So there I was the other day atop the Empire State Building, and the Demons that haunt all Playwrights came outta nowhere. I won’t list them all (it reads like the Dead Sea Scrolls). I can’t say I fought my way back to the Optimistic World. That doesn’t always happen. But sometimes, your mind breaks out the Comparision Handbook To Playwrights More Successful Than You. Never a good move. What triggers it? You saw somebody mentioned somewhere. You saw somebody get a grant somewhere. Or somebody got a production somewhere. Did I mention the list goes on…….and it’s not a pretty thing. It’s like Spaulding Gray’s monlogue about John Malkovich. Spaulding’s on a cruise. Malkovich’s on the same cruise. Spaulding riffs on Malkovich getting a message about a movie part being offered to him. Spaulding wonders how the backstory machinery that brought Malkovich to this opportunistic moment, didn’t do the same for him. It’s quite hysterical.
Such is the dirty darkside of Playwritting. You want your ego to be out there on somebody’s lips. You want your plays to be somewhere in transit, somewhere on some money-man’s desk, some Artistic Director’s personal gadget—-you want your ideas in their curious little-get-me-Alonzo!!—HANDS. And when you feel as if that place doesn’t exist, those people don’t exist, or that that the galaxy of opportunity is barren……..well, there you are fighting off airplanes on top of tall buildings. So no, this isn’t some grand medical catharsis, or even some overcoming struggle to regain lost identity. No, this is the insidious, creepy fantasia of you and your own damn mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in that place. But I visit enough to know all the players on a first name basis.