A game of Devil’s Advocate, wherein the Devil hates plays and his advocate gets into an argument about them with playwright Steven Dietz


DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Putting on a play is a lot of work. You need actors, a script, a venue, and an audience willing to come to that venue when you tell them to. Then, once all the actors have learned their lines and rehearsed the damn thing ad nauseam, you have to get them to perform it perfectly again and again until everyone who wants to has seen your play. Depressingly, each performance disappears into the ether AS IT IS BEING PERFORMED, never to be seen again.

On the other hand, if you can scrape together a few hundred dollars for a digital camera and some rudimentary lights, you can film your dramatic work. And once you’re finished, you can easily distribute your work (via the internet) to millions of people, who are free to enjoy it whenever they want to, again and again if they choose, all in one sitting, or in bite sized chunks if they prefer. If they like it, they can easily share it with hundreds of friends and/or loved ones. Best of all, nobody has to put on a sport jacket or pay too much for cheap wine.

Filming the thing seems to win from a quality assurance standpoint as well. After all, if you record your dramatic work, you can focus the audience’s eyes on exactly on what you want them to see. Actors can act however they please, rather then being forced to act to the back row (thus overacting for everyone else in the theater). And if they flub a line, or miss a cue, or get sick, or tired, or you want to take a few hours (or a few weeks or years or decades) off, you can just take a break and start shooting again whenever you’re ready.

With digital movie making so cheap and easy these days, there’s no need to put on a play anymore, right? Wouldn’t you agree that it’s finally okay if staged drama, which has served humankind nobly for millenia, gets put out to pasture? We don’t need plays anymore, right?

STEVEN DIETZ: Au contraire.

-Norm De Plume

Published in: on April 21, 2008 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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