I reviewed another batch of submissions for the NYCPlaywrights Rom-Com project and at this point only 28 plays have made the cut - I had to reject 48 for not being romantic comedies. So almost two-thirds of the submissions are being rejected.
One way I can tell it isn't going to be a romantic comedy is when the playwright attaches the play to an email that says something like "this isn't your usual romantic comedy." That always means it isn't really a romantic comedy but the playwright figured if they call it a romantic comedy they'll fool the reader into believing it is one.
And about a quarter of all the plays have annoyingly specific ages listed for the characters - which happens plenty but much more often if it's a play with a sexual theme - and the man always has to be older than the woman. Not significantly older, more like two or three years older. For instance one play specified the man was 53 and the woman was 50. Now maybe on a cellular level there is a noticeable difference between someone who is 50 and 53, but in terms of anything else there is virtually no difference. Certainly not in casting. Which means the only reason the playwright specified those ages is so it is clear that the man is older. Because in the idiotic, regressive, antiquated mind of the playwright, it can't be a real romance unless the man is older. Even if only by a few years. The rules of the patriarchy must be honored!
God forbid that somebody think that the man was 50 and the woman was 53!
Of course in the world of online dating it does make a huge difference to men, but there the 53 year old men consider themselves slumming if they contact a 43 years old women. Hell, most of them think they're too good for a 33 year old woman. So making the woman a mere 3 years younger is completely pointless.
I was going to say that the big problem as that most of these playwrights don't know what "romance" means - they don't distinguish between love and lust for instance. But actually, they don't know what "comedy" means either. At least not in the Shakespearean sense, in which, even if there aren't a lot of jokes at least there's a happy ending. Half these plays don't even have a happy ending, much less actual comedy. So most of the plays are failing for both reasons - they are neither romantic nor comedic.
At least we have 28 that make the cut. We're only going to pick 10 at the most. And the deadline is almost a month away.