Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mr. Excitement News: Paula Vogel, Richard Nelson and the New American Playwriting Narrative:

Second, as many have noted, Paula Vogel's students from Brown have taken over the American theater. Three of the playwrights at this year's Humana Festival are Brown alumni (a higher number than any other program), while Playwrights Horizons jumped on the bandwagon too. It's always nice to see playwrights breaking through and being successful--and I'm a person who believes that there's room for everybody, in terms of styles.

However, this has also led to a certain sort of play --
which privileges whimsy as its most important element and is typified by the Brown mantra of "the unstagable stage direction" -- being heralded as the New American Playwriting. I'd like to suggest that setting up such a strong narrative about where American playwrights are coming from and what sort of elements typify their plays is a problematic thing.