“I make my living now as a screenwriter! Which I’m surprised and horrified to find myself saying, but I don’t think I can support myself as a playwright at this point. I don’t think anybody does.” — Tony Kushner, in Time Out.
My question to you: if Tony Kushner, who I would argue is the best playwright in America today, can’t support himself as a playwright, can anybody? And if not, should Kushner’s statement be seen as an earthquake that might lead to the examination of the overall theatre business model?
Somehow this nation can support hundreds upon hundreds of regional theatre artistic directors, managing directors, development directors and adjunct staff—a whole class of workers that can only be described as “artistic administrators”; but even our very best writer for the stage must go to film and television for his bread and butter.
We all nod sagely and agree the system’s broken. But if you want to fix it—do more than watch sadly as it dies the death of ragdoll—then I continue to suggest you follow the money and ask impolite questions.
And then, in Paul’s comments section, the discussion gets really fascinating. Go read!