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re: My review of the new Off Broadway musical JOAN OF ARC: INTO THE FIRE by David Byrne at the Public
Posted by: Singapore/Fling 11:34 pm EDT 03/16/17
In reply to: re: My review of the new Off Broadway musical JOAN OF ARC: INTO THE FIRE by David Byrne at the Public - jwgnewyork 06:26 pm EDT 03/16/17

I've seen other mentions on this board (possibly from you, I don't remember) about the inability of playwrights without the right MFAs to get noticed by the industry.

For what it's worth, as someone who reads for Off and Off-Off Broadway theaters, plays come across my desk every week from writers who didn't go to one of the ten or so MFA programs whose names carry weight, and I read them (and other readers read them) with just as much interest and openness as those that do come with the Yale seal of approval.

Sure, if a play comes in and Sarah Ruhl has vouched for it, that may help it get looked at a bit more by a lit manager, or it may make its way to the top of the pile faster. And no question, writers who went to the big programs have more opportunities to network than writers who didn't. But those things only go so far. At the end of the day, what matters is the script, and what matters is how the writer connects with directors and artistic directors when given the chance.

I'm not saying that it isn't a harder road for people without those credentials, but it's worth bearing in mind that it's a hard road for everyone. There are less opportunities across the board. There are some Amazing writers who went to those programs who have spent years having their plays making the rounds and being developed and having labs, and they still haven't broken through, while some other so-so writer with no MFA is able to get a play produced because they have the right director, or the right star, or someone with money has gotten behind them. And there are great writers who didn't do their MFA and their script just pops off the page and demands to be produced because it's so good.

I share your confusion when crappy work gets produced and good work languishes. But please communicate to your peers that, at the end of the day, the MFA doesn't mean as much as they might think it does, at least at the theaters I've worked at.
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