George has some primo abyss-looking going on this week here and here. Every time I read them I think my next post will be a response to them, but then I realize I don't know what I want to say in response yet. Very often I'll find myself watching a play or a showcase of short plays and I'll think, "Seriously? This is what you thought you'd do with the limited amount of time you get to be on stage and people have to watch you and listen to you? You thought you'd expend that opportunity on this?" On the other hand, people have to stay in practice in between shots at the moon and they stay in shape with middling, under-rehearsed fare...
I don't know. What George is talking about cuts deeper. Somehow we're not saying things that make people want to stick around and listen. Larry Kramer said last week that people don't want to go to theater anymore just because his hugely successful play wasn't hugely successful a second time, and he was rightly ridiculed for it. But the creepy bit underneath Kramer's words is the part that we don't like to deal with except in - well - our private, abyss-looking moments: do people actually like going to plays? I'm a little grumpy today, but I'm not in all-the-way-abyss mode, so I don't think I'm ready to respond properly yet.
A couple plays I saw recently that really stepped up to the plate (making it doubly a shame I didn't remember to plug them until after they closed) were The Wheat And The Moon by Shawn Hirabayashi, Airport Hilton by Anthony Jaswinski, and A Penny Arcade Portrait of a Busby Berkeley Dream by Timothy Braun. Maybe keep an eye out for these playwrights's names from time to time.
(Also, watch out for Catherine Trieschmann's Crooked, one night only at the HERE Arts Center Sunday July 25th at 7:30pm. I'll plug this one a bit more soon.)
In other SlowLearner news, I'm trying to figure out how to both 1) write more and 2) sleep more at the same time. Playwrights out there: how are you getting enough sleep? Or are you?