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, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Webcast Thing

Hey everyone -

I'm the Senior Writer / Assistant Producer on the webcast from New Year's Eve at Times Square this year. Yes, very weird. I'm posting a stream of the live feed here, mostly so my Mom can find it. But, of course, check it out. http://timessquarenyc.org/

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blogroll addition

The essential writings of downtown darling Trav SD are now easily accessible in the blogroll.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thanks to the Guardian's "Noises Off"...

...for naming On Theatre and Politics one of the top 5 theatre blogs of 2009. Chris Wilkinson, we love you right back.

See what I did there? That's the royal "We." Because the Guardian is from...

...explaining it really kills the whole joke, huh?

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Zion! Here me! We are still here!"

Yes, I am sort of quoting Matrix Reloaded.

It is still 2009. Can you believe it?

I've got my head in the sand working on this (I will be posting a stream of it in this space for those who like to enjoy New Year's Eve with a bottle of something and a computer screen).

I have mulled a top 10 of the decade list or a top 10 of 2009 list and I am, frankly, flummoxed. I have no idea how one goes about making assessments like those. I mean, the last Star Wars movie came out this decade, and no one even brings that shit up because they decided they were annoyed by the whole enterprise. Screw that attitude - that's significant to my life. So what are you going to do? Assume your own taste is universal? That would be crazy talk.

Anyway... I will probably write a bit of a personal recap of 2009 (first Samuel French publication by yours truly this year!) and what have you. Until I get around to that, I will say that I hope everyone has been enjoying December with its various ways to celebrate. And I'll say I'm excited that my brother Danny got a new job. And that my Mom and Stepfather came to visit - twas a fine time.

And I hope my Dad likes the Blu-Ray Player.

Because my Dad, who is a tremendous guy in most ways, has a big flat screen 1080p TV and friggin' rabbit ears on it.

It's a crime. That's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

nytheatre.com's Most Popular Podcasts in 2009

Nytheatre.com has announced the most downloaded nytheatrecasts of 2009. My interview with Adam Szymkowicz tops the list, and my interview with James Comtois comes in at number five.

Not a bad bit of interviewin'.
1. Playwrights In Conversation: Matt Freeman and Adam Szymkowicz (#282)
2. Metropolitan Playhouse Spring Season (#276) (features Alex Roe)
3. Balancing Acts--Surviving and Thriving in Theater (#278) (features Robin Rothstein, Melanie Armer, Craig Pospisil, and David Hilder)
4. Plays and Playwrights 2009: Author Roundtable (#287) (features Colette Freedman and Nick Mwaluko)
5. Playwrights In Conversation: Matt Freeman and James Comtois (#289)
6. FRIGID New York Festival Preview (#273) (features artists from six festival productions)
7. Pan Asian Rep's New Works 2009 (#277) (features Tisa Chang and Ron Nakahara)
8. Indie Theater NOW! 2009 Holiday Season Preview (#316) (features artists from four holiday productions)
9. Playwrights In Conversation: Crystal Skillman and Daniel Talbott (#299)
10. Waterwell's Newest Drop: #9 (#290) (features Tom Ridgely and Kevin Townley)

I would like to also remind you that I conducted two other interviews this past year, and both of the interview subjects were awesome! You should check them out.

Mac Rogers "Viral"

Scott Reynolds "The Odyssey"


Saw that Avatar movie. Guess what? It's rad. No, it's not brain surgery. Yes, it has moments of dialogue that fall into the "functional" category. Yes, the story is a lot like Dances With Wolves or whatever. But once I figured out that I was watching a family action-adventure fantasy movie; something almost old-fashioned in the way it tells the story, I got on board and had a great time.

One thing I've got to say about James Cameron: part of his success in a genre often associated with boys and toys is his insistence on strong female characters. Terminator 1 and 2. Aliens. The Abyss. Titanic. Strong female characters abound. Avatar is no different. It's heroine is extremely well-realized, and the mythology of Pandora is matriarchal. If I had a daughter and took her to this, I would feel pretty confident that she was seeing something she could relate to.

It's also just plain pretty. The 3D is great, but a lot of this movie would look good on a DVD player. Not only because things look "real" or what-have-you. The special effects are employed to make the world seem gorgeous. Bioluminescent. Lush.

