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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Make a gift to your favorite theater company

This year, blogging was extremely light from me. I haven't officially closed up shop here - you never know when I'm going to feel the need to write about some subject - but I realize it's been much less consistent. For those of you that have looked for me this past year and found less than they'd hoped, I apologize.

Usually, I create a list of theaters I recommend you give to before the end of the year. With the rise of IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, it's a bit less important for me to link to individual pages and tout the importance of various small theaters. So this year, I'm going to refrain from a list like that.

Still, if you haven't made a year-end gift to one or more of your favorite theaters, you should do so.  Consider, also, supporting the company or institution itself as opposed to a production or project. There's nothing better than general operating cash for small companies, gifts that are not earmarked for certain kinds of projects.

When I started this blog, I suggested gifts of $10, $25 and $50. I said those gifts add up. IndieGoGo and Kickstarter proved that's true. If you're in the habit of making those smaller donations, maybe your year-end, special gift could be $250 - which is just under $25 a month for a year. Combine that kind of giving and make one payment. It'll be more substantial for the company, and feel better for you too.

I hope your 2012 was productive and fun, and 2013 is even better.

Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Merry and Happy Happy

I hope everyone's had a lovely holiday season thus far and are looking forward to a very happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ich Liebe Jesus!

This weekend, engage in some holiday cheer. Robert Honeywell's despairing, wicked, fun musical about the joys of Christian Christmas, Ich Liebe Jesus, has three more performances: Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 7th, 8th and 9th. You should and must attend. You are compelled to attend by duty. It's a German thing.

Find more info at the Brick.

The show features the only truly nasty bit of song I've ever seen on stage about lactose tolerance. Delightful. Mean, mean, mean and fun. The whole cast is great, but the MC...Jenny Lee Mitchell? Is just plain amazing.

It's on a double bill with Piper McKenzie's lovely and brief The Ultimate Fate of the Solo System and Other Plays Without Words. It feels like a collection of really groovy b-sides from one of your favorite bands.

Go! And See It!

Tickets here.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Why We Left Brooklyn...

Working through the third draft of Why We Left Brooklyn, my newest play. Having a fine time with it.

Personally, the challenge is to craft something that is basically no-frills. There are no asides, no moments of inexplicable magical realism, nothing surreal, no jagged switches into poetry. It's a play about people I know, in the place I live, today. I think I was worried that if I wrote this play when I was younger, I'd wind up with something a bit cliche.

Of course, I'm still worried about that. I'm just hoping that a few years of experience and a little more sense of craft than I had when I started has made a play like this possible for me to write effectively.

After all, who wants to write the same play over and over?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nytheatre.com announced 2012 People of the Year

Read all about it.

I happily know and love quite a few of these peoples of this past year. I proudly had Fred Backus in a play of mine a few years back. He's a gem. Congrats Fred.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving has now passed

I hope you and yours had the opportunity to eat something and talk to each other and enjoy each others company.

And I hope you were not rooting for the Jets.

Now, behold. Who gets the neck.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Monday, November 05, 2012

...and Politics

I realize I've barely posted about the election on this blog. I've sort of used up my energy on Facebook and being generally horrified and over full on political coverage and podcasts and gabfests and polls and you name it.

That being said, I certainly know and hope anyone who checks in here regularly is going to go out and vote tomorrow and is going to vote for President Obama.

Frankly, a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for the worst kind of politics. It rewards the politics of obstruction, it rewards cynical sloganeering, it rewards basically everything most rational Americans claim to hate about politics.

Let's face it: half of the Americans that are voting for Romney, if asked, would probably say they wanted bipartisanship, and good governance, and a candidate that stands up for what they believe in. What's strange is that if they vote Republican this year, they'll be affirming that they are influenced, instead, by pure politics, pandering and extremism.

Obama has done great things as President, no matter what the media narrative likes to repeat. I'm proud to be a supporter. I've got my fingers and toes crossed for tomorrow's election. I hope you're going to get out there and vote.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012



So very excited.

Hurricane Sandy

For those concerned, Pam and I and the cats are all fine. Park Slope was largely spared the worst of the results of the winds and tides and water. We haven't lost power and our apartment, which is on the third floor, has had no damage.

It's alarming and scary, of course, to know how vulnerable our home - by which I mean New York City - is to these types of storms and just what the global warming looks like close up. My day job is in Lower Manhattan, right near South Ferry, so its inaccessible and may well be for a day or two. All the subways are shut down. The Battery Tunnel is flooded completely. Many people have no power. None of us know yet what the public health problems will be associated with flood water and food spoiling and hospitals being overwhelmed.

On the personal front, Pam's artistic home is called Observatory and it is very near the Gowanus Canal, so we're concerned that it's been damaged. We'll see.My good friends over at Blue Coyote Theater Group just opened Coney, and like many other shows, it's shut down for now.

