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Duane Kelly
Seattle
Playwright, blogger, short story author, producer
Recent Activity
Duane Kelly is now following Mary Beard
Sep 13, 2014
Thanks for pointing out that 'New Yorker' essay, Roland. Excellent and thoughtful. And gives us a glimpse from the slush pile reader's side. I've never read Lessing's "The Golden Rule." Have you? I'm now thinking maybe I should.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2013 on 'Steps' of Rejection at Extra Criticum
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Great story. Hadn't heard that one. Thanks for sharing it John.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2013 on 'Steps' of Rejection at Extra Criticum
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Thanks Roland. A somewhat parallel observation I would make, drawn from my own experience, is that my least successful plays have been more idea- or concept-driven, and the more successful have been character-driven. When our stories emerge from characters, rather than descend from ideas, it seems like intuition and emotion have freer range. On the other hand, does Brecht prove my theory wrong? What have other writers' experiences been here?
Toggle Commented May 24, 2013 on The Alchemy of Directing at Extra Criticum
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Thank you Roland for starting EC five years ago and sticking with it as its patriarch. It's been an honor contributing. Reading it has helped me feel connected to the arts scene on the national stage, rather than just to the Seattle region where I live. I once was president of a 3,000-member nonprofit organization. One of the many things I learned from that volunteer experience is that 10% of the people do 90% of the work. Others have told me that rule is pretty applicable to all nonprofits whether their focus is religion, environment, politics, whatever.
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I have a feeling that this play will make it to NY. I encourage you to look at the two videos I mention in the post (of Schenkkan and Rauch) if you haven't already. Both writer and director see this play as Shakespearean in scope; it's a tragedy - heavy hangs the head that wears the crown. I'm eager to see it in two weeks when I stop in Ashland on a drive to California. I also am eager to see your Kennedy play. Schenkkan's success with this one should give you heart.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2012 on Dramatic Economics at Extra Criticum
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Your visual is the image that I've always had in my mind's eye. I'm definitely the creature on the right and whenever I get down on myself for slow progress I remind myself who won that famous Aesopian race.
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I'm sure you're right Roland about this play being incubated locally and the journey to Broadway being circuitous. Thanks.
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John, I forgot to add, try to get there a few minutes early and sit on the lower level. I think it's more comfortable and the intimacy between you and the production is further enhanced.
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2012 on Discord inside a Russian Farmhouse at Extra Criticum
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Hi John. That production inspired me. Let us know what you think. Glad you could get a ticket. I heard they're now hard to come by.
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2012 on Discord inside a Russian Farmhouse at Extra Criticum
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I have been so swamped with life stuff the last two months that I haven't been keeping up with Mad Men. I admire the writing (and just about every other aspect of that series – its set design is a special favorite). I have planned to watch this season via Netflix when things calm down for me and your post only strengthens my resolve to do that. In my own writing I sometimes reverse-engineer story. A good little book to read on this subject is “Backwards and Forwards” by David Ball. He shows (paying particular atttention to HAMLET) how story is a column of dominoes that must fall on each other to propel the story forward, and looking at story in reverse often makes that series of causation more evident. Though written from the POV of a dramaturg rather than a script writer, it’s a useful book that I recommend.
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I have been so swamped with life stuff the last two months that I haven't been keeping up with Mad Men. I admire the writing (and just about every other aspect of that series). I have planned to watch this season via Netflix when things calm down for me.
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Hi John. I saw this SALESMAN in early previews and thought it was brilliant. I sat in the last row of the upper balcony and still was riveted. It was also a rare treat to glimpse a set that audiences saw in the initial production generations ago; interesting that Nichols' use of that design from the Kazan production didn't make this mounting feel at all dated or mothbally. Your perception of "generosity" as a key component of Hoffman's talent is also a good insight. Thanks.
Toggle Commented May 14, 2012 on An Experience at Extra Criticum
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Excellent presentation Roland. One would assume that folks in the arts more easily discard preconceptions or look beyond the margins, but that is frequently not true. Thanks for posting.
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I think your hunch is right, Bruce, at least for Seattle where I am. I would guess there's been a net increase in theatre companies here in recent years. The whole field, including Broadway, seems to be in flux right now; the old model is broken but it's not clear what model(s) will replace it.
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Yes, Roland, I do agree. There is no need to make plans for theatre's funeral just yet. There are dark moments when I conflate doubts about my own work with doubts about theatre's future, but those moments are thankfully infrequent.
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$75, ouch! I saw TRIBES during early previews (I went because I’m a fan of Cromer’s work) and paid less than half that via TDF. Since then the reviews came in strong, the play has been extended and discounted TDF tickets are probably no longer available. I was moved by the play and thought it was well written, directed and performed. I had seen OTHER DESERT CITIES on a previous trip and liked it too. I didn’t include DESERT CITIES in the analysis because it’s technically a revival and produced by a nonprofit (Lincoln Center). I don’t know about the failure rate of new musicals to new straight plays. If you’re right that they are riskier, then I imagine that producers are willing to accept that higher risk because when a musical does succeed the return on investment, as you state, is much bigger than for a straight play. It’ll be interesting to see how SEMINAR fares with another star, Jeff Goldblum, replacing Rickman.
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John, I once had a director criticize me for not pushing back enough against his many suggestions. That may have been the best note he gave me on that project.
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Brilliant, funny, funny post, Roland. As Richard Nelson said in his controversial speech four or so years ago, there is a world of difference between a director/theater thinking "Okay, this is a interesting challenge. How can we meet that challenge and make this work?" and "Oh, poor, infantile playwright; how can we help this misguided soul fix his imperfect script?"
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Good post John. Thanks. A mantra I’ve heard in the high-tech industry in Seattle and San Francisco is “Fail faster.” I always have liked that because it combines absolution with the presumption that the road to success is littered with failure. What’s important is to learn your lessons and get on with the next project. While there’s only so fast that scripts can be written (at least by me) that mantra has relevance to artists too.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2012 on Failure at Extra Criticum
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Hi Roland. I think your observations, far from being a rant, are trenchant and spot-on. I recently saw a slew of plays in NY and some were terrific while some had me scratching my head, wondering how the hell did this ever got produced. And thanks for resharing Gary's notes on character voice differentiation. As a volunteer I recently read 10 scripts a company had received over the transom. Most were embarrassingly dreadful. But that's really a different problem than what you're addressing. There's no way the ten plays I read are going to get produced. It's some of the ones that you and I do see produced that give pause and, if we're in a discouraging phase, can amplify our discouragement.
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I really like your "Musicals are built, not typed." Thanks.
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You and Katherine have made an excellent plan, SMASH be damned. I've seen the first two episodes of SMASH and am enjoying it; far superior to GLEE (which I also usually enjoyed).
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How reliable is your source of information that "Dreams From My Father" was ghostwritten? I once heard Frank Rich give a lecture about that book and he certainly had no doubt that Obama wrote it. Not that Frank Rich has always been right.
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Good post, Roland. Thanks. I've always felt that one of the great virtues of theatre and film is to help us understand the commonality of our species. This marketing trend subverts the power of art to do that.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2012 on The Color of Our Audience at Extra Criticum
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