Monday, November 16, 2009

Master class

One of the nice things about running NYCPlaywrights (for a list of lousy things feel free to write in) is that I get freebies like a master class at the Cherry Lane Theater with Tina Howe, which I attended tonight. Although it wasn't really a class so much as Tina Howe sitting around talking about her career. Which wasn't too bad, she had some pretty entertaining anecdotes, like the time Dianne Wiest was almost burned alive in Howe's play THE ART OF DINING when a flaming special effect for the crepes suzette exploded.

She complained that critics like her "white glove" plays better than her "bare hand" plays, but that's probably because much of her work is autobiographical, and her life has been all white gloves - she comes from an upper-class New England family and when she was in her 20s her father gave her the choice of going to graduate school or touring Europe with Jane Alexander. We should all be given such choices when we are in our 20s.

She also said that the ten-minute play is a legitimate art form. She said it about four times, so she must really believe it. She also said that lots of plays performed in the Louisville short play festival are commissions - so there's not much chance of a non-famous playwright getting their work in. Things like this are good to know, if not actually surprising. So I did learn general playwright stuff. And besides, I didn't feel like going to Europe.