Sunday, March 25, 2007

Entertainment vs Something To Say?

adding my 2 cents to a "why do we write" discussion....

We have no official creed here. I myself believe that I was called in childhood by the God of Playwrights and the shades of my dead colleagues to wrestle with the Great Questions-- most specifically "How Ought We to Live?"--- and communicate the results of my research in the field though the imitation of the actions of vivid truthful characters in dialogue that is beautiful-- theatrical poetry.

If I already know what I will say before I wrestle, then it probably isn't worth the effort. Somebody else has said it already-- that's how I know it. My repetition will be unearned, and in that respect less than truthful. Well, maybe some old truisms are worth repeating in a skit or 10 minute play, just to remind myself and anybody who sees it that we've been this way before and don't need to keep reliving our mistakes. But it's what I discover in the course of writing/wrighting that is uniquely valuable. That's the thing I am grateful to other writers for "putting me through" in their plays-- they went to a place no one's been before and emerged with the meaning of it, and now thanks to them I have, too.

I don't announce this, of course. The aspiration is so risible that it is no wonder that most of what I write is comedy. But narrative is a way-- perhaps the central way-- we perceive and understand, as well as entertain, ourselves and each other. When I sit in the theatre I want the people on the stage to tell me stories; but stories that reveal significance.



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