Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation

Recommending: Growing your own vegetables

American writers’ punchup

There’s a good ol’ barney sparked by Neil Labute.

Labute throws a good left hook. Calling writers pussies for not tackling the greater world around them. Audiences as wimps too.
George Hunka takes the hit and throws a one-two combination back citing several American counter examples.

They then trade a few blows on the blog (do check it out) before scaling back the blows as they both probably fight on the same side.

But. Then. Into the ring. Naomi “upper cut” Wallace. With kick ass power she reels off a list of deeply engaged writing, enthusiastic audiences of The People Speak Project and claims Labute is myopic.

But NL is out of the ring and simply awaits a Wallace play back in the USA. He wants to be shown how it’s done.
I’ve got to scurry away outta the audience and finish writing my play (and several more) before I’m worthy to get in the ring with these bruisers.

Compare & contrast: Dance / Theatre

I found the review of I am Falling at the Gate by Lyn Gardner, Guardian theatre critic, laid side by side to Luke Jennings’ review, Guardian dance critic, insightful as to the different qualities each look for / are looking for:

Both good reviews -

Lyn Gardner writes:

“…Occasionally, the movement only seems illustrative, but text, motion, lighting and sound often seem to be engaged in their own jostling psychological dance, in which past and present shimmer and merge on a liberating journey into the light…”

Luke Jennings writes:

“…the choreography, by Anna Williams, has the strong, clean lines of Scandinavian furniture, and its locking embraces are straightforwardly expressive of the parents’ mutual love. When the piece moves into more elegiac territory, however, Williams can’t find the language…”

Ben Yeoh writes (!):

“…An intimate form. However, whereas Bausch tends to be absurd, occasionally disjointed, more sudden, less steady in tempo – I am Falling is more continuous, more narrative, simpler, starker, more intimate….”

Lack of Asian work / Labute

Michael Billington claimsThe rich mixture of work coming from British writers of African-Caribbean origin is not matched by those with Asian roots” in this GU blogpost. I wish he had come to see my YELLOW GENTLEMEN but hey that’s probably just me.

Neil Labute makes a call to write bravely about “important matters” and how US theatre may be losing its way.

“…my literary heroes – Harold Pinter, Edward Bond, David Hare, Howard Brenton, Caryl Churchill and Howard Barker. These playwrights, all of them British, not only spoke to me, but shook the very ground I walked on, the ideals I believed in…

…Theatre is not dying. We hear this every so often and have self-important conferences to defend this or that. Theatre is a resilient little shit of an art form that will go on long after any of us are around to worry about it. But it can get stuck, and I believe American theatre is currently in danger of this. I include myself…

…We are small writers in America these days, writing tiny plays about tiny ideas with two to four characters, so that we get produced and nobody loses any money. American playwrights have been workshopped and “staged-readinged” to death, and we are now a fearful bunch who add sitcom lines to our dramas and tie things up at the end so that folks can walk out of theatres smiling….

…Maybe every writer has a political play hidden away in a drawer somewhere, but my guess is that we’ve stopped writing them. Pilot scripts are a lot shorter and easier to hustle.Let’s face it, most writers are pussies. We sit back and watch the world go by, writing down the things we find funny or sad while trying to make a buck off it….

..audience… Let us know that if we are brave enough to write about the stuff that matters, then you’ll come and watch. I may never fight a battle, or run for office, or help an old lady across the street – but when I sit down and put pen to paper, I can promise to write about a subject of some importance, and to do so with honesty and courage. The time for fear and complacency is past. Bravery needs to make a comeback on both sides of the footlights, and fast.”

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  • About me

    I'm a playwright and investment analyst. I have a broad range of interests: food, gardening, innovation & intellectual property, sustainability, architecture & design, writing and the arts. I sit on the board of Talawa Theatre Company and advise a CIS investment trust on socially responsible investments.

  • Recent Work

    Recent plays include, for theatre: Nakamitsu, Yellow Gentlemen, Lost in Peru, Lemon Love. For radio: Places in Between (R4), Patent Breaking Life Saving (WS).

  • Nakamitsu

  • Yellow Gentlemen