#1 - Why a Playwriting Blog? - January 1, 2017

Why a Playwriting Blog?  

Because, as playwrights:

We get stuck.

We get lost.

We get inspired and channel out brilliance and we don't know how to get back there.

We get disillusioned for the business sucks.

We stare at the computer screen hoping it will inspire us.

We need support.

We need to know if we are on track.

We need to find better ways to write.

We need to find better tools to write.

We need to find new ways to create.

We need to break out of our BOX and create some new forms.  (Or better yet create just a good play.)

We need motivation.

We need healthy food.

We need sleep.

We need validation.

We need help with formatting.

We need help with packaging.

We need help period.

And sometimes we are too noble, or self important to admit it.


I am a playwright, in addition to being Artistic Director of Manhattan Rep.

I am a playwright, in addition to being an actor.

I am a playwright, in addition to being a theatre director.

I am a playwright, in addition to being a theatre technician.

I am a playwright, in addition to being a coach.

I am a playwright, in addition to being a filmmaker.

I am a playwright, in addition to being a Yogi.

I am a playwright, in addition to "owning" a theatre in midtown Manhattan for 11 years.

I am a playwright, in addition to being a son, a father, a brother, a loving spouse, a partner, and a pal.

I tell stories. I try to tell important stories, or at least, ones that, I think are compelling.

I used to write revenge plays, to get back at people who were mean to me in life.  I have given that up.  I forgive and move on quickly.

I have written a myriad of plays, many have been produced in NYC and here at Manhattan Rep.

I have also seen more plays that you can imagine working at Manhattan Rep over the past 11 years, (We have produced over 1000 full-length plays and over 2000 short pieces in 11 years,) not to mention having read scores upon scores of plays that we didn't produce at our theatre.

And as a technician running the board at Manhattan Rep, but I have seen scores upon scores upon scores of plays 2, 3 4, 5 times or more!

I have seen what works.

I have seen what doesn't work.

I am turning 59.  It is time for me to share this stuff before I come to an untimely unexpected end, due to some viral fruit fly or bad vitamin I might ingest in hopes of being young again, so maybe my perspective or my questions can reverberate beyond this mortal coil, in the hearts and minds of those playwrights out there who might wander onto our site and read this.

That would be good.  For my perspective is a little different.  It is one not mired in Dramatic Structure from 1015 A.D. or textbooked out from 4 years of getting a B.F.A. when I was 22.  It is about what I have seen, read, wrote, and experienced. It is about WHAT WORKS.  It is about what works TODAY. Not 3 weeks ago, or last Father's Day. It is about what works today, and and HOW and WHY!

If we know a HOW or a WHY, it often can be duplicated.  If we know How or Why something works we can apply it, pop it into our writing and hence, possibly become a little better at what we do.  And when we take a whole bunch of Hows and Whys and add them to our playwriting toolkit - maybe, just maybe, we can be BETTER playwrights, and through that process, become even better people, better citizens of the Planet Earth, who are getting their work, wisdom, humor and sensibilities out into the world, and in some crazy big small way, maybe making a difference with this art form.

So hence this PLAYWRITING BLOG (and a subsequent playwriting podcast being released in Mid - January.)

It will be our place to connect, to get ideas, to vent, to be stuck, to create, to go beyond who and what we think we are and what we believe is possible,

and then,

we can go about creating BRILLIANT, simply AMAZING theatre!

We need theatre now more than ever.  Due to the advent of digital technology, we are becoming disconnected from each other.  We talk to our Facebook Friends at Starbucks but we never sit down one on one and have coffee together.  We watch NetFlix on our phones and tablets. We continually DOWNLOAD video and movies from some server in the cloud directly into our consciousness, and it is GREAT, but there is a missing ingredient, and that ingredient is intrinsic to our survival as human beings on this planet.  

We are missing Community.  

Not online community, but face to face community, and that is what theatre is! Face to face storytelling where human energy and emotion is EXCHANGED, not just downloaded, and this community of face to face storytelling called theatre is transformational and vital, not just because of the stories, but also because of the energy exchange that happens when these stories are acted out.  

Today, more than ever, theatre is needed so that we can grow and heal together as a GLOBAL community.

So please come with me on this journey.  I am committing to at least of year of playwriting tips and strategies at least twice a week here on the pages of manhattanrep.com  (My hope is to post here Monday and Thursdays, and the Playwriting Podcast will be released at least twice a month.) 

Let's do it.  Let's write some great plays, and get them out into the world!

Ken Wolf

Artistic Director, (whatever that is.)

Manhattan Repertory Theatre


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