I’m going to dedicate this week’s blog to a sensitive subject – and I do so in the interest of stirring a discussion. I don’t propose to have developed a hard and callused opinion on the matter, but I do, as a writer and literary manager, find myself asking these questions on occasion.
I think we all must.
A few weeks ago a submission announcement went around the web, which included a call to female playwrights and my personal email address.
While I worked to furiously track down the source of this submission call and staunch the flow of scripts steadily flooding my inbox, I also fielded submission after submission. Most of my responses were a polite “Sorry for the confusion, but here’s our official submission language and the correct email address to submit to”, but a few I could tell right off the bat weren’t for us. One in particular was written in Spanish, and I wrote a very polite letter telling the playwright that we didn’t do foreign language plays, but also included a list of theatre companies who might. She responded with a terse “So much for your mission of working with LA female playwrights, then, huh?”
Whoa. Hold your horses, lady!
What had just happened?
She went on to say that to claim our theatre company was interested in LA was a joke, that LA wasn’t just “White.”
Now, if she had done any research at all, she would know that our company is comprised of many different shades of people, and that yes, while we do have a large Caucasian population, we certainly don’t only do plays by/for/or about them.
But facts are rarely an issue to those who have been hit by a nerve… This woman was angry not just at me, but at all the other literary managers or contest readers, or agents, who had (for one reason or another) not responded favorably to her material.
She was frustrated that her work further marginalized her from “Female Playwright” to “Female Foreign Language Playwright”
It threw me back into a familiar and sensitive loop…
(Tomorrow: Part 2, or, Rewind!)