Wednesday, November 10, 2010

another red letter day for NYCPlaywrights

Well if I had any doubts about changing the way NYCPlaywrights works, tonight's slate of plays erased them utterly.

Tonight's lineup:

  • A short play that recalled The Honeymooners but with Freudian terminology inserted seemingly at random.

  • Another short play by the same author that was basically two men doing monologues that describe the subtext of a job interview, in the most repetitive manner possible.

  • A short play in which a woman's description of being raped as a child is lightly tossed off as an amusing anecdote.

  • Another play by the same author in which a couple on the verge of breaking up is brought back together through shared vehicular homicide. The dramatic issue of the play is "will they stop bickering about his annoying poems that she doesn't want to read." So glad that was resolved.

  • An excerpt of a play about Christopher Marlowe that the author has dragged into NYCPlaywrights meetings repeatedly for over a year, and it has never gotten even a tiny bit better. There are so many things about this play that are wrong, but the one that bugs me the most is that even though the author actually quotes the Marlowe line about loving tobacco and boys, he nevertheless makes Arbella Stewart the great love interest of Marlowe's life.

    ASIDE: Straight men should not be allowed to write plays about Christopher Marlowe - while they do mention his homosexuality, they can't bring themselves to actually portray his homosexuality. The other play I saw about Christopher Marlowe was also written by a straight man, and he had Marlowe on his deathbed thinking not of any lovers, but of his two sisters.

    And both of these Marlowe playwrights stuck Shakespeare into their plays. There's absolutely no reason, biographically, for Marlowe to have any dealings with Shakespeare - at the time of Christopher Marlowe's death, the most celebrated English playwright was... Christopher Marlowe. There's no point in including Shakespeare unless you have something to say about Shakespeare - but if you do have something to say about him, then make the play about him. If you stick him in a play about another playwright you'll only remind the audience - hey, this playwright isn't as good as Shakespeare.

    I only survived the reading of this misbegotten Marlowe play because I knew that it would be the last time I would ever have to hear it.

  • The only play of the evening by a woman was a 10-minute play that was almost an exact re-write of a piece she did a year ago - but this one wasn't quite as good. Not that the other was a masterpiece, but what was the point???

  • And finally and most horribly, an old man play about penises. Oh sweet baby Jesus.

    At least there was a short play by Michael Jalbert in the line-up. It wasn't my favorite play by him - many of his short plays are very good - but it was decent and not a horrible travesty of the craft of playwriting like every other piece read.

    But I'm so happy that come 2011 I won't have to spend every Tuesday enduring mostly awful, idiotic "plays." And after ten years I so deserve it.