Despite the digital age, there is..
Despite the digital age, there is a very large number of venues and spaces that are looking for plays, and many of them are looking for new plays.
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My parents took me to see plays, starting from when I was very little. Oftentimes, I was too young to understand. I don't know what my parents were thinking - 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' when I was eight years old, that kind of thing. So lots of times, I didn't understand what was going on, but I just loved the sound of dialogue.
I have all of the Apple products. Everything I've ever written, I've written on a Mac. My first computer, my roommates and I chipped in, and we got that first Macintosh - 128K. It had as much memory as a greeting card that plays music.
A statesman who confines himself to popular legislation - or, for the matter of that, a playwright who confines himself to popular plays - is like a blind man's dog who goes wherever the blind man pulls him, on the ground that both of them want to go to the same place.
We are not what we seem. We are more than what we seem. The actor knows that. And because the actor knows that hidden inside himself there's a wizard and a king, he also knows that when he's playing himself in his daily life, he's playing a part, he's performing, just as he's performing when he plays a part on stage.
When I was first exposed to the films of Ingmar Bergman, I found them frank and disturbing portraits of the world we live in, but that was not something that displeased me. They were beautiful. I thought people would respond to my plays the way I responded to Bergman's films.
I probably have a higher opinion of my writing than the average person, at least when I'm in a good mood, but I don't really think of my plays as only being relevant to a particular month or year.
I started writing plays in around 1967, and at a certain point, I thought, 'I'm writing plays, I should learn about acting and what it is.' So I went to the HB Studio in New York, and I was there for about nine months.
Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation - what are they? They are the happiest people in the world.
I began writing early - very, very early... I was already writing short stories for the radio and selling poems to poetry and art festivals; I was involved in school plays; I wrote essays, so there was no definite moment when I said, 'Now I'm a writer.' I've always been a writer.
When I write plays, I'm already seeing the shapes on stage, of the actors and their interaction, and so on and so forth. I don't think I've ever written one play as an abstract piece, as a literary piece, floating in the air somewhere, to be flushed out later on.
Well, all the plays that I was trying to write were plays that would grab an audience by the throat and not release them, rather than presenting an emotion which you could observe and walk away from.
I can't think of a single one of my plays that does not represent a coincidence between an external and an internal event. Something outside of me, outside even my own life, something I read in a newspaper or witness on the street, something I see or hear, fascinates me. I see it for its dramatic potential.
You'll see that the strong, the affirmative, the positive voice in any of the plays I've written is that of a woman. My men are, well, not quite worthless, but they are certainly weak, and that reflects the reality I grew up with and what I think has in a sense shaped me.
I think all in all, one thing a lot of plays seem to be saying is that we need to, as black Americans, to make a connection with our past in order to determine the kind of future we're going to have. In other words, we simply need to know who we are in relation to our historical presence in America.
From Borges, those wonderful gaucho stories from which I learned that you can be specific as to a time and place and culture and still have the work resonate with the universal themes of love, honor, duty, betrayal, etc. From Amiri Baraka, I learned that all art is political, although I don't write political plays.
I once wrote a short story called 'The Best Blues Singer in the World,' and it went like this: 'The streets that Balboa walked were his own private ocean, and Balboa was drowning.' End of story. That says it all. Nothing else to say. I've been rewriting that same story over and over again. All my plays are rewriting that same story.
I've seen some terrible plays, but I generally enjoy myself. One play I walked out of, I have a tremendous respect for the author. That was Robert Wilson, something called 'Network,' which consisted of Wilson sitting on a bunk, the dialogue of the movie 'Network' looped in while a chair on a rope went up and down.
Scripts were rather scarce in 1968. We did a lot of Amiri Baraka's plays, the agitprop stuff he was writing. It was at a time when black student organizations were active on the campuses, so we were invited to the colleges around Pittsburgh and Ohio, and even as far away as Jackson, Mississippi.
I don't keep a diary and I throw away nearly all the paper I might have kept. I don't keep an archive. There's something worrying about my make-up that I try to leave no trace of myself apart from my plays.
I'm not a theoretician about playwriting, but I have a strong sense that plays have to be pitched - the scene, the line, the word - at the exact point where the audience has just the right amount of information. It's like Occam's razor.
You end up going to school plays quite a bit as a parent, there are a lot of kids who are doing the job as well as they can, but there's always one or two who seem much more at home in the world of impersonation.