The Playgoer: Dramatists Guild steps up

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dramatists Guild steps up

Also published in NYT today, a letter (dated March 2) from Dramatists Guild prez and playwright, John Weidman. He apparently wrote it last week, back when the story first broke in McKinley's February 28 article :

To the Editor:
Re "Play About Demonstrator's Death Is Delayed" (Arts pages, Feb. 28):
Jim Nicola, artistic director of the heretofore admirable New York Theater Workshop, flounders around attempting to defend his decision to postpone "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," a provocative new play about Israeli-Palestinian relations, three weeks before its first performance.
Surely the theater is precisely the place where such controversial subjects should be aired and debated. And surely playwrights courageous enough to tackle such controversial material deserve a theater courageous enough not to postpone their play when it proves to be precisely as controversial as they must have known it would be when they accepted it.
John Weidman
New York, March 2, 2006
The writer is president of the Dramatists Guild of America.

So good for the Dramatists Guild for calling this right from the get-go. Too bad no one knew.

I've wondered whether part of the delayed reaction (which I'm glad to call now only "delayed") from prominent playwrights had anything to do with My Name is Rachel Corrie being not only a foreign work a "documentary play"--in other words, no "playwright," per se. I didn't suspect a conscious snub, but perhaps a lack of identification. But statements like that of Christopher Shinn and Weidman here make clear, I hope, the need for solidarity. A play's a play.

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