Friday, August 15, 2014

Upcoming rants

UPDATE: damn NC your friends are blowing up my web analytics.
And you know I'm right about the zombies.

As soon as I have a little down time I will be writing and posting three righteous rants on this here blog:

Rant #1 - what is wrong with the "romantic comedy"

I made a good start on this one by including in the NYCPlaywrights weekly email blast a few weeks ago a whole slew of links to articles on what is wrong with the romantic comedy. If you want to see them you can sign up for the NYCPlaywrights weekly email blast and look through the archives. I have issues with Bitter Gertrude's opinion on the subject - she wants to fire all romantic comedies into the moon, as if the existence of some bad rom-coms makes the entire genre worthless crap.

Rant #2 - the theater audience is older women. Get over it. 

It isn't fashionable to be a blatant misogynist, so theater hipsters will not admit to it, but a major reason why theater producers keep trying to lure straight men into the theater is because they are mortified by the fact that the theater audience skews female. I really believe the attitude is this: women, especially over 40 = stupid cows. This is why it's vitally important to try to fill your theater with men under 40, preferably hipsters in porkpie hats and tattoos. It isn't just Broadway either. Off Broadway and "Independent Theater" is all about pushing plays about zombies and sci-fi and noir clowns these days. Because that's what straight guys care about. For as the article about theater producers above states:
“It’s always been a holy grail on Broadway — to have a show that universally appeals to men and women,” said Michele Groner, the lead marketing executive for “Rocky.” “Women are the low-hanging fruit. Trying to appeal to men is an increasingly scary challenge.” (The attendance problem is mostly with straight men; gay men are widely considered by producers and group sales agents to be a reliable Broadway demographic.)
Theresa Rebeck was delightfully apoplectic over that "low-hanging fruit" comment.

I believe that one of the reasons why there is still such resistance to producing plays by women is because the fear is that plays by women will likely bring in even more women, thus compounding the problem of too many women in the audience. And if you think that's far-fetched consider this: one of the excuses given for why there aren't more plays produced about people of color (and written by people of color) is because the audience is so overwhelmingly white. But that excuse breaks down when it comes to women - women are a clear majority of the audience in theaters - and yet that does not translate into more plays by and about women - something that a majority female audience would prefer. Giving the audience what it wants is a pretty basic component of making money. So that shows you just how really deep the misogyny goes - theater decision-makers from Broadway on down would sacrifice profits to prevent girl germs from ruining the coolness quotient of the theater. Bring on the zombies!

Rant #3 - Bitter Gertrude is full of shit when she claims that female playwrights are more likely to write "reactive" characters.

My first introduction to the kind of thing BG is talking about was Jeff Sweet talking about the work of Neil Simon. Who, you might be interested to know, is male, and a very commercially successful playwright.

But more than that, BG almost never bothers to back up any of her claims on her blog ever with empirical evidence, and this is no exception. She makes reference to the new plays she's read, but she doesn't offer any examples. And I for one am not willing to take her word for it because:
A. I have read lots of new plays and this has not been my experience and
B. I think BG has plenty of internalized misogyny to get over - although internalized misogyny is probably helpful if you want to attempt to be a bigshot in an artform that is still completely dominated by men, the way theater is.