dylanny 
Member since Feb 18, 2010


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Re: “The Footlights' latest follows rebels without a clue

I'm glad to see the debate rages on. WhenI was a young playwright (before the actors in this production were born) I might have been in a rage over the "age question." I don't know. Certainly I shut things down when the text was tampered with in any way (mostly in Europe, where they do t hat kind of thing). And I am annoyingly controlling when it comes to premiers. But you reach a point where you simply must let things go. Now there is the big question here, and the specific question. The big question is what does a change do to the script? (I will make enemies here.) I don't think there is such a thing as color-blind casting in contemporary plays. Changing the race, arbitrarily of a character ALWAYS has some impact on the play. An example: If you cast Honey in Virginia Woolf as Black, you are suddenly making a statement about the most vulnerable character in that play. You may not mean to, but you are. That is problematic to me. But age is so much less graphic. I learned with my first professional production that you often cast slightly older or younger than written, because the best actor for the part isn't exactly the right age. In Pterodactyls, Emma is written as 20. Well, Hope Davis sure wasn't 20! But she was a young woman. It wasn't as if we'd cast one of the Gish sisters! I say all this to suggest, although I was first to react, that the original poster has a valid point-- at least in principle. But where age is concerned, principle is almost always the victim of necessity. The fact that in this instance the age was a choice and not a necessity, doesn't change the fact that this is the area where all playwrights are forced by circumstance to be gymnastically flexible......NIcky Silver

Posted by dylanny on February 19, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Re: “The Footlights' latest follows rebels without a clue

Yikes. The previous poster seems mighty upset. While I did write the play for actors in their late 20s/early 30s, pushing the age down a bit isn't terribly upsetting to me. I have complete control over the premier production and after that I have to let it go. Some imposed ideas are acceptable, some are not. (When they are not, they get shut down, as has happened famously with gender switching of some Edward Albee plays.) It's not always easy to let it go, but a play is a living thing. It's not a movie. As such, I am more pleased that a company is excited to do the play than I am upset about adjusting the age of the characters.....Nicky Silver

Posted by dylanny on February 18, 2010 at 5:09 PM
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