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Paul Mullin

Since posting this I have been in communication with Drew McManus and feel strongly that I need to make some points of clarification.

1. Drew responded to my comment on his blog by apologizing if he had offended me. Drew doesn’t know me as well as many of you do, and thus doesn’t understand that it’s nearly impossible to offend me, and that further, I generally take fighting words as an invitation to friendship. Drew is clearly a gentleman. I can only hope that he might consider being friends with someone who is somewhat less than one.

2. Per Drew: “I can assure you that I am indeed an arts consultant and have been for more than 15 years: http://www.orchestraconsulting.com so there's no self describing about it” Well said. I withdraw the diminishing adjective. Clearly it’s my turn to apologize, and I do.

3. It’s not an accident or a mistake that when Drew reached out for an artist that would represent all of theatre he arrived on “playwright”. The mistake came when he assumed we have anything to do with the more egregious errors being made in the name of ensuring the survival of our chosen art form. The bitter irony is that outsiders think playwrights drive what happens in the theatre, whereas insiders understand that we have very little, if any, say in what happens, more’s the pity. Playwrights ARE in fact desperate, often for many of the same reasons that theatre administrators are; however, I stand by my assertion that generally, as a group, playwrights have met these desperate times honorably through their art and through ideas, whereas, American Theatre’s artistic administrators, have, generally as a group, been more inclined to look after their own career survival and the survival of their institutions. When they do this, they tend to make ethical errors, some small, like sacrificing genuine artistic quality and innovation for the safety of the tried and true; but some missteps are more egregious, like being dishonest about how their media coverage is come by. I cannot speak for all playwrights, but I think it’s safe to say that very few of us want to be associated with sort of thing. We want to be proud of our art form and its purveyors.

Drew McManus

Thank you for posting the follow-up Paul. Ultimately, the issue of payola, reducing transparency, and replacing honest culture journalism with entertainment based programs designed to look like traditional news formats is ultimately self defeating.

In fact, I would assert that it's merely a struggle to rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic. Encouraging news outlets that there is value in continued and expanded traditional coverage along with exploring new media opportunities is ultimately a better, although undeniably more difficult, option.

Since our exchange, I've edited the title of my blog post from May 4th from "Desperate Playwrights" to "Desperate Stage-Right." In the end, the more genuine interaction and unfiltered observation is good for the greater arts field.

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