Friday, January 24, 2014

Are there plays you HAVE to read?

So I've been in a love hate relationship with play reading lists. When I was in undergrad we had a play reading list that was semi mandatory. It had everything from Albee to Mamet. And being the artistic rebel that I am I refused to read most of what was on the list because most of my professors and the snootiest people in my department were the people who would turn their nose up at you when you say you haven't read Albee and say "well you can't call yourself an theatre lover until you've read Albee".

And I've heard it all. You're not a theatre person unless you've read this. You're not a movie lover unless you've seen that... You can't call yourself a writer unless you've read this certain author. So I've always heard this enough times and gotten these questions so much I've decided to put my two cents in.
A Great Writer if there ever was one. 

Read What Educates You

To be good in your field that are certain things you should just know about. If you like theatre there should be just some iconic plays that anyone can rattle off the top of their head that you should at least know exist. You should also watch more about what fits into your genre/style. You may say you like it but you may not know everything about it until you've seen some of the seminal works of that genre.

You should read/watch some of the stuff in the canon something that gives you a good sense of history and material for reception conversation. Those are things that you might want to read for your own edification of yourself so you can keep up on your industry. It helps you hold your own when people say, "well I love ______," and then you can say, "Well I've never read that but I have read ________"

I personally think that you should know what you like to do and find people who are doing what you do. Then get everything you can about them and read those people. You should read things not because you feel like you have to but because you want to know everything about what fascinates you. It should come from questions like "how does that work onstage?" "How does all of this work?".

Read What Inspires You

And you should also devour anything that gives you that urge that you have to create something! What things do you love that after you watch/read/listen to them that always gets you in that studio and creating! Those are the things that you should cherish a lot. And I rarely get that from reading plays. But I do get a lot of things from watching plays and movies and reading books or even reading the news. Keep that spur of the moment feeling and use it to your best potential.

So enjoy your reading and get creating. Find what you like and read all about it! And if you have theatre snobs at receptions that get snooty on you drink some more wine and get going to the next convo. And be sure to have fun!

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