The Political Limb

A member of the cast in the play I’m directing asked me who I’m voting for. Our theatre is non-profit so I told him as a director of a non-profit organization I can’t discuss politics but if you drive by my house you’ll see the sign in my yard. Involvement in the arts hangs one out on the political limb. First off, everyone assumes you’re liberal. Which I am. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate opposing points of view. Conflict is the stuff of great drama and I am particularly drawn to work that spawns passionate debate over drinks or coffee after a night of theatre. Obviously artists leave their marks on politics in the making all the time. Look at Vaclav Havel or Saturday Night Live, for that matter. The Sarah Palin satire may do more to maintaining a separation of mirth and state while taking full advantage of our most treasured free speech right of mirth and state than any pundit on CNN. After the 2004 election I cried for days then got myself out of bed and in front of a keyboard and composed one of the best collections of politically tainted monologues I’ve ever written. It is true the inspiration for this absurdly funny work may have come at the expense of others, and as soon as my family back in Ohio passes on I’ll publish it. But finding the way to tell it like it is has fallen into the hands of writers and painters and filmmakers since the beginning of time. If you’ve studied theatre as an academic pursuit or thought about it in the shower, you understand that theatre is a reflection of the times in which it lives. And some of the best writing comes from those who hang themselves out on that political limb. So writers, feel free to submit your politically laced works. Do me a favor, though. Send that didactic play to the editor of your local newspaper. At Heartland Plays we espouse literary merit, regardless of the political limb you write with.

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