Tony Kushner recently depressed me.
The LA Times has an Awards Season supplement called The Envelope that comes out every Thursday. It has articles on films with awards season buzz and ads, lots of ads.
In December, Tony Kushner was interviewed in an article in The Envelope because he wrote the screenplay for Lincoln about the president, not the car.
In the interview, he states:
You can have a play, like I did with “Angels,” and it still generates income for me, but it’s not enough for me to live on and have health insurance.
My toast eating jaw dropped open when I read that.
This is Tony Kushner. Angels in America Tony Kushner. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he wrote the iconic American play of the 1990s. His plays are required reading and probably still very much in print with shiny nice covers.
If Tony Kushner can’t afford health insurance with just playwriting money, what does that say about the playwriting profession? What does that say about the affordability of health insurance in this country?
Don’t be a playwright in the US. It could kill you.
Is the United States trying to kill off its playwrights? Is there a conspiracy? Are there old men sitting in dark room, smoking cigars, and discussing the eradication of playwrights? Should we playwrights pack up and move to a country that will give us a living? I’m not exactly sure which country that would be. We might have to invent one because, well, we’re playwrights.