View single post by Doug B
 Posted: Thu Aug 31st, 2017 07:28 pm
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Doug B

Joined: Thu May 20th, 2010
Location: Eastsound, Washington USA
Posts: 94
I read a hundred plays a year trying to find 4 or 5 that we will produce. I have a reasonable list of drama's that we can do given the right director and actors. I am always struggling to find enough comedies.

Several years ago, a very smart person told me that the difference between comedies and dramas is a matter of degree: All good drama's have some humor and all good comedies have some drama. If I can make people laugh and cry in the same play, I'm doing something right.

Next week we open "The Other Place" by Sharr White, a heavy drama about a woman's descent into dementia. It would be a long night of theater if we weren't able to find some lightness.

We've done "Noises Off" and "Lend me A Tenor" and most of the other well known comedies (farces). My favorite play was (is) "The Dixie Swim Club" by Jones, Wooten and Hope. It is a funny, funny, pee in your pants comedy but the characters face real problems: alcoholism, dementia and aging.

When I read a play, I'm looking at two thing: The story and the characters. Another very wise person told me a long time ago: If you do a play that says George Bush is doing a good to an audience who thinks George Bush IS doing a good job, what have you accomplished? (I told you it was a long time ago). My first criteria is: Is the message of this play something that our audiences need to hear?

I'm going to spend six months with the characters. Do I like them enough to spend that much time with them? Are they real or just talking shells? Are they compelling? Interesting? Will the audience identify/care about them?

Then I look at whether the means of telling the story is appropriate: Comedy or drama.

I don't like stupid comedies. I know they can be funny and I have directed more of them than I care to count. Audiences like them but they aren't a lot of fun for me to direct.

One final comment: Yes, I read over a hundred plays a year but I finish far fewer. My system is to print out the first 25 pages, stick them in my bag and read them when I have a down minute or two (and before I go to sleep at night). If I'm still interested at the end of the 25 pages, I print the next 25 pages and so on until I get tired of the play or finish the play. If I finish it, it goes into one of three piles: 1) This is a play I want to spend more time on (about 10%); 2) Not for me but I'll pass it on to (person who does this kind of play well - for example I know a Director who loves plays about the military and does them well) (about 5%) and 3) Plays that are good but not good enough.

A lot of Directors look through the three stacks or ask me if I know a play that . . . . Sometimes I will sit on a play for years waiting for the right time to do it. I sat on "God Damn Tom" by Wayne Rawley for almost 10 years before the right time to produce it came. Right now I'm sitting on "Bakersfield Mist" by Stephen Sachs waiting for the right time to do it.

Enough for today. Hope I haven't bored you.

Doug B

Last edited on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 07:31 pm by Doug B