Don Fried — Playwright & Author

Annoyed and Ready to Write

Posted on: April 4, 2010

Each time I finish a play, especially a full length one, I become more or less catatonic.  I can’t bear even the thought of writing anything else; a state that lasts for anywhere from two to four months.

Then, one day, I realize that I’m seeing things, and starting to get annoyed.  Not that I’m not annoyed a good deal of the time every day.  It’s just that now, I find I’m getting annoyed and wanting to tell people about it.  And that’s when I know I’m ready to write again.

I finished the script of “Getting Betta” in mid February.  Fortunately, in this case my catatonia (sounds like a province in northern Spain, doesn’t it?) corresponded with 2 productions of Shakespeare Incorporated, one of Postville, and a gig of Senior Moments.  So at least I appeared to have an excuse for not being productive.

But this past weekend I went to see 3 plays.  One of them had gotten a great review in a local newspaper, and another had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Frankly, the only one I thought was a particularly good script was the third one, which was presented by a group of recent CU grads I’d taken classes with over the past several years.

But the thing that got me going was the fact that all 3 plays used the same dramatic device — the characters taking turns stepping out of the action of the play and addressing the audience.  I think that device was wonderful for the Stage Manager in Our Town, but that was 80 years ago.  Has it become the hallmark for every worthy contemporary piece of drama?

While I was taking a walk this morning, I started thinking about that and all the other things that annoy me about the playwriting business.  And Whammo!,  a play emerged.  (Actually, it happens in the other direction first, so I guess it “inmerged”.)  The working title for the play is “Catharsis,” and it’s about overuse of hackneyed dramatic devices, people who tell you how to rewrite your plays, writing to formulae for commercial success, not being recognized for your true genius, ….  You get the idea.

“Catharsis” is going to be no more than 10 pages, so it should be finished in a couple of days.

Watch out, world.  I’m annoyed and ready to write!

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