like to see records broken, they like to know when something is successful and why.

Beyond this, it's educational. How many seats are actually sold to any given production? How many of those seats were given away? How many Equity cards were used to get in the door? How profitable are most shows? How much did they cost? How much did the producers make?

Part of this just helps the community discuss what is fair price. They can also get a better sense of which companies are actually getting butts in the seats. It also can be an indicator of price as a part of the decision making process for theatergoers. Or, better yet, an indicator of how people are making decisions at all. If most of the highest grossing Off-Off Broadway shows are in one venue, for example, that becomes something to think about. Does a venue have fans? Does a particular playwright sell tickets? A particular actor?

It might also be (and is likely to be) sobering. I'd count that as a good. Many companies complain that their costs outpace their actual take at the door. I'd like to see that. I'd love to wake people up to the actual cost of doing business in the more intimate venues in town, and see if that sparks some discussion in the wider community.

I think really the only way to make it work feasibly is to ask venues to report their numbers, and have those venues get agreements from individual shows that are being run to report those numbers as well. Then, a website could publish the top 10 of the weekend on a Monday. Perhaps you could say the name of the show, the reported cost of the production, number of tickets sold and at what price, number of performances, the gross box office up to the current date, etc. Instead of starting with all the venues in town (hard to pull off) you'd just pick a few well-trod stages like The Access, The Brick, Under St. Marks, The Kraine, The Metropolitan Playhouse, etc. Then theaters that want to report can self-select.

So...I offer this idea up. What do you think?

Food for "The Exposition"

Here's a quote from an interview between Mark Strand and Wallace Shawn that is inspiring me as I work on "The Exposition."

MS: "Well, I think what happens at certain points in my poems is that language takes over, and I follow it. It just sounds right. And I trust the implication of what I'm saying, even though I'm not absolutely sure what it is I'm saying. I'm just willing to let it be. Because if I were absolutely sure of whatever it was that I said in my poems, if I were sure, and could verify it and check it out and feel, yes, I've said what I intended, I don't think the poem would be smarter than I am. I think the poem would be, finally, a reducible item. It's this 'beyondness,' that depth that you reach in a poem, that keeps you returning to it. And you wonder- the poem seemed so natural at the beginning - how did you get where you ended up? What happened?"

Friday, October 23, 2009

There are lots and lots

...of cool pieces of writing about criticism right now.

Also, Theatre Ideas is back.

Gus at Flux is writing about core values.

And when's the last time you read a little of George Hunka's blog?

99seats has lots to say and you should poke around over there too. Here's a good place to start.

As for me, I'm in a creative and confusing time. My last production was the short run of Glee Club at the Antidepressant Festival, which was extremely popular with those who saw it. Right now, we're looking at bringing it back soon (you'll be the first to know!) with perhaps another couple of short plays or another one-act to make it a full evening. I've written a few shorts that I liked, called That Old Soft Shoe, Snaking Charming and The Dress You Should Wear. I'm working on second drafts of them, and figuring out if any of them work alongside Glee Club.

I finished my latest draft of Bluebeard (recommended to you by Gus here) several months ago, and I've been sending it out all over the place. We'll see where it lands.

Also, I've started rehearsals for The Exposition, which is being developed collaboratively with Michael Gardner and the great cast over at the Brick. The writing I've been doing for this is fun, jagged, associative, patchwork.

The fact is, my work is chaotic right now and I feel chaotic. Glee Club and The Exposition come from entirely different places. Bluebeard, too. As are the new plays, which are essentially political or social satires. I'm not working from a unified theory, not even within the individual pieces. I'm writing a lot and from lots of different impulses. It makes it impossible to talk about effectively for me, which is why I'm not writing much about it on the blog.

It also means that I'm in a phase where the trappings of production, the role of the critic and the idea of expressing my values as an artist are just not on my mind. I'm trying to work, and I find a lot of the rest, frankly, distracting. I'm sure I'll eventually throw my hat into some debate here or there.

But for now, I'm just writing.

That's the part I like best. Making stuff up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I keep hearing about the threat of filibuster. When's the last time a political party actually DID filibuster. I want to see them do it. I want to see them say "We dislike the popular public option so much, we'll stand here and read from the phone book and keep a majority from voting it in."

That's political theater I can believe in.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Words with new (no) meanings

Apparently the word "unlucky" can be applied to Sienna Miller.

Because she works in a coal mine and stuff. She can't find any clean drinking water. Her cattle died of some nameless disease. She lost everything in a fire.


"Ms. Miller has also been a little unlucky"- New York Times

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Exposition begins

Rehearsals began on Sunday for a new project called "The Exposition." Certainly interesting so far. The cast consists of Moira Stone, Anna Kull, Sean Kenin, Alexis Sottile, Jennifer Gordon Thomas, Kina Bermudez and Maggie Cino. Directed by Michael Gardner.

Our goal was to essentially start with zero. No theme, nor preplanned direction. A series of intuitions about what we do and don't want to see. We spent the day with some improvisations, some drinks, some conversation. I'm trying to force myself not to be too outcomes based and not to look at each part of the project as a method to find a "successful" outcome. I'm a bit tired of being overly concerned with what "works." I think I want to uncover what I'm up to.

