Jason Grote is Not a Crime: Thoughts on New Play Development:
So, yeah, I concede that the ratio of development to production is out of whack, and that many theaters use development as a substitute for the far riskier endeavor of producing new plays. I also think that some (but not all) new-play dramaturgy is too close for comfort to the Hollywood practice of producers and studio execs giving "notes" to screenwriters. But I think that the debate on almost all sides is hamstrung by a compulsion toward categorical absolutes - that is, that all play development is evil (or maybe just misguided), or (the far less popular position, but probably the guiding principle of most mainstream theaters) that all dramaturgy is good, and playwrights need guidance. As Isaac points out, I co-chair a theater lab at Soho Rep, so obviously I'm not anti-play development. The fact is that play development labs can be great and they can be awful, and it's some really complex algebra that decides which is which - the lab guidelines, the people involved, the plays themselves, the length and even things like the location and time of day.