The Playgoer: And the Pulitzer goes to...

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Monday, April 17, 2006

And the Pulitzer goes to...

For a distinguished play by an American author,
preferably original in its source and dealing with American life, Ten thousand
dollars ($10,000).

No Award

Nominated as finalists in this category were: "Miss
Witherspoon" by Christopher Durang, "The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow" by
Rolin Jones, and "Red Light Winter" by Adam Rapp.
So what do we think? Sad? or true?
Pulitzer to Playwrights: Drop Dead or, Pulitzer to Theatres: Look Harder ?


parabasis said...

Howabout theater to pulitzer committee: go see more plays.

Tom Loughlin said...

Perhaps sad AND true.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to go with a combo of "sad," "true," and "theatres: Look Harder" with a side order of "see more plays," thanks.

parabasis said...

Ian, you just wanna please everybody....


Anonymous said...

Nah, Isaac, I'm just part Scandinavian-American, I like a little bit of everything on the smorgesbord, and avoiding conflict in life (and saving it for the stage).

Now, the other parts of me might simply be less charitable to the entire history of Pulitzer Drama winners, most of which I could happily do without ever thinking of again. Still, looking at all the winners since 1950, I can at least understand why almost all of them (ALMOST) were at least important and "deserving" in their years in ways I don't think the Durang, Jones, or Rapp plays are. Sad and true.

And while I'm sure the committee could have bothered to look around a lot more (though WHY am I sure? that's something to question right there . . . simple pessimism?), I am more sure that there's at least a handful of "Pulitzer-deserving" (whatever that means) plays out there that never got anywhere near a stage, and should have, but for the artistic conservatism and (connected deeply to that) economic fear of the majority of producing organizations.

Anonymous said...

Isaac, which deserving play(s) do you think they missed?

June said...

I really liked "In the Continuum," but was it Pulitzer worthy? Probably not, if only because it's hard to imagine a production that could work as well without the writers as the cast.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't feel as though some immensely Pulitzer-deserving play was overlooked. They used to do this all the time--six times in 12 years (from '62 to '74) there was no drama Pulitzer given.

Although strangely, this has had the effect of making me wish I'd seen more plays this year so I could prove them wrong, wrong, wrong!

P.S. I'm all for the idea of a screenwriting Pulitzer.

parabasis said...

Let's see... I'm sure PLAYGOER has seen more plays (and read more plays) than I have... but the three that come to my mind right now are IN THE CONTINUUM, BACH AT LEIPZIG and PASSION PLAYS: A CYCLE.

Now I can understand why those didn't get nominated (rumor has it one panelist put a kibosh on the first, Charles Isherwood hated the second and the third was done regionally in a not-well-liked production at Arena Stage).

Of course, judging by their short list's quality, I think there were quite a few other plays at least as good as MISS WITHERSPOON (for example).. Matt Smart's "EVERYTHING WILL BE DIFFERENT" at Soho Rep, I'm todl Jordan Harrison's "FINN IN THE UNDERWORLD" at Berkeley Rep was quite beautiful... I dunno. I just think if they tried a little harder to step outside the Big Name In NY Bubble, they'd find a worthy play... there's some history fo them stepping out of said bubble (ANNE IN THE TROPICS comes to mind) but clearly they weren't feeling particularly adventurous right now.

Anonymous said...

Re the three plays Parabasis mentions as being worthy of consideration: The Pulitzer guidelines (for both fiction and drama) state that the prize should go to a piece of writing "preferably dealing with some aspect of American life". There's probably a good argument to be had about whether that's a foolish rule (I think it is), but it would explain why these plays either weren't considered. I seem to remember some minor grumbling that "I Am My Own Wife" only met that qualification in the barest way.

Playgoer said...

I will venture the bold opinion that Bach at Leipzig is a better play than Miss Witherspoon. Perhaps even Red Light Winter! (more on that soon...)

Never saw Jennie Chow. So unless that's the best of the three, I gotta hand it to Itamar....But wait! 18th century Germans, hm....doesn't sound Pulitzer worthy does it.

(Then again, as my friend Professor Bobby V. pointed out to me, by those rules Homebody/Kabul would not qualify even for Pulitzer consideration. Whether you like that play or not--and I don't--that's wrong.)