Not much to say otherwise. Hope you're well, and your loved ones are well.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trailer for The Presence of Joseph Chaikin

Check out the trailer for The Presence of Joseph Chaikin. I interviewed the director, Troy Word, earlier this week.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oh yes. I forgot - buy stuff!

This blog is for plugging!

(Okay, not only for plugging)

But yes! Plugging!

My books! And eBooks! Buy them! For yourselves!

Full Length Plays Available in Print

Like When Is A Clock, available from Samuel French in print and in the Apple Store.
Glee Club, available from Playscripts.
The Death of King Arthur, available from Playscripts

Full Length Plays Available Exclusively For Digital Readers

The Americans (IndieTheaterNow, Amazon, Barnes and Noble)
Confess Your Bubble (Amazon)
The Most Wonderful Love (IndieTheaterNow)
The Great Escape (IndieTheaterNow)

And appearing in these collections

Great Short Comedies Volume 5 
Playing With Canons (NYTE)
Plays and Playwrights 2002

And Monologue Collections
Actor's Choice: Monologues for Men
Actor's Choice: Monologues for Teens
Exceptional Monologues 2 For Men And Women

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Presence of Joseph Chaikin

 When I was in high school, a teacher of mine named Ray Fulmer gave me a box of theater books that he was clearing out of a closet before his retirement. In that box I found lots of acting editions of old plays, books of monologues for students, a few prizes (Joe Egg!), and The Presence of the Actor by Joseph Chaikin. I'd never head of Chaikin, even though I had just begun the inevitable obsession with Beckett that all isolated theater geeks enjoy during their theatrical awakening. The book, deeply personal, insightful, filled with evocative black and white photographs, was thrilling. Other books about acting and theater that I enjoyed at the time - Uta Hagen, Stanislavsky, David Mamet, Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski - all seemed dogmatic, finger-waving or too theoretical compared to Chaikin's book. Chaikin seemed more intrigued than certain, more astonished and political than academic or philosophical. He seemed to come from a place that I recognized.

I was too young at the time to really know why the book struck such a chord. All I knew is that the idea of the Open Theater, the idea of the way Chaikin worked and believed in theater, created a sense of what theater could be that outpaced any actual theatrical experience I'd ever had or had previously been offered to me. I still imagine my work in the way Chaikin inspired me to imagine, and believe in the importance of plays and actors in the way that he inspired me to believe.

Which is why I was so thrilled to discover the existence of the as-yet-unreleased documentary The Presence of Joseph Chaikin by Troy Word. The film, which is still seeking release and to complete financing, is absolutely wonderful. I cannot wait to see how audiences respond to it, and how much good it will do for young and experienced theatermakers alike once it has wide distribution.

In service of that, director Troy Word took a little time to talk to me about his film, his hopes for it, and his relationship with Chaikin's work. Please enjoy and share.


Joseph Chaikin's work with the Open Theater, his collaborations with Sam Shepard, and his book The Presence of the Actor are significant parts of the history of New York and American theater, but I would guess that he's still relegated to cult status to most people. Why do you think Chaikin remained, during his lifetime, largely outside the mainstream?

 When Joe arrived in New York in the 1950‘s he wanted to become a rich and famous actor. But his role as Galy Gay in the Living Theater’s production of Brecht’s “Man is Man” changed his life forever. Inspired by Brecht, Joe abandoned his pursuit of fame. He had many opportunities to work in mainstream commercial plays and movies, but that wasn’t his quest. He committed his life to experimental theater and exploring new ways of communicating. He felt commercial success corrupted the discovery process. I think that was the major reason he disbanded the Open Theater at the height of their fame.

What inspired you, personally, to create this film?

I met Joe at a party late in his life. The hosts were friends of mine and introduced us. Our conversation was limited due to Joe’s Aphasia. But he had an amazing presence. His eyes were clear and penetrating. He used very few words, but I felt an instant connection with him. Weeks later my friends gave me a copy of the recording “War in Heaven” that Joe did with Sam Shepard. I found it to be incredibly moving. I wanted to learn more and started researching him. I have no background in theater, but as I learned more, I became obsessed with his story. His artistic quest, the constant threat of mortality, and the perseverance to overcome Aphasia is inspirational. 

Chaikin's personal story - his childhood trauma and lifetime of illness - is a large part of the narrative of the film. How do you feel his brushes with death and dying informed him as an artist?

As a child, Joe’s heart was severely damaged by Rheumatic Fever. In an effort to save his life, he was sent from Brooklyn to Florida and the National Children’s Cardiac Center. There, surrounded by children who were dying,  he was separated from everyone and everything he knew. It was in this environment he started creating plays with the other children. Theater happens in the present. I think that had a powerful resonance for young boy faced with mortality. The immediacy of theater was connected to survival for Joe. His life long quest exploring that immediacy sustained him.

