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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What I learned from seeing "Time Stands Still"

The Dulce De Leche Maneuver

To clear the stage so two characters can have a private moment - simply send the other two characters to get ice cream, quite suddenly.

Friday, February 17, 2012

That testimony you weren't supposed to hear

These guys

Thought their testimony about contraception was more relevant than hers

Thursday, February 16, 2012

By the way

I really like the term Off-Off Broadway. Always have. I don't mind Independent or Indie Theater as a label or new branding... but I've always liked the historical associations with "Off-Off Broadway." Maybe I'm just a traditionalist. It just never bothered me.

My two cents.

Independent Theater Fund

Here's a press release for an exciting new idea. Give it a read. I think it articulates some bold thinking and some real challenges that we're facing in NYC.

Might I add that I still think the Showcase Code causes some of these problems?




For over sixty years, Off-Off Broadway (now known as Independent Theater) has provided a haven for New York City theater artists and served as a cauldron and cradle for new and innovative American theater.  This sector has grown beyond a “starting place” for many artists and now provides the artistic home for over 10,000 individuals and 300 companies. But this civic treasure is threatened.  The economic realities of New York City have forced many artists and companies to leave New York.  Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Des Moines and many other cities are poised to replace New York as the center of new American theater. We refuse to lose this historic, cultural and civic treasure. We are beginning an annual, reliable funding pool for the independent theater territory. And it only costs a nickel.

Starting August 1, 2012, nearly 50 theater companies will contribute five cents from every ticket sold this year as seed money for the Independent Theater Fund.  This list includes Present Company (producers of the New York International Fringe Festival), PS 122, HERE Art Center, Horse Trade Theater Group, Clancy Productions, wreckio ensemble, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, the Amoralists, Surf Reality, New Georges, Inverse Theatre, Tectonic Theater Project, Peculiar Works, Flux Ensemble, Elephant Run District, Rabbit Hole Ensemble, Jewish Plays Project, Parallel Exit, Gorilla Rep, Sponsored by Nobody, Stolen Chair Theatre Company, Mind the Gap Theater, Art House Productions, ETdC Projects Lab, Angry Bubble Productions, ViolaCello Stageworks, La Lupa Italian Cultural Arts Festival, Small Pond Entertainment, Organs of State, Decades Out, WET Productions, Gemini/Collisionworks, Untitled Theater Company #61, Theatre Askew, John Montgomery Theatre Company, the Living Theater, New York Theatre Experience, Inc., Sinking Ship Productions, and Mabou Mines, among others. This list is growing every day.

We call on all independent theater companies, artists and venues to join us in this effort.  As always, we recognize that we are strongest and most effective when we work together and while our individual bank accounts may be small, our collective resources are substantial.

Judith  Malina of the Living Theater says: “The League of Independent Theater represents a coming together of actual artistic and theatrical forces that may yet undo the difficulty of our times in maintaining the highest artistic standards in a period of economic crisis. Who can save us from the downhill trend of our economy except the vigor of our arts?  Theatre, music and education are our only hopes to lift our times beyond their despair and create a viable, prosperous culture.”

Elena Holy, Producing Artistic Director of FringeNYC says: "The Present Company is always proud to be a part of anything that involves indie theatre artists supporting each other. The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) was forged on our collective indie traditions of self-sufficiency, creativity, and working together. This new fund builds on that idea and puts it into action across our entire community - its potential impact is extraordinarily exciting."

This is the first phase of this funding initiative.

We call on the League of American Theaters and Producers to join the cause and help us to support, sustain and strengthen the independent theater community in New York City. The Broadway League has a long history of supporting charitable efforts that benefit the theatrical community and with this initiative they will take the lead in addressing the exodus of young theater professionals and companies from New York City as well as recognizing the national cultural treasure that is the Off-Off Broadway territory. With a five cent surcharge on each ticket sold to a Broadway show, (which is .0057 of the average ticket price or about five hundredths of a percent) we can create an immediate, annual fund for small theater in New York.

In 2010, Broadway attendance was 12,106,105.  If the Independent Theater Fund was in effect in 2010, the independent theater community would have just over $605,000.00 to maintain and upgrade venues, provide scholarships for promising writers, directors, designers and performers and mount a high-visibility city-wide marketing campaign for all of the independent theater productions in the city.
The initial allocation of funds has yet to be determined, but areas under discussion include:
- Real Estate Fund (Money for venue renovation and repair, equipment upgrade, etc.  Also, a Seed Money Fund will be created for real estate purchase.)
- Project Grants (Money to create shows.)
- Individual Grants (Money for independent theater artists and practitioners.)

