Tuesday, August 30, 2011

off-off ills - a reconsideration

Over the weekend I blogged about some of my issues with various aspects of off-off Broadway, sometimes known as "independent theater." After hearing from various indie folks, especially Suave Diplomat Guy, I've reconsidered the excessive harshness of my commentary.

But that doesn't mean I'm entirely mollified...

Many people have said to me that Martin Denton is a swell guy, helps women playwrights etc. I have no reason to dispute this, but here's the thing - members of the Facebook group 50/50 in 2020 complained about a bunch of theatre companies for producing no female playwrights this season - The Public Theater, The Vineyard, Classic Stage Company, MCC, Roundabout; and the Atlantic Theater Company for producing 1 female playwright out of 6. Does anybody believe that all the decision-makers at those theatres are misogynist ogres? I'm sure that any number of people that are associated with those organizations are swell people who help female playwrights.

But that's not enough.

I believe that if Martin Denton had made a serious effort, he could have included a much better male:female ratio of plays on his Indie Theatre Now web site than 93:17.

You want to be nice, and help women playwrights? That's what really counts - producing women playwrights, publishing women playwrights.

I also think that there could be better transparency with disclosing any connections between the people whose work is being reviewed and nytheatre.com or any of its sister organizations. It only makes sense and to my way of thinking, it gives the review itself integrity. The non-disclosure situation makes me have less confidence in the reviews on the site.

Also I think many of the reviews are less incisive and interesting and specific than they could be. Many of the reviews I've read at nytheatre.com seem pretty bland and homogenized. That's an intellectual/aesthetic issue rather than an ethics one - but those things count too.

More on this soon...