Ethan Hawke tells a powerful story of Chaikin, as director, insisting that the cast perform Shepard's The Late Henry Moss only days after September 11th, 2001. What do you think artists working today can learn from Chaikin's zeal?

For me, that is one of the most powerful moments in the film. Until the end of his life, Joe never lost his faith in the power of theater to change the world.

What most surprised you about Chaikin's life and work as you crafted this film?

 I was amazed at the incredible list of people that admired and collaborated with Joe. Some of the most important artists and thinkers of the late 20th century. Beckett, Miller , Sontag, Shepard, Grotowski, Brook, Campbell, Genet, Ginsberg, Paley the list goes on and on. In fact, the last thing written by Beckett before he died was dedicated to Joe.

What are your hopes with the film? 

First of all, that it is finally released. It has been a 10 year journey getting the film finished. We are working to raise the final funds to pay for the Archival footage rights which are the most expensive part of the film. The film has been financed by me with some help from Joe’s family. We are exploring a Kickstarter campaign for the final push to get the film released. I want to try and make it available to the widest possible audience. It has been almost impossible to access material on Joe and his work. I hope the film will serve as a window into his life and work and inspire a new generation of theater artists. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your background? 

I am a commercial still photographer specializing in Fashion, Beauty, and Celebrity photography. Before I started this project I had no real background in Theater  or Documentary film. Now I am obsessed with both.

I'm sure you've watched many works directed by Chaikin or featuring him in order to create this film. Could you highlight works for us that you feel truly captured the best of his art?

 What is interesting to me about the Open Theater work is that it still feels very modern. Maybe it’s the deceptive simplicity of the stagecraft. But I think the major themes of the works still resonate today. “The Serpent” is very powerful. Of the later works , “War In Heaven” was my inspiration for the film.

What do you hope audiences learn or feel when they watch The Presence of Joseph Chaikin?

Above all, I hope they are as inspired by his life as I was. He touched and inspired so many great thinkers. It is impossible to quantify the extent of his influence. He was a true artist, dedicated to the journey of discovery, not fame or fortune. That is something we all can learn from.


The website and trailer for the documentary can be found at the link below

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coney: An interview with playwright David Johnston

My very good friend David Johnston (Busted Jesus Comix, Candy & Dorothy) has a new play on the horizon. It's produced by Blue Coyote Theater Group, my own artistic home for many years now. Directed by Gary Shrader, it sports a cast of compelling performers including Frank Anderson, Jilliane Gill, Boo Killebrew, Dave Lapkin and Stephen Speights.

It runs Oct. 27 - November 17th at the New Ohio. Here's the website with all pertinent information.

I had to chance to send a few questions about the show David's way. He makes great answers out of my serviceable questions. The interview follows from here.


What inspired you to write a play about Coney Island? I mean, obviously, Coney Island is inspirational and unique. But what aspect most appealed to you initially? The carnival atmosphere? The old-Brooklyn feel? The community? 

I love Coney Island the way I love eighties horror movies. I mean, there's nothing like watching a guy juggle chainsaws to get you out of your own head, you know? Who can be depressed watching little kids in cardboard lobster costumes running around at the Mermaid Parade? They once showed "Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill" at their film series in the summer, then I went and got clams and beer and I thought, this evening cannot be improved ever.  I think because I'm not a native New Yorker, it's even more appealing.  It never feels old hat to me. 

I didn't set out to write a play about Coney Island - but one day I realized I would have to deal with my anger over Robert Altman dying and not making the Coney Island film I think he should have made. I was taking it personally.  So I decided to write it myself.

 From what I'm reading, the play seems to be a statement about gentrification, or at least, has something to say about it. Is that accurate? 

 I don't think it's really a statement of anything.  Gentrification is a part of what's happening there, but I didn't want to write a play about gentrification.  You know me, Freeman.  I'm not good with "big idea" plays.  I prefer male nudity and foul-mouthed showgirls. 

What is the "story" of Coney? Or is it more of a collage?

It's a number of colliding and overlapping stories - the play started out as a bunch of discrete scenes with different characters, and it wasn't interconnected at all.  But there were definitely things that were on my mind with these people - there's a lot about parents and children, people who want to be parents, people who aren't very good parents, and kids who suddenly have to take care of their parents.  But it's still comedy - my stuff always ends up a comedy, even when I think it's a drama.  So yeah, there's people dealing with love and kids and family and mortality, but there's also a chupacabra and  a two-headed cow and a botched mind-reading act.

 Coney sports a large and diverse cast, with wide range of ages. Why was this level of diversity important to the play? 

Because that's what Coney's like when you go out there.

What do you hope the audience will consider or think about as they watch the play?

