" . . . at the risk of alienating my many dramaturg friends, there is a tendency to want to squeeze out any hint of mystery in a new play by subjecting every little story or character quirk that doesn't correspond to a cause-effect universe. I do imagine that a modern-day Ibsen would constantly have to field questions along the lines of, "but WHY is she such an asshole," or [SPOILER ALERT] "but WHY does she kill herself?"Let's not leave that interesting note hanging, shall we?
As a playwright, it's something I always have to deal with, even with pieces I flat-out say are works in progress! As I said in "What does it mean? What does it MEAN?", I usually don't have a fucking clue. If I did, I'd just say whatever it is I'm trying to say in a more direct medium. Like, I dunno, an article in a medical journal or some shit.
What was your experience with the "But why . . .?" phenomenon? How did it affect your work? How does its existence affect your past, current, and future relationships with other theatre artists? Do you feel you have to "fend off" this mentality before engaging with the work? What should replace this mode of thinking?
When working on the piece itself, how do we get beyond "But why . . . "? What role do actors and directors play in this process? Is there a way to preserve the mystery of a piece while helping the audience see it for what it is? How do you do that?
Did I mention I'm on a real Susan Sontag kick right now?