Playwriting

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Lindsay and I had a painful conversation the other day about a play that was submitted to us. The painful part wasn’t the fact that the script was bad, the painful part was the fact that the script was good. It was very good. As strong as any play we’ve ever had the honour of receiving.

The problem was, it wasn’t a Theatrefolk play. Mainly, the protagonist was an adult.

We’re pretty clear on what types of plays we’re looking for. And we want our customers to clearly understand what we have to offer. We don’t want to be a publisher with a 120 page catalogue filled with all kinds of titles to sort through. And we don’t add plays for the sake of increasing the number of titles. We add plays when they’re good, when they fit, and when we think our customers will love them.

Still, we debated this script for awhile because it was just so darn good. We were so tempted.

Then we asked ourselves, “Would we publish Death of a Salesman?” And the answer is no, we wouldn’t. Decision sadly made.

It really is wonderful to have a definition, a mandate. We know what we are and (more importantly) we know what we aren’t. We know exactly what we have to offer to you and hopefully you have a good idea of what to expect from us.

But I’ll tell you this much… I’ll be the first in line to buy a copy of this play when someone else snaps it up.

About the author

Craig Mason

3 Comments

  • I love that you have the integrity and belief in your mission statement to pass on this script! You are honestly doing the best thing for Theatrefolk AND the playwright. I hope in your ‘rejection letter’ you’ll be able to make suggestions where the playwright should submit it… that would be going above and beyond… and would be perfect!

  • Thanks for your comment! We do try to provide alternatives when we turn down a play. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the quality of the play which is important for writers to know.

  • Hello, Craig– Love that you guys are clear on your mission as well as your brand. There’s another choice, though, besides yes/no. At Arena whenever we read a play that we admire but can’t do ourselves, we recommend it to other producers who seem more suited/available to it. With the permission of this author, you could do a huge service just by naming the play in this post. Someone who CAN produce/publish it likely will if they know which one you’re talking about.