March 19, 2010

Is a playwright's work ever done?

Matt Freeman asks some pretty interesting questions to us playwrights over at his blog. A few things to mull over:

That's not a phrase I hear very often, in the collaboration heavy/development happy world of theater. A playscript can often feel, unless it is published, in a constant state of flux. During any production of a play of mine (I don't mean workshop, I mean production) I will receive unsolicited advice quite often on what the next draft of the play should look like, what could or should be changed. The assumption is, I believe, that a play is a moving target, and is never truly finished. I think playwrights have, more often than not, accepted that view of their work.

I'd love to see the term "finished" used more by writers and by those who work in development. There is no piece of work that can satisfy all eyes, all audiences, all metrics. But a writer, and those that he or she trusts, can find a point where they say...not "this is good" but "this is finished."

I also think it's healthy for playwrights to say "this is a finished work." Then, the discussion can evolve. The lectures and lessons from laypersons and professionals alike can end, and a discussion of each play as a fully formed piece of art can emerge.

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