It was a roomful of smart people who have a tremendous talent and know how to build an improvisation. Give them a few elements, and they'll tease out a perfect metaphor and find a functioning narrative that they can agree upon. They also know when to shake it up, change things that are falling into a rut, move the narrative around, explore.

My interest here is how we can challenge our impulse to fall into the metaphor and narrative construct without degenerating or turning into cliche "experimental" theater.

We'll see. Either way, a fine day. Onwards and upwards.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Want to get into voiceovers?

I haven't done this in a while, but allow me to plug Shut Up and Talk! If you're an actor and you're looking to have a voice over demo reel made, or take classes, this is a great company. It's run by actors who know the business (who I know very well personally) and they understand the value of your time and money.

Give them a shot.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I apologize

My blogging lately has been weak. Light. Harmless. Linking to articles. Substantially useless. Soon, David Cote will come to beat me senseless.

I apologize.

Here is how I apologize:

1. I would like to apologize to all the people I've hurt with my lack of blogging. You know you deserve this sort of treatment, but when it actually happens you act all surprised.

2. My apologies to the ladies. To be specific: all the ladies.

3. If this were an actual apology I would be crying uncontrollably, and probably saying it into a mirror. The question is: am I?

4. Blogging, while it once gave me pleasure, has started to really hurt my back. I used to be able to blog all day. Or at least for several hours at a shot. Now I can only blog when I feel well-rested, or if there's no football game on. I apologize for becoming older.

5. To blog is to wear the fashion of guile. I am trying on a new hat: a guileless hat.

6. I apologize to you for what I am, and what I am not, and how those things intersect publicly.

7. I apologize to the Internet and the World Wide Web and whatever the difference is.

8. I apologize to Skidmore College, in whose computer lab I first saw an actual webpage (Yahoo!) and didn't really understand what the fuck it was. I still sort of don't. It's like TV that doesn't move and that I can type on. In that way, it's like a series of shorter unedited books? Basically this is bullshit, isn't it?

9. For the things I am about to do to an audience, I would like to apologize in advance. It was never my intention.

10. Blogging is like Twitter only with complete thoughts. I no longer have complete thoughts. Not even this one.

11. My humblest apologies to Leonard Jacobs, who I have disappointed. I know I have.

12. To the purveyors of the First Folio Shakespeare Acting Method, I do not apologize. In fact, stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

13. This blog apologizes on behalf of Matthew Freeman, who is a Spambot from Russia. You are now on the list. Giver to her Pleasure with the Macho You can B3come.

14. In the future, everyone will stop blogging for 15 minutes.

15. I would like to apologize to the staff. They really never signed up for all this. They, once again, have shown patience and kindness to me in a situation that was not of their making. For this, I pay them handsomely.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

That would be like Al Gore winning it!

Oh wait!

I guess the GOP will soon come out against the Nobel Peace Prize, just like they are now anti-Olympics, anti-health care and pro-torture.

Good morning everyone.

Update: I had a few friends say "This is premature! What had he done besides win an election?"

My response:

I think it could argued it's premature, but I think living in the US bubble we have this weird sense that the world ends with domestic politics and whether or not you can get 60 votes or something.

Let's see...

He ended the Cold War/Reagan era "missile shield" that put us in a permanent state of antagonism with Russia. They are, it appears, no longer a country with which we're at war.

His administration instigated the first direct diplomatic talks with Iran in 30 years and got actual results.

One of his first acts in office was to declare that he will close Guantanamo Bay. I know it's harder than it looks to close (especially when the House Democrats vote against bringing the prisoners to US prisons) but he's absolutely admitting and trying to correct American failings there.

He used the word "torture" in front of the United Nations and not "enhanced interrogations" or whatever the fuck they're calling it now. I mean, NPR doesn't even use the word torture because its become so politically charged by the right. He's made us honest again over there.

He actually chaired the UN Security Council disarmament summit, which is a huge signal from the US after 8 years of Bush. He took leadership on non-proliferation.

He gave a speech to the Arab world that admitted American failings but also stood firm on women's rights and actually made references to the Koran that were not humiliating.

That's a few things anyway.

In short: he's changed America's posture to the world. Is he perfect? No. But I mean...c'mon. This idea that he's done nothing is totally bullshit.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Exposition

Even though we're in a mad dash to organize it, and get it cast, I figure it's safe to say that the weekend before Thanksgiving, something with my name on it will be appearing at the Brick Theater. I'll be collaborating for the first time with Michael Gardner on a project that is, shall we say, a bit undefined. By design. If that's something a project can be.

It's currently titled The Exposition. We'll see if that's what it's called by the end.

I'll keep readers abreast of the situation as we work our way through it, commit to a cast, and figure it all out. I'll also tell you how you can see it, should you choose to do so. There will be (it appears) only three performances. So start refreshing your browser now at Ovationtix.

More soon.

This reads like an Onion article

Obama = Polanski!

Monday, October 05, 2009