Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Playwrights x 3

I have talked earlier about how playwrights should get more money. And I have also been known to expound on how the greatest growth for playwrights comes through productions. It seems like the Mellon Foundation agrees. Well they agree with a ton of money which in my book carries more weight than just someone nodding their head over a beer in Little Italy.

I have been obsessing over playwrights recently because, {insert totally shameless plug here}, Obsidian has been working on putting together an International Playwrights Forum, seeing some plays, hearing some readings from local playwrights and generally grooving with some international ones all for the low cost of $5 FOB. I find it hard to believe that we have not hit our target of 100 participants. Frankly I am somewhat appalled by that fact.

Black Canadian plays are a scarce commodity. I wish I was sitting here with so many scripts that I could plan for the next three years. Well I can do that but not with Canadian plays. I am at my wits end for one of those breakout plays. A play that has the music inside it and just hums along. A play that transcends the obvious and playwrights who start to eschew the literal narrative form for other means of theatrical expression.

One of the best things about our Forum is the fact that all the international playwrights are mixed race and their work either explores that fact or leaves it behind for other things that interests them. This is a unique opportunity to have one of those real cross pollination experiences instead of staying inside the confines of the funding reserves.

Maybe if we start to commit to the idea of the playwright as a full partner in the centre of our art then other people will as well and maybe, just maybe, there might be a Canadian version of the Mellon Foundation that will fight against the cult of the virgin play and pour some new money into production


Pollard said...

I wanted to say something and not just bypass the challenge you face and the importance of what you do for a very important form of creativity and expression. I am often reminded that a challenge, or deficit or lack of something, is a sign of our need to exist. It is a reminder of our purpose and why our work is important. In your challenge, I find the excitement (& frustration too) of knowing that what I am working on has a purpose and meaning to those aware and not yet aware.
This is what I felt when reading your post: this is not easy but it is valuable if we can achieve some f the mission. The need is there.
Continued energy and success in a very important journey.
Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet, Mr Moodie's Riot and Bailey & Lewis' Sistahs have made a fan who understands the value of your work.


Obsidian Theatre said...

Hey Lloyd,

thank you fo your comments. I usually try to frame things as opportunities and not problems. Sometimes it feels like you are pulling a surrey and sometimes a travois. Either way you get to pull it's only the load that is different.
Thank you for reading my vent. It is always nice to have a person hear and respond.


MK Piatkowski said...

Hey Philip, apologies for taking so long to get over here. Just want to tell you it killed me to miss the conference. Sadly, I work weekends and couldn't find anyone to take even one shift. I hope it went well though.

As for playwrights getting more money, I think you know how I feel about that. We're fighting the same battle here. Finding those breakout plays will happen because of the work you and others are doing. Keep the faith.