Sunday, April 08, 2012

more theatre gripes

The NYCPlaywrights April Play of the Month required that all plays pass the Bechdel test - which means that the plays - the ten-minute plays - have to have prominent female characters. And it's pretty clear that what alot of the people who submitted work did was simply change a male character into a female one. I can tell because there are a very high number of female characters that just happen to have male names in the submissions pile.

Another trick is to excerpt a scene from a full-length play and present it as a 10-minute play. I'm sure this contributes to, but isn't only responsible for plays that are a huge peeve of mine which I call "The Play Where They Talk About Something Exciting That Happened Some Other Place and Time." Or the short version "Reminiscence Plays."

Here is but one of dozens of samples submitted for the April Play of the Month - a mother and daughter reminisce about their husband/father and the mother tells the daughter that her husband, who had been in jail, told her he was in love with a man. Now that scene would have been interesting - instead we get this second-hand retelling of the scene. And technically this play doesn't even pass the Bechdel test since  the mother and daughter spend the whole time talking about the father, with a few minor conversational side-trips.

My other peeve - many of the submitters included bios bragging about all the awards they or the play they were submitting have won. That does not impress me - so many judges of plays can't tell shit from Shinola. One of the submitters went so far as to claim that he is "One of the world’s leading experts in short plays." And yet, strangely, the play he submitted was extremely mediocre.

Show biz - oy vay!