Thursday, February 21, 2008


(and if no one reads this, at least I'll have something to point people to later.)

The essay and the monologue are not the same, nor are they derived from one another.

That would be this monologue (How Theater Failed America) and this essay (The Empty Spaces).  I know, the essay is subtitled with the name of the show—I wrestled with this, the editor wanted it that way, and that's how it came out. They are not directly related works; they're connected mainly by their creator, who shares the views expressed in both, but each has very different intentions and audiences. The monologue is intended for live performances, and since that is my principal form it probably represents me best—I'm proud of the essay as well, but it was requested by The Stranger for their paper, for whom I've written in the past, and is slanted to some degree toward a specific audience in Seattle. Also, the monologue is 12 to 15 thousand words, while the essay is a little over a tenth that.

I'm very fond of the piece, and delighted that so many have read it—I just want to be clear that isn't some "cutting" from the monologue. That essay would make a very poor monologue—the language would be all wrong for it, and the structure as well. The essay is also not in any way funny, whereas the show is. They're quite different.

Please do not review the show in NYC until it has opened on April 14th.

The only performance HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA has had in NYC was its very first performance, which was the first time it was ever spoken aloud, at the Under The Radar Festival. I'm really pleased with how it went that day—it was one of our best birthings ever—but the show was not open to reviewers for that performance, and therefore I ask that you please do not review it before it opens. If you saw the Seattle shows the ball is in your court—I'd prefer that you wait at this point, but those performances were open to the press, so do what you will.

At the same time, please be clear that I am emphatically in favor of free commentary, and this is just an advisory and a request—you remain a human with free will, and I do think it's good that there's been a lot of foment and discussion. I just want to be clear about what the ground rules were intended to be.

Bear with me if you've sent me email.

I've received hundreds of emails from artists all over the country over the last couple of weeks, and I'm far behind. I've read them all—many are heartbreaking and stirring stories of personal journeys through the arts in America which have been an honor to receive. Others have been messages of support, and many times messages of familiarity as people recognize their own careers in the mirror of the monologue or the essay. I respond to all email received, but given the increase in volume there will be some lag before I do so, and I ask that you bear with me. If a matter is very urgent, please feel free to resend your message if you fear it won't be addressed in time.

11:33 AM