Check out Sunday’s Arts Feature in the Washington Post which quotes our very own Ari Roth and examines an issue that is close to many of our hearts here at the J—the development and production of new plays.
The article asks whether the growing popularity of new play development programs does more harm than good by promoting a mindset that reduces the role that playwrights have in their own process. The Richard Nelson speech it refers to can be found here, which is also definitely worth a read.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong side in this discussion. In fact, I do think that everyone is operating with the very best intentions here: of course the playwrights who want to fully realize the story they are telling (without losing sight of their story, without having to turn around and tell someone else’s story); and also the development programs which aim to provide a creative space for writers to work on their play free from the distractions of the “real world”; and finally the theaters, mindful of an atmosphere that is infamously tough on new work and concerned about filling their theater with receptive audiences.
No answers here, just more fodder for thought—particularly interesting to us as we enter a season with three world premieres.