Over at the 2AM blog, there’s a post about “A Playwright’s Responsibility.” This is something that I think about a fair bit, and now seems as good a time as any to address it.
I feel I have a great responsibility as an artist. I take writing seriously and it seriously pisses me off when writers write frivolously. Or when my writing is dismissed. (Remind me to sit down with you one day and let me share my feelings on having my plays described as “cute skits.”) This is not to say that everything I write is “serious” or that I am a “serious” writer. Far, far from it. (Remind me to sit down with you one day and let me share my feelings on writers who take themselves too seriously) I think the joy, the light, the simple experience of theatre is just as important as any intense message. It may be more important. I’ve had a lot of debris come my way about some of those joyful plays of mine. Except I know better. I know why they exist, and I stand by them.
My responsibility isn’t global, it’s pretty small. I work in a small market, with a small group of folks. They too often get dismissed as having little importance in the world. But the responsibility of writing for teenagers is pretty epic. I’ve seen teenagers change drastically just by being in a play. I’ve seen teenagers change their life path by writing a play. I’ve had teenagers tell me the only thing that has given them hope in a certain period of their lives was being in a play. My play.
That is not something to take lightly. And I don’t. For my audience, it’s not necessarily about the content. It’s about the act. The experience. And that’s why I have the same amount of pride in my light plays as my heavy. Each type involves an important theatrical experience.
So that in the end, I think is at the heart of my responsibility. To respect the theatrical experience I am putting out into the world. I like that. I should get it embroidered on tea towels.