Saturday, May 1, 2010

Advice To Playwrights

"Writers have tremendous courage. You face the blank page or, more aptly these days, the blank screen, and attempt to fill its bottomless maw. Feed me, it screams, as the cursor blinks with accusations and you go about filling it up with your words and musical notations. And when you are done, there is a song or a story that didn't exist before you set out to create it. This task is so daunting that many talented people have forsaken it for easier undertakings, like astrophysics or law. Yet writers have been commodified by producers, marginalized by directors, ignored by audiences, and are sometimes willing, if unwitting, co-conspirators in their own diminishment.  What good is it to do rewrites that you don't believe in only to get the show on, when the show that gets on won't be truly yours? If you don't stand up and speak for your play during the production process... who will? Honor your creation by defending it, believing in it. Demand the respect owed to those who have the courage to face the blank page."
Ralph Sevush


  1. I obviously agree. Underlining that it isn't so much important to express "oneself", but to make a "rewrite" of reality or to create a charming counterpoint to reality. And remembering that at Bach's and Vivaldi's time it was normal to use the themes of other people for one's own compositions without feeling diminuished.,_re_d'Ormus

    At first the audience didn't like this opera, but then it was performed more often than Mozart's "Don Giovanni".

    There is no bottomless maw, but a world filled with events, and it is always thirsty for plausible meanings and for a sense which can last at least for one life-time.

  2. “Writers have tremendous courage.” Yes. And we have to give them respect.

    But on the other side, don´t forget their incurable addiction to fill blank pages. From my experience (out of my family) this doesn´t end before the fingers of the writers hand are getting cold. When they are going to realize that every thing has been said and new ideas are lacking more and more, then they will find a new genre, always propelled by the need of filling blank pages, only for personal survival.

  3. @cs

    This time I disagree, forgive me. Writers usually don't need courage at all. The bookshops are full of non-sense I would be ashamed to write and publish under my name. A new diet has been invented I learned two days ago. Well, it is a bold lie, what the author sells as a new scientific approach. In this case one needs obviously courage, but a pseudoname will be enough to calm the potential fear of such a dishonest author. On the other hand in some cases one needs courage to write the truth, and even a pseudoname cannot assure protection, if it is an awkward truth, as in the case of Rushdie or Saviano.

    I agree with Sevush in principle. But his victimism is going beyond Kurt Weill's conceited heart break.

    It is not that difficult after all to be entertaining, senseful, profound and surface-closely light as well. Especially if you have a standing leg, like Macchiavelli, who wrote also a comedy, or Michelangelo, who didn't only build war fortifications. This attitude of artists being sublime heroes in front of a hostile void is quite irritating and didn't exist before the destiny of some Bohemians in France.