Oh God give me an easy question, Freeman! I hope they have a good time, or they think it's funny or they're moved. I hate plays where someone's telling me what to think. I always want to corner the writer and say, you know, I can make up my own damn mind as to where genocide falls on the moral spectrum, I don't need you to show me!  I like a script that asks a question I haven't thought of.  Do I sound crabby?  I'm not really. 

I know you're a lover of cinema and there are a lot of cinematic influences on the script. Could you map those out a bit for us?

If I map them out, then you won't be surprised and delighted by them when you see the show! OK, I'll map out a few.  The play references "The Warriors," Hitchcock, Tod Browning, "Nightmare Alley" starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell, "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" NOT THE REMAKE and "Blade Runner." But don't worry - there's nothing elegant or economical about the referencing. I'm proud of the fact that I do it in an extremely ham-fisted and obvious way. 

Finally, what's the most fun thing about Coney? 

I have a hunch, it's going to be this one character's entrance. But I don't want to say which one because that will jinx it. By the way, Freeman, when are you going to leave your wife for me? Haven't we kept up this charade long enough? 

Tickets are here!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Clean Kill - a totally fun webseries

Just for fun, check out Clean Kill, a webseries directed by Daryl Lathon and starring Brian Silliman and featuring a cadre of downtown talents. (Oh and Matt Trumbull from The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children, getting beat up and looking desperate.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children is available on Indie Theater Now

Now that The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children's run as a part of the New York International Fringe Festival and the Fringe Encore Series has come to an end, there's one more way you can enjoy the show. The text itself is now available to be added to your library at Indie Theater Now.

Here's a link to the show's page, with a new author's note.

Only $1.29 to add and read. Enjoy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Metrics, Metrics

A valuable look at the role of metrics and funding in the arts from Alexis Clements on Hyperallergic. Give it a read.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Neil Young on what he was hired for

“I work for the muse,” he said. When he swerved into techno and country after Geffen Records signed him in the early ’80s, Young was accused of making “unrepresentative” music. He responded by taking a pay cut of half a million dollars for each of his next three albums. “I’m not here to sell things. That’s what other people do, I’m creating them. If it doesn’t work out, I’m sorry; I’m just doing what I do. You hired me to do what I do, not what you do. As long as people don’t tell me what to do, there will be no problem.”

From NYTimes.


Pam and I took in Detroit at Playwrights Horizons this past weekend. Some terrific actors and its very well-staged. Fire. Blood. Meat cooking. Swirling sets. Fun.


Why does the play take place in the 'suburban outer ring of a mid-sized city' if the play is called Detroit? Is it just Detroit of the mind? The Detroit of the soul? Or does it actually take place in Detroit?

I simply wonder. That's all I do.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Isaac on "We Built This"

I highly recommend this post and thought. Very true.

UPDATE: Or not so much. Hey, it happens.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children returns tonight

Our first performance as a part of the Encore Series is at 8pm tonight at the Huron Club at the Soho Playhouse.

There are still a few tickets available!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children is a part of the Encore Series starting 9/8

Thanks to all who came out (at odd times and in full force) to see The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children. The play received tremendous reviews, played to sold out houses, and received an Award for Overall Excellence in Solo Performance. As the director and co-producer, I couldn't be more happy with the results thus far. As a friend of Matt Trumbull's, I'm just thrilled that so many are coming to appreciate this versatile, charming, warm and utterly unique performer and writer.

There's more good news. The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children's run continues. We're a part of the Encore Series, which runs at the Soho Playhouse during the month of September. We're in the Huron Club, downstairs, which features a bar. If you've seen the show, you'll know easy access to a drink afterwards might appeal.

There are five performances

Saturday 9/8 at 8PM
Sunday 9/16 at 3PM
Sunday 9/23 at 5PM
Wednedsay 9/26 at 8PM
Saturday 9/29 at 8PM

As we sold out our final show at 4:15 in the afternoon, I fully expect 8pm shows and matinees will be full. So getting tickets early? A great idea. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vote for The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children

Take a few seconds to vote for The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children as the Audience Favorite of FringeNYC 2012.

The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children's final performance

At 4:15pm today, Matthew Trumbull's The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children (which I directed) plays its final performance as a part of the New York International Fringe Festival 2012. The show is a critics pick at Time Out New York, recommended by the New York Press and Newsday and was well-reviewed by Theatermania, among others. More than any of that, of course, is the audience's response. I've been touched to see jaded theater-goers red eyed and smiling after Trumbull's open-hearted performance.

