Saturday, October 25, 2008

Charging Bias by Theaters, Female Playwrights to Hold Meeting

Frustrated by what they describe as difficulty in getting their work produced, enough female playwrights to make a standing - room - only crowd are planning to attend a town hall meeting on Monday night to air their grievances with representatives of New York's leading Off Broadway and nonprofit theaters.

The gathering was organized by the playwrights Sarah Schulman and Julia Jordan, who have rallied their colleagues to the cause, contending that their male counterparts in the 2008-9 season are being produced at 14 of the largest Off Broadway institutions at four times the rate that women are. More than 150 playwrights appeared at a meeting last month to discuss the issue, and all 90 seats at New Dramatists, the playwriting center where Monday night’s meeting is scheduled, are already spoken for, and there is a long waiting list.

More at the NYTimes

As I commented on Jason Grote's blog, before he censored me, this is about the money.

But not only money. We do not live in a meritocracy, never have and never will. The Bush administration has been criticized for cronyism, but cronyism is absolutely the standard practice in most of the world. And especially in the arts, where there is no standard for what "good" is - it's extremely subjective. And in fact, I would argue that all forms of art beginning with the early 20th century, with the "modernist" rejection of displays of traditional skills - the ability to write a memorable melody, in music; the ability to write an exciting story, in drama; the ability to create an image, with your own hands that looks like something, in the visual arts - have all lead to art by cronyism. You don't need to hone your skills - you just need to display a basic understanding of the craft and then you schmooze with the right people and through the power of the in-crowd's clout, your work is declared the next new and exciting thing.

And men still have more free time to schmooze, and more money, to afford go out drinking with artistic directors etc.

And then there is the "angry young man" phenomenon which I've blogged about before, and will again, soon.