The majority of new theater now seems to be “experimental”, “innovative”, and, well, “different”. But if all new theater is like this, then it’s not really “experimental” or “innovative” or “different” anymore, is it?

"Wake Up, Mr. Sleepy! Your Unconscious Mind is Dead!" - by Richard Foreman

I really enjoy some experimental theater – don’t get me wrong. I majored in drama at Vassar College, where experimental theater is pretty much the norm there too. However, I’ve never ventured into writing terribly avant-garde theater. I have one play that gets really weird in the dialogue and story line, but I wouldn’t give it any of the aforementioned adjectives, necessarily.

A great number of the theater companies I’ve been reading about in the Dramatists Sourcebook are looking primarily for plays that “challenge conventional dialogue” and “experiment with time and space” or whatever. My plays, that all take place in someone’s living room, for the most part, and generally follow the definition of “conventional” are suddenly in the category of “not interesting enough”.

Am I capable of writing experimentally? Do I even want to? I wouldn’t know where to begin in trying to incorporate flying trapeze work or silk acrobatics or even masks into my ideas. Am I falling behind the times by not joining in on the avant-garde theater world, or am I simply staying with what works?

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