Thursday, September 3, 2009
My Playwrights Draft
Like all such lists there is a lot of subjectivity to this. I have read hundreds of plays over my career, many of them amazing, and many that are painful to read, let alone watch, or worse yet, work on. I firmly believe that the playwright is an active an vital collaborator in the creative process of the show. So I do think about playwrights a lot, those I love (Arthur Miller, Moises Kaufman, William Shakespeare) and those that I could...uh live without (Sam Shepard, my dislike of his work is well documented). But this list is something different to me, it is more about the importance of their work, their skill and talent (both are vitally important) and their impact on the pantheon of American Theatre.
So that being said, without further ado:
1. Arthur Miller -hands down my favorite American playwright, and in my opinion the best
2. Tennessee Williams -his lyrical writing and powerful characters still move me
3. Eugene O'Neil -one of the ones that I do not like, but cannot deny the importance or place on this list
4. August Wilson - The fact that he completed his life's work (ten plays depicting the story of African Americans in the USA each in a different decade of the 20th century) alone makes him vital. Add to the that the beautiful, poetic and powerful plays (Fences, The Piano Lesson, etc.) and he has secured his position as one of the most importnat playwrights ever.
5. Lorraine Hanseberry - not a large collection fo work, but Raisin in the Sun changed everything
6. Neil Simon - another one that I am not fond of, but recognize his place
7. Wendy Wasserstein - one of the top voices for Boomers and women for two decades
8. Edward Albee - Wrote quite a few, less than stellar scripts, but when he got it right his work is still powerful.
9. Thornton Wilder - Come see Our Town in October, that will explain everything
10. William Inge - captured Americana and the voice of the heartland better than anyone else.
Several runners up - Mamet, Shepard (still hate his plays, you hate your dad fine we get it, move on) Letts, Nottage, etc. But if I have to pick 10 these are them.
Share yours, debate mine, anything.
also, become the next great American Playwright, Playwright workshops start this month, see the website for more information.