Thursday, September 28, 2006

censorship, author's rights, directors

On Sep 28, 2006, M C wrote:
An actress friend of mine.. told me that her boyfriend gave a play to someone to do. "And they destroyed it." Has anyone sat while their play was being destroyed?

I replied:
Mess up the production, yes? But spoil the play? The author can yank the rights if what is on stage is "wrong". Friends of mine have done this. I turned down a production of my "most important" play because the company had no black actors and weren't willing to reach out to any.
Several friends have arrived at opening to discover that the director has re-written or re-arranged the script without permission. At that point they usually pray it won't be reviewed and will disappear without comment. I've shown up to discover my German-American Protestant senior citizen characters being played as 1st generation Irish Catholics, but it didn't bother me much. The play has been done before and after that, and no one else has ever decided to play them with that accent.
Playwrights can sue-- some do. Unauthrized changes happens all the time, to one degree or another. The cult of the director causes one set of problems, the cuts of genteel censors are something else.

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