This is provoked by the recent Comment in the Winter 08 edition of TDR by Rick DesRochers (TDR: The Drama Review 52:4 T200, p7-11). Although framed by an American context of non-profit regional theatres, DesRochers asks some questions which may well be pertinent to us and source for discussion on Dec 7th or online. I paraphrase and enlarge: Where does interesting new (text-based) performance work come from? How does it get nurtured? If by theatres rather than new play development organisations, is it worth the time and energy if there is no guarantee of a production? (Worth the time and energy to whom?) Might a workshop/play reading be more about ‘audition’ than the creative process, in order to please producers and so hopefully ensure a later production? How do new plays move from development to the stage?
I particularly like that first question: where do new plays come from?
DesRochers contextualises his sense of ‘the new’ with the following provocation:
“A new work of art that offends no one, neither surprises, frightens, mystifies nor startles, is not a new work at all, but a clone of the past.” Craig Lucas (2008)