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BCA PlayLab: What We’re Reading

The dramaturgy team will be periodically posting updates and highlights from the 2015 BCA PlayLab in the coming months. Follow along and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!


In the weeks following our first BCA PlayLab meeting, we’ve been collecting articles and essays pertinent to playwriting and life as a writer that we wanted to share with the group. The articles we share aren’t necessarily endorsements, but are a great jumping off point for discussion — here are a few to kick things off:

The Most Successful Creative People Constantly Say ‘No’ – Business Insider

No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes. Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.

An artist compiled all her rejections in an ‘anti-resume.’ Here’s what can be learned from failure – The Washington Post

So the anti-resumé remains my deceptively simple answer to the question, ‘How do you do it?’: that I persisted during all those years of rejection for no other reason than that I loved writing so much I wanted to spend all my time doing it. Writing must be its own reward, even for the most talented and hardworking writers, or they’re going to have a tough time.


Did I get my play about disability ‘wrong’? No, but we need to talk about this – The Stage

Equating able-bodied actors playing physically challenged characters with historic blackface is a false equivalence. Disability, like queerness, is potentially found in everyone regardless of race or gender. Further complicating the issue, disability, like race and gender, is a mutable and evolving thing. Advanced prosthetics let people who were once considered disabled outperform the average able-bodied person. Intermarriage and the mixing of the races increasingly makes race and skin colour a more complicated issue. Gender is also fluid. Men can become women, women can become men and those who choose not to identify as either are fighting for their own recognition.

Write, Erase, Do It Over: On Failure, Risk and Writing Outside Yourself – American Theatre

Writing for me is thinking, and it’s also a way to position myself in the world, particularly when I don’t like what’s going on. It’s extremely important to me. [Confidence] came with time. I knew I always was compelled to do it, but I didn’t know how essential it was to me.

I wrote the first book because I wanted to read it. I thought that kind of book, with that subject—those most vulnerable, most undescribed, not-taken-seriously little black girls—had never existed seriously in literature. No one had ever written about them except as props. Since I couldn’t find a book that did that, I thought, “Well, I’ll write it and then I’ll read it.” It was really the reading impulse that got me into the writing thing.