What if playwrights were in charge of the development of their own plays?
What if, instead of independent development companies which invite competitive submissions from playwrights, to pick and choose who “gets” to receive the opportunity of having their play developed by that company – what if instead of that, playwrights put their play out there, and invited competitive submissions from small theatre companies and such, to pick and choose who “gets” to receive the honor of developing their play?
(Or, really, change “instead of” to “in addition to” – there’s no reason both types couldn’t coexist.)
(Such an organization would essentially be like 13P, I realize, although it’s not quite the same.)
I’m putting this out there just as a provocative thought exercise – Why Are Things The Way They Are?
What would it look like if the playwrights had more of the power, instead of grovelling and competing for the attentions of producers and developers? Why isn’t it that way?
Is it just a numbers game? There are almost definitely more playwrights – and certainly more individual new plays, several from each of those playwrights – than there are producers/developers. There is not enough time for every new play – not even every good new play – to be developed or produced or even stage-read. (Isn’t that true?) Therefore the scarcity in the system is on the producers’ side – therefore the playwrights are the ones who have to compete. It’s a buyer’s market, so to speak.
Would a seller’s market-style, bottom-up, playwright-directed acquisition process be possible for the more elite playwrights if not the nobodies and novices? Could it be possible for, here in D.C. for instance, for our most successful local playwrights to band together and put their current work out there on the web – to say, here is Jane Doe’s current play she is working on, who out there wants the privilege of taking the reins on developing it? Here is John Doe’s current play he has finished and he’s looking for its first production, who out there gets to have it?
Things to think about.