Ilana went on to profess that theaters, especially small theaters, are looking for big amazing works that they can take on to make a big name for themselves. Go back to the idea that if all you produce are small, cheap plays, that's all you're going to be known for. Btw, the class was discussing The Kentucky Cycle that day. Imagine serving that sucker up to some lit managers.
My objective whenever I start a new play is to remind myself that I am writing for the theater. It's not a novel or any other print form. It's not film, though I find the criticism that a play is "cinematic" so annoying; it reminds me of people who will only drink white wine with fish, and red with meat. Why can't art forms merge? But, if I'm writing for the theater, I try think about and include as many dramatic elements that I have at my disposal, and I don't understand people who want to leave all that in the wings, or in some theater's basement.
And sometimes I get heat for how I write. First, I also write for all theater artists on the project. Not just the actors, but the director and all the designers who will be collaborating. They want to be stretched as much as the actors, so why not challenge them?
Once, I had a someone at a theater get furious with me because I had written this stage direction: the entire theater floods with water.
Do you think I literally mean the theater fills up with water? I asked.
Well, that's you wrote, she fumed.
In Highland Center, Indiana, I have mole traps set on the stage. How in the world can we place mole traps on the stage? a reader wondered, as if I was actually suggesting ramming metal traps into wooden floor of the stage. I don't know, but if you can make an angel fall out of the ceiling, you can certainly figure out a way for metal(like) traps to be set on stage.
Yes, these people exist in the theater, and I'm finding there are more of them than I ever thought possible. But I'm also finding there are plenty of theater artists who love scripts that challenge their theatrical talents, sensibility, and whimsy. The big thinkers.