Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Once More Into the Breach!

Another round of the debate with those who think that doing a play that has no discoverable copyright holder is a major Crime, a mortal Sin, and grounds for expulsion from the Community of right-thinking artists and scholars:

I just want to say again that as a playwright this seems insane to me! Writers write because they want to be read: playwrights because they want to be performed. There are only a handful of people who make a living from writing for the stage: most of us do it out of love, at great financial sacrifice. If there is not enough economic potential in a work to appeal to the publisher's self-interest, the play will go out of print. That doesn't mean that the writer has chosen to disappear into silence! Maybe the writer, once promising and "emergent", has sunk into a permanent depression and is living on SSI in a tailer park with six cats. Maybe he has changed his name and become a Player, living in a penthouse and making deals with people who would have nothing but contempt for the writer he used to be. Maybe he's dead. But -- I can't imagine any circumstance where he-- or she--or we-- would choose silence and death for the play. There is no greater tribute a director or producer can pay than to mount a writer's play-- especially a play so lacking in box office potential that the previous rights holder has no interest in it! What "ego" is involve in this act of love? What possible harm can it do? If George's production is successful enough to get some publicity and the author should happen to read about it, does anyone really think that the author's reaction to his words being given new life would be rage rather than gratification?


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