|Posted on August 12, 2017 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
This article i wrote was published by Samuel French in their July 2017 Breaking Character Magazine. https://www.breakingcharactermagazine.com/can-actually-get-first-play-published/
|Posted on November 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM||comments (2)|
This letter was written in response to an email I received this week.
November 21, 2015
Dear Anonymous Theatre Patron,
The Artistic Director at your local theatre contacted me this week with disturbing news. He has selected my play, A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas: The Musical for his 2015 holiday show, and it seems you disapprove of the term ‘Redneck’ in the title. You disapprove so much, in fact, you convinced the Artistic Director to change the title of my play. In the spirit of Christmas, brotherhood and goodwill, I’d like address your concerns.
First and foremost, I am the creator of the play in question. I labored long and hard to get that play to the form it’s in today. As the playwright, it is my right to name my creation anything I wish. You wouldn’t find it acceptable for the delivery room nurse in the maternity ward to tell you she disapproves of the name you’ve selected for your child, would you? You have a right to name your creation anything you deem appropriate. So do I. Moreover, my publisher and I have entered into a legal and binding agreement whereby my play is ONLY ever produced using the correct title. What you convinced your local Artistic Director to do is against the law! It infringes on my rights as an author. Fortunately, the publisher in this instance is Samuel French, and they have a long history of protecting the rights of their authors.
Second, the term ‘Redneck’ is widely used in comedy the world over. Jeff Foxworthy, who made the term a mainstream staple with his tremendously popular, “You might be a redneck if…” routine, has actually sold more comedy albums than any other artist in the world. A strong indicator that there are a fair few people who don’t see anything wrong with the use of this word.
You may think that because I’m a playwright, I live in NYC and look down on ordinary, hard-working, country folk. Nothing could be further from the truth! I actually live in the south, and I was raised in one of the redneckiest parts of the good old USA – Southwest Michigan. My cousins live for the start of deer season – not just regular deer season. No, they are bow hunters, sitting for hours at a time in deer blinds high up in sturdy Oak trees. My father traveled many times to shoot deer and elk in the Rocky Mountains, and I was raised fishing for Coho and Chinook on Lake Michigan and shooting squirrels and rabbits. (An aside for those who care, I am an avid animal lover, and I no longer shoot at any living thing, but I’m pretty darn good with targets. )
Comedian Richard Pryor made liberal use of another racial term in his memorable comedy routines. He referred to himself as ‘The N Word’, and he often used the term to speak of others as he shared hilarious glimpses into his life and upbringing. And you know what? I was never offended by that word, because Richard Pryor was making a statement about his experiences, and he had a right to use that word.
We regularly see racial commentary in comedy. Jeff Dunham has made millions traveling the world with a puppet that’s supposed to be a Muslim suicide bomber – Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Comedy allows artists to make a commentary on society and where we are and where the artist feels we should be, and most of all, comedy reminds us not to take the world too seriously.
Dear Theatre Patron, I would ask you to give my comedy a fair chance – see the play and hear the message – before you start putting pressure on the Artistic Director to change the title. Unless you’re willing to write a play, get it produced, get it published, and share your work with the world, you can never know the incredible commitment and dedication of a playwright. You can never know how much of ourselves we invest in our work, and you can’t begin to understand how it pains us to hear about a negative response from a patron who’s never bothered to see the show. If you’re a true patron of the arts, trust the Artistic Director at your local theatre, and please, give the play a chance. If you want to criticize it after you’ve seen it, I’m here, and I’m listening.
|Posted on May 2, 2015 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
I was honored to be interviewed for this article on gender parity in the theatre that ran the first weekend of May 2015. Click here to read the full article.
|Posted on November 7, 2014 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
Spoiler Alert: You may learn more about the plot than you really want to know if you read this article, but I post it for you to decide.
|Posted on November 6, 2014 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Click this link to enjoy a wonderful article from my friend Matt Palm at the Orlando Sentinel: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/arts-and-theater/os-kris-bauske-redneck-christmas-eustis-20141104-story.html
|Posted on May 27, 2014 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
Any time I write about the disparity between the number of male playwrights being produced to female playwrights, I always have to steel myself for the inevitable recriminations and accusations from unhappy men in our community. Trust me, I've heard them all, so please don't bother telling me how unfair it is for women to get a boost.
As Co-chair of the 2014 ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards, which recognize non-female centric theatres for achieving gender parity in a given season, I hate to report what a dismal year it's been for women writers. I looked at one theatre yesterday that had done 10 productions last season, and only one of those was written by a woman. Our volunteers have been scouring the internet and coming up with almost no theatres that qualify. If we hadn't opened the nomination process this year to the public, we might have about half the nominations we had last year. The numbers are depressing and frustrating.
So imagine my response when the discussion turned to equal rights and federal funding. Oh yes, my friends, many, many US theatres that only produce plays written by male writers are receiving a big chunk of your federal money to stay open. Years ago when federal funding for sports in colleges was challenged because male sports were getting all the money and there was nothing for women, Congress was forced to make changes that allowed for more scholarship sports for women ~ an equal amount of federal money now goes to fund women's college sports as it does for men's. The NCAA is a shining example of equality in action and a beacon of opportunity for women.
So, why not approach the federal government concerning their ongoing funding of arts entities that have been proven to be skewed toward men. I have never been a feminist, and I don't consider myself an activist, but when I see dozens, even hundreds of organizations in this country producing nearly nothing written by women, and I know that most of these organizations are benefiting from my tax dollar, it makes my blood boil. Would I go to D.C. to ask why this is allowed? You bet your boots I would. And should we, as women playwrights, question the ridiculous imbalance in plays produced by men and funded by our own government? You're darn tooting we should.
A lot of people have been uncomfortable about this topic for a long time, ever since the outstanding study done at Yale in 2009, but nothing has changed. Perhaps it's time to turn things up a notch!