Tickets are no longer available online, but there are often several held back at the door. I certainly hope you'll be able to join us today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The press raves about The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children

"[Matthew Trumbull] achieves a masterful balance between the tragedy of loss and the touching moments of humor it can create." Four Stars - Vanessa Thill, Time Out New York

"....beautifully written....what makes the tale so poignant is the amount of detail, peppered with unexpected moments of humor, woven into it. Anyone who has lost a loved one is sure to be moved by the performance..." - Dan Bacalzo, Theatermania

"The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children is a well-written piece and a fine performance." - Jo Ann Rosen, nytheatre.com

"Trumbull's piece chooses only the most important details and keeps you laughing, thinking, and at times crying all in one sitting." - Michael Roderick , One Producer In The City

Matthew Trumbull writes for Backstage


Friday, Aug. 17th, 6:45 PM
Sunday, Aug. 19th, 12:00 PM
Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 5:00 PM
Friday, Aug. 24th, 4:15 PM

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fringe Festival

1) The play I directed at the Fringe, written and performed by Matt Trumbull, opens tomorrow. First performance is sold out. Come and see it. It's going to be great. The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children.

2) This blog post about the Fringe? Good to read.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Doctor Matthew Freeman on Copper

No, this is not the blog of the character from the upcoming BBC America drama Copper. But if you do find this blog because you are Googling that character, you should totally read all about me, Matthew Freeman, playwright from Brooklyn.

That would be fun for you. I think.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Indie Theater Now is now compatible with the iPad and iPhone

Indie Theater Now is a terrific collection of Off-Off Broadway or "Indie" works.

Three of my plays are published there, two of which cannot be found in any other format.

There are plays on Indie Theater Now by some of the best living playwrights working in contemporary drama today.

Before now, the reader wouldn't work on Apple devices. That's now been changed, so purchased plays can be read on iPhones and iPads. Read about the change here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I started and stopped several blog posts

...about this. But the short version is, I think it comes off as a bit out of touch. Not that anyone asked me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

When Is A Clock now available as an eBook through iBookstore

Digital Clock Alert!

Samuel French has made my play (along with many others!) When Is A Clock available as an eBook for those of you with iPhones and iPads.

Click here to check it out.

Of course, with iTunes, ratings and reviews are a must. If you're an iTunes user, and you're so inclined, a review or two would be great.


Friday, July 06, 2012


The blog has been filled, mostly, with plugs for my latest show. That's how it goes sometimes, folks. I hope the few of you who still read this space forgive me. Oh and came to see Confess Your Bubble. (Sorry, I had to.)

Anyway, I'm directing a play at the Fringe Festival, a terrific one man show by Matthew Trumbull called The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children. Details on that soon.

Otherwise, it's summer. It's hot. I've been working and trying to avoid being outside. Writing a bit, sending scripts around, thinking about things like "Why another Spider Man movie?" and what I thought of Prometheus. That sort of thing. No deep thoughts to share. I wrote a new short-ish play (although these days, full-length plays are 70 minutes long) that I like a lot.

How are you?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Confess Your Bubble final performance on 6/30

Thanks to all who attended Confess Your Bubble! We have a final performance on Saturday at 8pm. As of now, no advance seats are available. There may be some seats available for walk-ups, though. So come early!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Confess Your Bubble opens and is released as an eBook

Thanks to all who came out to support "Confess Your Bubble" last night as we opened to a full house. Exciting stuff! To supplement our opening and run, I've released an eBook of Confess Your Bubble.

The play is formatted for the Kindle and the Kindle App on the iPhone. If you see the play and want to give it a read, or would like to read the play itself before seeing the production, you can go here or use the QR code below to order it for only $1.99

Confess Your Bubble on Kindle for only $1.99

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Opening Night

Confess Your Bubble opens tonight at 8pm at the Brick Theater as a part of the Democracy Festival. First performance is sold out, yes indeed, and our final performance on June 30th is nearly sold out. Tickets can be gotten herein.

Be a winner. Attend. You are of it. Of it. Of it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nicole Watson on being an Emerging Artist

The over used and oft-maligned term "Emerging Artist" gets its tires kicked by Nicole Watson on this Howlround post.

"I’ll be honest, this whole idea of being an emerging artist drives me crazy.
  1. It assumes that I am working in some liminal space—some pre-professional netherworld, between intern and real live theater maker.
  2. It allows my work to be undervalued—literally.  In the time-money continuum, emerging artists tend to donate their time and spend their own money on their project.
  3. It implies that there is someplace—some magical, legitimate theater place I need to emerge to in order to matter. At the end of the day this idea of being an emerging artist puts the emphasis of my work onto a place that I have to get to to be considered accomplished, rather than looks that the work I am currently doing as accomplishments in and of themselves."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Josh Izzo: Modern Collector

My oldest friend, Josh, is interviewed about his love of popular culture, toys and collecting in this wonderful video.

So great. I love this!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Seven facts about Confess Your Bubble

This is a blog post about my new play. Yes, another. What do you think I have a blog for? My health?

