Magazine article Stage Directions

Courtesy towards Stangers

Magazine article Stage Directions

Courtesy towards Stangers

Article excerpt

We're all in this together-except when we're not...

Early in August, Donna Hoke, the western New York regional representative for the Dramatists Guild, wrote a blistering blog post excoriating the submission guidelines of Words Players Theatre, a small youth theatre in Minnesota seeking new plays. The guidelines stated that youth directors at this theatre could modify settings and dialogue and that they would "strive to make each play 'entertaining' to our audiences and may modify the scripts, accordingly."

And the theatre world erupted. Doug Wright, president of the Dramatists Guild wrote a scathing public reprimand to the theatre. Twitter, Facebook and blogs fueled a cycle of outrage. Eventually the theatre's artistic director, Daved Driscoll, publicly apologized in a written response to Wright and the Guild, and in an interview with Playbill.

But I think there's one very important thing about this whole contretemps that hasn't been explored. And that's the idea that, years ago, when this whole festival began for Word Players Theatre, the playwright was still in the room during rehearsal. As Driscoll says in his apology letter to Wright: "Since the writers of the plays were working alongside the actors and directors ... the changes we made in all these plays were an organic part of a workshop process that was collaborative."

To me, that's absolutely key. The playwrights were in the room.

How often does that happen in today's theatrical world? How often does a playwright get to be a part of a play's rehearsal and presentation? …

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