The fact is that tight economics are increasingly shaping the creative decisions in today’s theaters. In early February I went to a reading of a promising new play, Unbleached, at The New Repertory Theatre. Playwright Michael Aman said in the discussion period that he would have liked to include more characters in the script, but that the cost was prohibitive – he would have to “wait for the movie version” before he could pen what he really wanted to put on
Swing that lethal a budgetary axe through the history of the theater
and most of the great plays would snap like dry weeds – how many dramas by the Greeks, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Shaw, and Brecht contain two to four characters? Very few. The absurdist Samuel Beckett would be the perfect playwright for the age of dollar cost average — if he were more cheerful.
Marx also touches on the point Thomas Garvey first brought up back in February, and then Ed Siegel voiced in an editorial at the beginning of March. "Why aren't the larger houses doing the premieres by our major dramatists?"
More on that later.