Things you might not know about Confess Your Bubble

1. If you had a mother, she would love Confess Your Bubble.
2. The play contains more then 40 words.
3. Confess Your Bubble is the abandoned title of Michael Buble's last album.
4. All the liars you have ever met swear that they have seen Confess Your Bubble already.
5. Confess Your Bubble is not tall enough to be an astronaut.
6. There is dancing in Confess Your Bubble.
7. Confess Your Bubble was written by Mac Rogers. Matt Freeman is a pseudonym. Always has been.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tony Awards 2012 Live Blog

If you're looking for a great Tony Awards 2012 Live Blog try...

David Cote and Matt Wells at the Guardian

And if you're looking for some other awesomeness in New York that is decidedly NOT the Tony Awards, you should totally come check out Confess Your Bubble, opening June 21st. Tickets here.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

What is there to talk about?

J. Holtham basically fires a big flare gun into the sky when he writes this over on Parabasis.

Read the whole thing, of course. To sum up, inadequately, he notes that most of what he sees of theatre is either what he reads about or shows he sees with his friends in them. And, then, he says: "The other part is...what would I write about? Seriously. What's going on that requires comment, discussion, dissection?" and "So the question that comes to me is: what if this is it? A lot of us invest a lot of time in being semi-professionally upset about things. We want change! We want it now! What if, though, there won't be any significant changes? What if the new movement in theatre is here, it's now established and this is it?"and finally, "Oh, we have our little flare-ups, dust-ups, scandals, donnybrooks, but pretty quickly, order is restored. The natural order of things re-asserts itself and the whole system spins on."

Now, I have a lot of respect for Holtham. He's been discussing these things, as we all have, for a few years now. (His initial blog 99seats, was dedicated to a change that he's apparently moved past.) But yes, there are some good plays, and bad plays, and Broadway is a tourist attraction and what else is there to talk about? I get it.

I've gotten a bit quieter on the blog about my thoughts on theatre. I've been busy making it as hard as I can, and trying to interest other people in seeing my own plays. I got married, I have a job, I visit my friends, my friends have kids that I love, I visit my family: I'm basically a happy guy with a lot of artistic, as-yet-unfulfilled ambitions. I don't feel the urge to rehash and rework my arguments over and over. I've sort of hoped other people would take up the cause, so I could promote my shows and have a career.

But I wouldn't be a good blogger if I didn't have a bone or two to pick with his statement.

One thing I object to is the phrase "the natural order of things." Frankly, there is no natural order to these things. The American system has been chosen and reinforced, not grown organically out the ground. Our lack of government subsidies, the size of the system, etc, etc. None of this is is immutable. It can feel permanent. Just ask the music business, the cable companies if their models are permanent, untouchable, and perfect. In fact, ask them in 1992 and ask them today. If we don't have the energy or desire to challenge that system...or the means frankly...that's fine. Let just not pretend it's because it can't be changed.

I still believe, for example, that the Showcase Code in New York City reinforces a class system for new plays and playwrights. It absolutely must be changed. I've said so over and over. We've all agreed. It has not been changed. Why hasn't it? How have we failed?

I think, though, that one of the truly unfortunate things going on that hobbles good conversation about theatre, for me, is an unwillingness to criticize one's peers. We simply don't have discussions about the work we see around us. Not substantive ones, anyway. Sure, at the bar after seeing a play, we might say "Oh that was good" or "Oh that was bad." But where do we have the discussions about the form and substance of the work of the writers, actors and directors around us? Not to review shows, but to pick them apart and engage with them? To discuss the themes. To challenge a premise.

I'd love to see more of that. Read more of that. I didn't get involved in theater because I had a passion for the business of theatre. I got involved because I love plays and love to make plays and think about plays and discuss plays.

I know I fear, at times, risking hurt feelings. I remember writing a post a while ago about my experience submitting to a large theater, and got some actually angry responses for literary managers at the places I wanted to work. It chastened me, for sure, but I also get it. We're in a new world, new ecosystem, and it's got social limits and we're all discovering them.

Still, I think that lessens the discourse. This is not a group of pals hanging out and trying to have fun. We're artists engaged in a rocky, wicked process. We can be successful or we can fail and we should talk about both of those things. If we can't, then the online discourse becomes increasingly insubstantial.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury

"For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture."

- Ray Bradbury

ah Google

My sitemeter will, depending on an individuals browser type, show me the search results that brought them to my blog. Late last night, someone searched "Are All Actors Self-Centered and Insecure?" and found me.

To them I say this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Democracy Festival Opens June 1st - World Likely To End

The Democracy Festival (in which I proudly participate) will open this week with No Second Acts: A Collection of Short American Lives. It features brief plays by Gyda Arber, Eric Bland, James Comtois, Ian W. Hill, Jeff Lewonczyk, Justin Maxwell, August Schulenburg, Crystal Skillman, Alexis Sottile and Stephanie Swirsky. After this, the world ends, maybe. I predict it will. And that is all I need to do.

