Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Copyright Hurts Playwrights III: Blanche Survives Hurricane Katrina

Good lord. I could rewrite last night's post WORD FOR WORD and it would almost exactly apply to the one man show Blanche DuBois Survives Hurricane Katrina In A FEMA Trailer Named Desire. Because his show is also illegal theater: the University of the South is threatening to sue.

Now, there's a tiny glimmer of hope for this show, which is that (unlike Architecting) there's an argument that Blanche DuBois... falls under the fair use rights accorded to parody. I have a feeling that's an uphill battle.

And this is a classic example of what I talked about in my first post on How Copyright Hurts Playwrights. Tennessee Williams is one of the big, canonical writers of the 20th Century. And his estate (which, apparently, is the University of the South) is holding back one of the most acclaimed new plays of the 21st. This is a play that swept awards at the Fringe Fest, and got moved to off-Broadway (a rare fate for an off-off-Broadway play).

And it is illegal.

A new generation of criminals.