We call on all theaters and companies in New York to join the Fund.

The League of Independent Theater is the advocacy organization for Off-Off Broadway.  We are dedicated to promoting and strengthening the artistic and economic interests of our members, organizing and protecting our members to ensure that independent theater is economically viable for all of its practitioners and to advocate on behalf of the decades-old tradition of Off-Off Broadway. For more information, visit www.litny.org.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Broadway Bound?

They sort of buried the lead here on the New York Times Artsbeat blog. Steve Jobs Monologue Downloadable, Free.

Readers are informed that Mike Daisey will release the full text of his incredibly famous and massively influential monologue for free, and not ask for royalties when it is performed.

The real story is in the final quote from Daisey:

"He also hopes that the free transcript will bring the monologue to another destination: “I have not managed to get this show to Broadway, but if someone else wants to try, more power to them.”

How is it possible that The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is not Broadway bound? Among its list of accomplishments are inspiring the most downloaded episode in the history of This American Life; changing the consciousness of the press about how beloved Apple does business; forcing Apple to actually change its corporate policies; making all of us take a good long look at what we're prepared to accept in order to get comfort and fun. This piece is at the heart of the cultural dialogue. It speaks to uniquely American issues like sending jobs overseas, our love of technology, our blinders when it comes to costs and capitalism, and our deification of those we admire. It's all we hope theater can be: stripped down, personal, immediate, essential, truthful.

How is it that Spider Man has more of a place on Broadway than Mike Daisey? What relationship does Broadway actually have to the finest work of American theater artists anymore?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Starting over

I've recently written two drafts of a play called Traveling to Montpelier, which is a follow up to 2008's When Is A Clock. Sort of the same 'universe' and rules, characters in relationship to the original story.

After two drafts, I actually have decided that the third draft will be starting entirely from scratch, keeping nothing from the original version.

It's the first time I've ever done this. I usually figure there's something salvageable from the initial drafts and impulses. I don't, in fact, think that what I've already written doesn't work. I just gave the whole thing a fair amount of thought and realized it's not really a play I'd be jazzed to sit through. It's got characters and ideas and even some okay writing. I just don't, you know, enjoy it myself. Hard to fix that problem with tweaks.

Anyone out there hit that particular wall before?

Democracy: A Theater Festival

The Brick announces it's ever-changing and ever-intriguing Summer Theater Festival theme. This one involves a great deal of crowd-sourcing and voting and such.

From their website:

In an election year, it is important for all U.S. citizens to do their patriotic duty. For that reason, The Brick is extending its annual Summer Theme Festival Series with DEMOCRACY, an experiment in civic curation that asks audiences to vote for the shows that will participate in our traditional June festival. From there, they will compete with each other during a runoff election cycle in June to determine who will win the title of President of The Brick.

Interested candidates must fill out a Campaign Registration Form (see below) in order to be eligible for the Primary Election, which will be held on Tuesday, March 20. Candidates are also required to create a campaign ad (to be hosted on The Brick's YouTube page) and send a representative to The Brick for a live Primary Debate on Sunday, March 18, where they will be allowed to plead their case before the public. Primary voting will take place online and be open to everyone on the Internet. The 12 shows with the most votes will be invited to take part in the General Election in June, where they will compete with each other to be elected President of The Brick, for a term beginning in January 2013.

Over the course of June, the candidates involved in the General Election will each have no fewer than four Public Appearances (i.e., performances) at which to bring their case directly to the voters, along with multiple other events and online campaigns that leverage social media, endorsements from prominent political and artistic figures, etc. The General Election cycle will conclude on Sunday, July 1, with live voting that will take place exclusively in-person at The Brick, at the end of which the winner will be announced prior to a gala celebration.

While the open election process forbids us from declining candidates based on race, creed, sexual orientation, subject matter, etc., we do encourage candidates whose Public Appearances will be most concerned with the themes of Democracy – its history, its process, our great country's past, present and future, and all related subject matter and ideas pertaining to the word itself and the concept of popular government.