There are two programs.

Program A features work by Lewonczyk, Maxwell, Schulenburg, Skillman, and Swirsky
Program B features work by Arber, Bland, Comtois, Hill, and Sottile

To excite you, here are some interviews with the participants.

Eric Bland
Jeff Lewonczyk
Stephanie Swirsky
Crystal Skillman
Justin Maxwell
James Comtois (still alive!)

Buy tickets here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Travel travel travel


For those keeping score, I haven't updated since Sunday. My new job requires a great deal of travel and visiting donors. I was in Baltimore and DC for the past few days, having a fine time, meeting some wonderful people, but yes, that means less bloggery.

Which is not to say I'm not quite busy. Tickets for Confess Your Bubble are now on sale, and I would love to see you at our opening night, June 21st.

Also, I'll be releasing a new eBook of my short plays....well...shortly.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My newest love - 3eanuts.com

Peanuts cartoon with the last panel missing. Bleak. Bleak and wonderful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bruce Goldstone

When Is A Clock (2008)
The Most Wonderful Love (2006)
Confess Your Bubble (2012)
Glee Club (2010)
The Great Escape (2003)

Standards of Decency 3: 300 Vaginas Before Breakfast (2011)

The Americans (2004)

I wanted to take a second send a shoutout to Bruce Goldstone, the brilliant artist that created all the art you see above - including the fantastic art for Confess Your Bubble. These are the images that Bruce created for postcard and poster art for my work. For me, it's a great thrill whenever I see what he's created. He encapsulates the plays, plays with the themes, makes them seem compelling and fun. You can see a whole lot of his work on other shows here, as well.

Thanks Bruce!

George Hunka on Confess Your Bubble

George sends some good thoughts to Confess Your Bubble. Much appreciated.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tickets are now on sale for CONFESS YOUR BUBBLE

Steve Burns as Senator Carl Corpuscle in CONFESS YOUR BUBBLE (Photo: Kyle Ancowitz)

Tickets are now available for CONFESS YOUR BUBBLE, my new play, starring Steve Burns and directed by Kyle Ancowitz. We are a part of the Democracy Festival at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

Now is the time to purchase. To engage in purchasing. It is your God given right as a consumer. No, it's your responsibility. Think about My Economy.

Thursday, June 21st 8pm
Friday, June 22nd 8pm
Saturday, June 23rd 5pm
Sunday, June 24th 8pm
Tuesday, June 26th 8pm
Saturday, June 30th, 8pm

Friday, May 11, 2012

Adam Szymkowicz on 13P

Adam Szymkowicz notes that 13P, having made a significant impact on the New York theater scene, will end its mission and close up shop after its next production.

Two thoughts.

One: I'd like to reiterate Adam's great question. If you had to gather a new 13P, a collective of super playwrights, today...who would you choose?

Second, I admire a nonprofit that fulfills its mission and ends its work. As many of us see in the nonprofit world, once a new organization gets to work, it can fall into the rut of perpetuating itself out of a sort of reflex, revisioning its mission, just existing to exist. Setting a goal that can be achieved, and then achieving it? That's a rare feat.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children ...

is coming soon to the New York International Fringe Festival 2012. It's a solo play, written and performed by the unmatched Matthew Trumbull. I'm on board as the director. See here for all of this year's plays, including Matt's!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Getting out

August Schulenburg shares his thoughts about how to get out, so to speak. Give it a read.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tony Awards Live Blogging

Hey everyone! Welcome to my liveblog of the Tony Awards annoucements!

UPDATE: Woke up late. Look terrible.  Mirrors are a big "no" for me.
UPDATE: Wait. Wait. Wait.
UPDATE: None of these people are going to be me. Christ.
UPDATE: Twitter has replaced liveblogging. Oh no. I'm obsolete.
UPDATE: Depressed, drinking. It's 10 am somewhere, right?
UPDATE: Listen, just leave me alone. You're the problem with this country ok? Not me. You.
UPDATE: Clybourne Park overlooked for Best Score. Travesty.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Performance Dates for Confess Your Bubble

Confess Your Bubble will be a part of the Brick Theater's Democracy Festival. Our dates are

Thursday 6/21, 8pm
Friday 6/22, 7pm
Saturday 6/23, 5pm
Sunday 6/24, 8pm
Tuesday 6/26, 8pm
Saturday 6/30, 8pm

These dates are also available in a nicer format. 

You can follow Confess Your Bubble on Twitter and also learn about what we are, and what you are, on Tumblr.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Confess Your Bubble - Coming Soon

Blast Radius

I took in Mac Rogers's Blast Radius at the final performance yesterday at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City. Really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing the third and final of the Honeycomb Trilogy, Sovereign, when it lands in the Future. (June, I'm told.)