It's not James Cameron's best movie. It's not the best movie I've seen this year. I don't really think it's as rewatchable as Star Trek, for example. But it's a new story, which is refreshing all by itself, and its made with amazing care and skill.

In short: recommended.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Diversity and such

I don't agree with Scott's provocative idea because I prefer choice over chance. If we stop trusting people to make real decisions, we give up on their ability to make good choices and grapple with complexity.

Also, I detect in the larger diversity discussion a lack of specificity. Gender diversity and racial diversity and class diversity are different issues and have to be addressed entirely differently. Just because a group shares "under-represented" status doesn't mean they are under-represented in exactly the same way or for exactly the same historical/economic/cultural reasons. Isaac seems focused on racial diversity; Scott on cultural or geographic diversity, for example.

I am a supporter of affirmative action. I believe that you cannot confront a cultural history of racism without a systemic approach.

But, I also am deeply ambivalent about how race and ethnicity, even for those with good intentions, can be oversimplified and quantified superficially. Example: my sister is adopted. She is Korean. She was adopted before I was born, when she was only a few months old. She has no memory of Korea, never knew her Korean mother, and does not speak Korean. She has been a member of my family longer than I have, even if we don't share the same DNA. Culturally... is she Korean? No. Does she self-identify as Korean-American? Not in the way some people do, certainly.

So where does she fit in these calls for diversity? Does she represent a racial group? Is her group Adopted Children? Or women? Or women who grew up in Pennsylvania? Her life is simply not reducible that way. She's my sister, my older sister, and she comes from the same background that I do. Are we supposed to be grouped differently? Separately? I would certainly find that troubling. I'd protest anyone who would group her according to their own assessments of how she looked - even if they felt it was to her benefit.

Affirmative action is not about numbers: it's about acknowledging that racism was/is a part of our system, and that only a systematic approach can correct that on a large scale. Let's just remember that all discussions of "diversity" are about individuals and not about counting colors.

In short, before we talk about promoting diversity, I think we should know what we mean by that extremely loaded word. Do we want to see more representation from non-MFA playwrights Off-Off Broadway? Do we want to reduce the impact that affluence has on artistic merit? Do we want to see more Asian-Americans employed in literary departments? If so, why?

Once we identify something specific, a lack we can show, we can actually propose counter-methods. Otherwise, it's just so much posturing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On Phantasmaphile...

If you don't read Pam's blog, you should. Today she posted this painting, which is so awesome, that I had to post it here and link to it.

It's called "Because of Toast" by Joe Sorren.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to support me

If you read this blog, like what's in it, and find yourself generally supportive of me as a person and artist, there is something you can do to support me directly: purchase one of my plays. I don't want to become a shill over here, but the plays are neither expensive nor difficult to purchase, and they're pretty good too.

One of the great things about the current state of technology is that a writer like me, working as hard as I can to build a career and be an active member of the community, can connect directly with not only friends, family and peers, but a wider audience of like-minded individuals. I hope that you appreciate my thoughts (such as they are) and my contributions. I hope you don't mind that I ask you to directly support my career in this way, but I feel that now, more than ever, the creators of content and their audiences are linked.

Any purchase of my work isn't a few bucks that you send into the ether: I will feel and appreciate the value you place on supporting me and the plays I write.

The Death of King Arthur, a play of mine written in 2001, is published by Playscripts, Inc. It's discounted at $5.99 for a single book right now. Here's where to purchase it.

When is a Clock is published by Samuel French. It can be purchased directly from the publisher here, or order at Amazon.com. You can also find it at the Drama Book Shop in NYC (among other places).


Michael and David are the Nook

Check out this video with David Pogue that features my good friends Michael Colby Jones and David DelGrosso.

Really great stuff guys!

Good press for me and my ladyfriend

Pam's space Observatory just got a great write up in BoingBoing!

And I am working as a writer on this interesting project: The New Year's Eve live blog and webcast.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What a great post

...this post is.

Support small theater this year

As with the past few years in this space, I'd like to take a Holiday moment to remind you how important it is to support small theaters. The economics just aren't in favor of the long-term survival of any small and vital theater company without the direct financial support of its fans and patrons. Buying tickets only goes so far. Talking about theaters on blogs and websites and reading reviews only goes so far. If you believe in the type of theater that we discuss in this space, if you want to see more and better theater produced, the best thing you can do is give.

