Thursday, November 1, 2007


Two days after I find my Gide quote, Joshua James vents his frustration with what he perceives as a lack of respect for the playwright in today's theatre world.

I agree with some, I disagree with some.

But the one thing I keep seeing come up in the comments as well is this wrath against people telling playwrights what their play is about. So Gide gets a repeat performance right quick:

“Before I explain my book to others, I expect them to explain it to me. To claim to explain it first is to immediately narrow down its reach; for if we know what we intended to say, we do not know whether we said only that. - One always says more than THAT. - And what interests me most is what I put in without knowing, - that unconscious share, which I would like to call God’s share.”

When working with one of my scripts, I either want complete control or no control at all. If the idea is to put up the show just as I intended it, I might as well direct it, too. Otherwise, I wanna see what others take from it. By all means, production team, let me know what you're doing. If there's anything you feel might be particularly contentious, sure, ask me for my input. But I don't do this to beat my message into other people. I've said what I wanted to say -- it's there on the paper. If people (audience and artists alike) take that out of it, awesome! If they take something else out of it, even better! If a director (or a "snot-nosed kid with an MFA") gets a feeling so strong out of my work that they want to put it up, who am I to say they're doing it wrong? I don't let people tell me I'm writing wrong.

So please, tell me what my play is about. Because I'm probably not going to tell you.


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