Sunday, August 16, 2009

they never listen

Well another ex-member of NYCPlaywrights who ignored my opinion about his lousy play found out maybe I wasn't in the minority after all. A certain percentage of playwright wanna-bes show up at NYCPlaywrights meetings asking for feedback about their play, fully expecting to be praised. So if you are honest and tell them that their play is not the greatest thing since HAMLET they will assume you're just an idiot who doesn't know what you're talking about.

The worst offenders are young men, in my experience. One guy wrote a nasty "parody" of OUR TOWN that was about three hours long and played the rape of a little girl (not staged thank god, but told in a reminiscence) for laughs - it was justifiably slammed in a review.

Another guy wrote a play about a bunch of sociopathic losers sitting around being cruel to each other and making prank phone calls to a senile grandmother - also slammed in a review, although not nearly as harshly as I felt it deserved.

Another young man wrote a play in which a gay man requests a friend of his to falsely accuse him of molesting her son so that he can go to jail and be somebody's bitch - I am NOT kidding - but finds out that jail sex is not nearly as exciting as he had believed. Let that be a lesson to any of you out there who are planning to request someone falsely accuse you of molesting.

The latest self-indulgent young guy wrote a play that had a less offensive premise than the other three mentioned, but made up for that with incredibly trite dialog, and a slow-moving, weak plot. However, I don't think any of the reviews pointed out the noxiousness of the white-man-as-the-protagonist-in-a-country-of-black-people scenario, but maybe because movies have inured them to the concept of white men being the protagonist of every situation. In any case, the play was rightly roundly criticized.

But hey, why should they listen to ME? I've only been running a weekly playscript-reading group for nine years and have heard thousands of plays, in addition to being a playwright myself. Clearly I have no idea what works in a script, and if I don't like their play it's because I'm just a stupid woman, or a mean bitchy woman. And yes, I do think that sexism has something to do with their disregard of my opinions. Empirical studies have shown that women's opinions are accorded less respect than men's by almost everybody, including liberals. But most of the critics who slammed these plays were male - maybe NOW they'll pay attention and either learn how to write a play, or go find something else to do.