It doesn't matter how much you give. $10. $25. $50. $100. Giving has never been easier - press a button on your computer screen. Many of the theaters I love best aren't awash in corporate sponsorships and grants: they're the labors of love of hungry, outlandish, dedicated people. Every charitable donation is put immediately to use. You won't find your donation wasted, not by artists who are, by their nature, thrifty and inventive.

Giving is a habit. Get into that habit. This year, I'd like to make one more request: ask someone else you know to give, too. If you have a friend that came with you to a show you both liked, you might mention to that friend that you just donated $50 to the theater that produced it. Ask them to join you.

Here's a few suggestions from me. I'm sure (I hope!) other bloggers will create their own lists.

BLUE COYOTE THEATER GROUP - Where I have hung my theatrical hat for several years now. This is the creative force behind this year's production of Glee Club (so if you liked that, you should support them!) and they also produced Effie Jean in Tahiti this year, a musical by David Johnston. If you want to support me as an artist, there are two major ways to do it. Buy one of my plays, and donate to Blue Coyote Theater Group.

Give online here!

THE BRICK - C'mon. It's the Brick. A hub of activity in the Off-Off Broadway world. I had two productions at the Brick this year: Glee Club and Exposition so I personally know what fun there is to be had over there. They're in the midst of Fight Fest. They work their asses off, generate tons of intriguing, off-the-wall work.

Give online here!

- Among their productions in 2009: Infectious Opportunity and Blood Brothers. The home of fellow blogger James Comtois. Good people, working hard, making great theater. Show them you love what they do.

Give online here!

NYTE, Inc - Book publishers, reviewers, advocates. A major force in the Off-Off Broadway (or as they would prefer "Indie Theater") world. If you want to give to "Off-Off" in general, this is one way to do it.

Give online here!

FLUX THEATRE ENSEMBLE - Great group of people. Last year's productions include The Lesser Seductions of History and Pretty Theft. Plus, Gus is a friendly, astute blogger. Besides being quite an artist.

Give online here!


That's just a few to get you thinking. I hope you give a little (or a lot) if you're able this year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From the "Well! Knock me over with a feather!" department

This is not some big shock, right?

Not sure what the methodology of the "survey" is/was. But I don't think anyone who's held a theater program in his or her hand in the last few years hasn't noticed that prominence of certain MFA programs. Heck, I made a rather successful joke (if I do say so myself) about the whole thing in a play about a year ago.

One has to ask why this is institutionally? Is it the playwrights themselves serving up big bowls of excellence that are far tastier and more zesty than the work of their peers with different credentials? Could it be? Or could it be that those same departments shepherd their wards into good opportunities?

Quality can't be surveyed. One person's academic navel gazing is another person's compelling theatrical experiment. I do think it's worthwhile to throw water on our faces every once in a while, and look in the mirror. If your MFA becomes a more predicative criteria for your success than, say, how people actual respond to your work in real time: that's probably a bad trend. But that doesn't follow exactly that writers with MFAs are getting opportunities they haven't earned.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Congratulations to Matthew Trumbull!

My main man Matt Trumbull was just named one of the People of the Year for 2009 at nytheatre.com. Well deserved. The "something else in between" mentioned by David Johnston was, in fact, Glee Club. And Infectious Opportunity, too. Which was produced by some other people of the year...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ben Nelson - Tool of the Right-Wing, Asshole, Prick

Can it be that THIS guy (a "Democrat" from a state with an entire population that is smaller than the population of New York City) just killed the a public option because the Democrats refused to use a health care bill to effectively ban abortion?

If that's what just happened (we'll find out shortly) then Ben Nelson is a friggin' shame factory.

ACORN is so evil

Except when it's found to have no pattern of misconduct by an independent observer. Also, it seems that this same observer found that the damning videos that we used to make ACORN a national whipping boy...were substantially doctored.

Huh. What do you know? Two kids with a video camera are not actual journalists.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I will soon be 34

My birthday is Monday. It is a birthday I share with Tom Waits, the dear departed professional wrestler Ravishing Rick Rude, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

Praise me!

How much fun is this? Too much fun.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Streetcar Named Desire starring...Owen Lars!

Okay, so how could Ben Brantley write this breathless review of a Streetcar Named Desire, featuring Cate Blanchett, and not mention that Joel Edgerton played Owen Lars in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith?

I am offended sir. Offended.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009