Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oh, Good.

'Cause this is what the American theatre needs.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Playwright’s Guide to the Post Office or how to mail your script without going broke

I thought I’d pass along a handy tip for mailing scripts. If it weighs more than a pound, you can save by sending it “Media Mail. It’s not advertised at most post offices, but if you present a package and say with confidence “I’d like to send this media mail, it’s bound” you will pay about half what you would have paid otherwise. The script I sent today would have cost my $5.20 to send via ordinary methods. But instead I only paid $2.80.

But wait, you’re thinking, I don’t bind my scripts before I send them out to this or that play contest/literary manager/residency program application. Not to fret dear playwright, you are still within your rights to send it media mail as the list of eligible materials clearly includes “Playscripts and manuscripts for books, periodicals, and music”. Though for simplicity's sake I would stick with the trusty “it’s bound” unless you enjoy public arguments with post office workers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unworthy of His Love

I'm always glad to see any sign that Stephen Sondheim still picks up a pen from time to time, but I was really glad to see this.

I wasn't glad to see it because I feel one way or another about Porgy and Bess (although his letter made me more excited to see it than I was before) or the team behind this particular production. In a way, I feel for them. They're just trying to get some people interested in their show by giving an exciting interview. I mean, what are they going to say, talk about how little they're going to do? Nobody conducts an interview thinking "I wonder what Stephen Sondheim will say about this..."

But he did say something!

Most folks of his stature grow too old and too rich to write any letters. I like that Sondheim still has things to say (coherent things, David Mamet), still seems to care about what kind of shows are done (not just in New York, but regionally), and puts his thoughts down on paper, rather than tweeting them into the ether.

Sondheim! What would we do without you?

Rock on, Philip Levine

Philip Levine is our new poet laureate. Very cool. And how great is this quote of his from The Times on becoming poet laureate:

“How can I put it? It’s like winning the Pulitzer,” he explained. “If you take it too seriously, you’re an idiot. But if you look at the names of the other poets who have won it, most of them are damn good. Not all of them — I’m not going to name names — but most. My editor was thrilled, and my wife jumped for joy. She hasn’t done that in a while.

If you're like me, you don't read poetry much but wish you did. Well, how about you and I read a poem of his right now, together. This is a good one, courtesy of the internet:

The Simple Truth

I bought a dollar and a half's worth of small red potatoes,
took them home, boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.
Then I walked through the dried fields
on the edge of town. In middle June the light
hung on in the dark furrows at my feet,
and in the mountain oaks overhead the birds
were gathering for the night, the jays and mockers
squawking back and forth, the finches still darting
into the dusty light. The woman who sold me
the potatoes was from Poland; she was someone
out of my childhood in a pink spangled sweater and sunglasses
praising the perfection of all her fruits and vegetables
at the road-side stand and urging me to taste
even the pale, raw sweet corn trucked all the way,
she swore, from New Jersey. "Eat," she said,
"even if you don't I'll say you did."
Some things
you know all your life. They are so simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
My friend Henri and I arrived at this together in 1965
before I went away, before he began to kill himself,
and the two of us to betray our love. Can you taste
what I'm saying? It is onions or potatoes, a pinch
of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is obvious,
it stays in the back of your throat like a truth
you never uttered because the time was always wrong,
it stays there for the rest of your life, unspoken,
made of that dirt we call earth, the metal we call salt,
in a form we have no words for, and you live on it.

Ah, poetry. My summer is complete.