It’s maybe the toughest writing medium to carve out a living with (aside from poetry), I think it’s mostly due to the competitiveness of the theatre industry and the fact that attendances have been lower for some time. Film has by and large become the money-maker.
But if you are truly so serious about playwriting don’t been so quick to abandon the larger field. I did so far practical reasons, but one could consider specializing in other areas of theatre and also literature, e.g. teaching drama or theatre history or playwriting at university, or becoming a dramaturg. I think that one has options that will allow him keep his finger on the pulse of theatre-making if he really wants to. Naturally this would result in connections, which means recommendations, and this can help kick-start a career. Connections are important in every field given the general competitiveness of the job search today
Hi. I'm sorry to hear that you're no longer writing plays, but I just wanted to say that I also stopped attempting to write them, too, because I felt unhappy and frustrated with spending a lot of time and effort writing a lot, being a perfectionist at trying to make sure the manuscripts were in the proper format, etc., only for my work to be rejected.
Plus, it's difficult when a person is from a different generation and socio-economic class than others in the industry.
Thanks, for giving an update and being honest. With coming across so many playwrights with produced plays and awards, it gave the impression that "success begets success," and that, once a playwright receives an award, that they automatically receive more plays produced, more success, etc. It's nice to know that I'm not the only person who hasn't been successful.
Red lotus, your comment on this old post is very touching, it was a long time ago that I won this award. I no longer write for the theater, and lately I haven't been writing much poetry, which I do like to do in my spare time. I never won another award, but I completed around ten plays. I must say that by and large I'm not so proud of the legacy of works I left behind; I started young, and ended young.
I think of Ezra Pound when I think about legacies. His championing of Fascism ruined his career, and the stylistic complexity of his works was and still is, a barrier. At the end of his life, he was talking to Ginsberg about his feelings on his legacy to literature. He denigrated his own poetry, "my poems don't make sense", and his politics, "I was not a lunatic but a moron". By no means do I think he was an idiot, horrible political opinions aside. You can tell he had a sharp mind, there's an interview conducted by Pasolini with Pound on the subject of the 1960's Italian political climate compared to the Fascist period. He speaks clearly and insightfully in a pretty strong Italian. But you can see, even considering his advanced age, that the wind is knocked out of him.
Evaluating one's legacy is a natural thing, the psychologist Erikson put it at the last stage of a person's psychological development in his theory, where a person at the end of his life examines his legacy, and must decide if he or she is satisfied with it all or not. If one is satisfied, a kind of "wisdom" in the face of death is reached. Despair and regret follow a negative evaluation of one's legacy, for some guilty consciences play a role, for others it's missed opportunities. (Eat your heart out Freud! ;) )
This is by no means meant to be a sorrowful post, just thought I'd share some of my looser thoughts on the idea of legacies and my own as a playwright. I still love the theatre and I go when I can. (To Kill A Mockingbird with Jeff Daniels on Broadway was really well done btw)
Your simple comment brought back memories. I'm happy with "The Vacuous Case" of most of all my plays, and I appreciate the commendation.
Last edited on Wed Sep 4th, 2019 02:18 am by RTurco
Just got word that my new play "The Vacuous Case of Mister Um" has won an honorable mention in the Blank Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival. Hooray!
And also, while it did not win the National Young Playwrights Competition provided by Young Playwrights Inc., the play was pleasantly critiqued in a one-page review by the theatre as is a custom in their annual competition. Hooray again!