There is a Bay Area playwright in our midsts who is living a fantasy that many of us covet when we walk into a playwriting meeting or attend a staged reading.
Susan Sobeloff is the Bay Area playwright who's play, "Merchant$" is currently enjoying a full, twelve-show run. Susan's story is what each of us dreams will happen to us. She wrote a full-length play, got a staged reading for it through the Playwrights' Center of San Francisco, and at this reading, she attracted the interest of No Nude Men, the theater company that is currently hosting a full production of her first play.
Can we make Susan's story the typical story for Bay Area playwrights?
Many of us write with the hope of eventually having our work produced, but we're daunted by the difficulty involved in getting our work onto a stage, and if our work IS produced, we have another hurdle of trying to create an audience for the show. I believe very strongly that the solution to both of these problems is to get our butts into theaters, particularly for shows written by local writers.
As "unknown" writers, theaters take an even bigger risk on producing on our work because we don't have a track record or a fan base of people who will buy tickets for our shows. But we can change that by making ourselves fans of all new Bay Area playwrights.
When a company takes a risk by producing a show from a new playwright and that show doesn't sell tickets, it discourages theaters from continuing to produce work by new playwrights.
As many of us who have worked in theater or self-produced a show know, selling tickets is one of the hardest parts of organizing a production. Marketing then becomes the other factor that determines a playwright's success.
By intentionally seeking out productions from new, local writers, we can create an automatic and reliable audience base for all plays produced by Bay Area writers. This will ensure the success of individual productions and ultimately increase our own access to production opportunities down the line.
Support local writers, support theaters producing work by local writers, and have a good time by attending shows written by your playwriting colleagues.