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Saturday, March 2, 2013

I Should Have Been a Gynecologist Like My Mother Wanted

I wouldn't give up playwriting for anything. But every once in a while the absurdity of life juuuuust misses contact with my funny bone. 

And people wonder why I get testy. My intended, but not sent, reply follows. 
See below. 

"Dear George, 
My name is X and I am the literary director of XYZ Theatre Group. We recently had the pleasure of reading your play, “Oatmeal and a Cigarette.” We found it to be a fascinating psychological study in growth and parenting. From the beginning of the play, we cannot help but root for Billy. The dialogue and dramatic action really drive the play and one begins to want time to slow down so that Billy has enough time to figure out his decision to leave, but 30 years is too much time to reverse the damage done. The moment where Billy asks whether Jane actually loves him and her inability to answer his question is crushing and the play builds fully to that moment. And when Claire's order has been restored, there is nothing settling or encouraging about Billy's future.
Unfortunately, XYZ Theater Group cannot give “Oatmeal and a Cigarette” a home. We really do appreciate you taking the time to send it to us, and of course we also appreciate the passion you put into your writing.

Dear X,
First of all, let me thank you profusely for actually reading my play. As far as I can tell, you are probably the first responder since 2009 who makes me think that you got past scene one and actually read through to the ending. That is, of course, unless you just read scene one and then skipped right through to page 52.
And your painstaking explanation of what I have always believed I wrote not only reassures me that what I wrote is indeed what I intended by all those days of exacerbated typing, but clarifies for me that the synopsis I took three days to write was hopelessly inadequate in light of your succinct and yet moderately incorrect summation of my award-winning dramatic piece. But on the plus side, it's nice to know I didn't accidentally plagiarize "The Glass Menagerie," or even more embarrassingly, "SpiderMan: I Peed in My Costume."
However, primarily because I am the playwright and feel somewhat like a father whose child never gets picked for dodgeball, it's a shame that a play you call a "fascinating psychological study" in which "the dialogue and dramatic action really drive the play," where the catastrophic moment to which "the play builds fully" is no less than "crushing," oddly enough hasn't got what it takes to make it at XYZ. Perhaps instead of "crushing," I should have aimed for something less effectively dramatic, such as "fluffed and folded."
But what ho, every failure is a lesson, they say, so I thank you for incrementally elevating the quality of my life experience while teaching me that excellence of script isn't quite the barometer of success I had been led to believe. And I am further redeemed by the announcement that you appreciate the passion I so naively and yet futilely infused into my pathetic scribbling; perhaps you'd like to stick a maple sugar tap into the script and let the passion drain out onto the floor where you and your cohorts can frolic naked and receive a contact high from the fourteen months of sweat and soul-searching I so foolishly poured into the play.
Please keep an eye on your mailbox as your thoughtful and thorough reply has prompted me to consider sending you a second work in the hope that you may receive a major and extremely painful paper cut upon opening the envelope.


  1. If you don't want to send it via email, perhaps you could write it out and we could send Billy there to delivery the message personally?