Earlier this month I wrote a piece about Edward Albee, a revolutionary American playwright. It got quite a response from readers. Some swore at me; some calmly pointed out that I must be out of my mind to write such things about such a great man. I laughed it off. After all, what is the value of an opinion piece if it doesn’t inspire heated discussion and the occasional angry rant sprinkled with profanity?
The trouble is that something terrible has happened since I wrote that piece. One of the main criticisms I lobbed Albee’s way was that he was too protective of his work. He wouldn’t let a director touch his plays unless he knew for certain that his original vision would not be distorted in any way. Fair enough, some might say. But where did that leave the role of the director in the creative process?
What is terrible is that I now know how Albee feels. A short time after this piece was written I found myself in the throes of a creative battle. There I was, terrified and alone, clutching my newly written work in my hands. And there he was, The Director, somewhat inexperienced and altogether too cocky, eager to rip my play to shreds with his “creative vision”.
“This is my first time,” I cooed. “I don’t know anything about writing for the theatre. Please be gentle.”
“There’s nothing to fear,” he said. “But when your play is performed, all the female parts will be played by men in drag.”
I cried for days. Is this what it’s like for new playwrights? Or am I just being stubborn and inexperienced? Shouldn’t I trust my director and his interpretation?
No, screw it. I’m fighting this.
Picture credit: amonja (via Flickr)