Blast Radius has an extremely conventional sci-fi plot, in the best way. Rogers knows his influences, borrows from good sources, but offers enough of his own ideas and unique characters that you feel like you're watching something you already know well (that's what genre is for, isn't it) but that feels fresh enough to keep you engaged. Even though the idea of a sci-fi trilogy is borrowed entirely from film, the fact is, the Blast Radius never feels overly concerned with being cinematic. Rogers constructs his effective and theatrical drama from fundamentally sound building blocks: a great ear for dialogue, well constructed scenes, high stakes. He's helped tremendously, of course, by a cast of extremely watchable, talented actors.

I've seen some other geek-theater that is tongue-in-cheek half the way and then asks us to care about the characters near the end of a zippy narrative. The result can be mixed when the tone shifts come that furiously.  I appreciated that Rogers actually avoids that urge to fanboy wink. There's no moment where you feel like he's saying "Hey Look, Other Geeks" and makes overt reference to a comic book or movie or what-have-you. Instead, he is unwavering in his desire to take the play seriously, as he should, and earns serious moments because of it. There's also something nice about not feeling like any of the characters are safe. It's a play, after all, not a mini-series.

Jordana Williams needs a huge amount of credit for the success of the show, of course. It's staged effortlessly, and considering the number of characters, jumps in time, intermittently "pregnant" actors, giant bug arms, and scenes of high emotion, there's just a ton going on. The fact that it all seemed to naturally flow together in performance is a testament to her skill.

If I had any reservations, they're minimal. (There is one moment of stage combat... I've got a whole post half-written that I probably shouldn't post about stage-combat in New York's Indie Theater scene...) All in all, a fine play and a fine production. Someday, when you see The Honeycomb Trilogy at the Drama Book Shop, you'd best go pick it right up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Repost: First Folio Lecture

This post was written way back in 2005. What? 2005?! That's seven years ago. Anyway, I thought some of you that are new readers to this blog might enjoy it.

First Folio Shakespeare Method - a lecture

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Okay people

I haven't heard a new joke in a while. Who's got a good one?

Help the Morbid Anatomy Library!

This is a magical place, and close to my heart. My good friend Joanna Ebenstein's built something amazing. Help her rebuild it.

Friday, April 06, 2012

A few words about my new play

Coming up is "Confess Your Bubble" at the Brick Theater's Democracy Festival, their annual themed summer festival. This is a single character piece, performed by Steve Burns, who has quite the weird life, not in small parts because he's a terrific actor (see his performances at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and also his work in my plays Glee Club, That Old Soft Shoe and Brandywine Distillery Fire). It's directed by Kyle Ancowitz, my perennial partner in mayhem.

Confess Your Bubble is a companion piece, in many ways, to That Old Soft Shoe. That play was a part of the Brick Theater's Too Soon Festival in 2010, and it is, sadly, more relevant today than it was even then. That play featured Burns as Senator Corpuscle, from the Pacific Northwest, who has come to check in on the progress of government agents at an undisclosed location. Their "patient" is a man who refuses to speak and was extraordinarily renditioned.  That play was not about Corpuscle - it was really about the characters portrayed by the exceptional cast - David DelGrosso, Laura Desmond. Joe Yeargain, Maya Ferrara and Carter Jackson.

Corpuscle was a crowd-pleaser and terrorizer, and he returns here. I enjoy writing the character, and I think Burns enjoys playing him. But more than that, I like to write overtly political work, and these are without a doubt political satire and very much of the moment.

Confess Your Bubble, though, is not a screed against the right by a liberal Northeasterner. I take great pride in the fact that Corpuscle is a damnable danger for all, or at least that's what I aspire for him.

So I certainly hope you'll take the time to check out the show. More to come, of course, when dates are firmed up and press releases become available and etc, etc.

In the meantime, here's a little bit of text from the current draft:

Let’s begin. Did I say my name? I’m Carl Corpuscle. I am a United States Senator from the great state of Washington State, which unlike Washington DC is a state and not some third world protectorate. We do not grow anything of value there, but we do have Spokane and Seattle. The names of those cities start with an “S.” We once had all sorts of theater and culture and art in Seattle, but now all we have is Dan Savage, Microsoft and rain.

I was not born in Washington State, so I do not bear the special mark. I was born in Indiana, or Idaho. Probably Idaho. My mother did not tell me much and her records – by which I mean her memories - were destroyed, as was ordered in her will. I did not know my father, which I’m told explains a lot. I would assume that means it explains why I am not constantly worried about male approval. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about male disapproval. Hence, the tie. See? Red. The color of the lips of a man who is about to kiss my white ass.