Thursday, September 15, 2011

RESPONSE: Facepalm.

99Seats hits it right on the money:
Everything you want to know is contained in this right here, every single thing that's wrong with our theatre, the state of playwriting and why puppies die and why chocolate is fattening. Everything that's wrong with everything is right here for you. Read it and weep.
What it is, if you don't want to follow that link, is that Neil LaBute and Teresa Rebeck will be writing a play "live", on a series of possible prompts as stupid as you can imagine. The evil of banality:
  • Ann, the CEO of a large corporation, is interviewing Steve for a job, not realizing they had a one-night stand a few years ago. Will he let her know?
  • Former childhood sweethearts Jenn and Joe, now married to others, reunite at their 20th high school reunion.
  • Ted and Sue meet on the Internet but now they’re taking things to the next level -- meeting in person for a “real” date.
  • Surprise! Recently divorced Sandy and Ken are seated together on a six-hour flight across the country.
  • Robin and Rick fall in love, then discover they’re both the product of a sperm donor -- possibly the same one
  • Kristin enrolls in a figure studies class, then realizes that she knows the nude model, Ron, from church.
So, 99 hits the nail on the head when mocking how stupid the prompts are:
Sigh. So. These are the best, most interesting, most drama-filled scenarios they could think of. This stuff. You know, I get it; Rebeck and LaBute didn't come up with these themselves. But...tell me that these six scenarios aren't the plot lines you could expect to see at our institutional theatres next year? Something that would be hailed as insightful and piercing and telling the true story of our times?
What can I possibly add to that? Well, simply, as a playwright, I really hope that they are actually writing a full play, from start to finish. If their writing process is anything like mine, this will be the longest performance in history -- Neil LaBute and Teresa Rebeck, trapped in front of a webcam for the next two years, spending large amounts of time flipping pencils, tearing up paper, pacing, doodling in the margins, completely changing the premise of the work, yelling at each other, staring at the ceiling, writing entire plays that get thrown in the garbage bin, and then forgetting about it from six to eight months before starting over again.

If anything, it'll keep Neil LaBute from directing stupid movies.

1 comment:

Ian David Moss said...

Actually, it already happened (the "Tuesday" in 99's post was this past Tuesday). Here's the link - transcript is at the bottom: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/09/neil-labute-and-theresa-rebeck-live-playwriting.html

I agree the poll choices were stupid, but I actually thought it turned out to be a pretty cool experiment even so.