#116: Outrageous Fortune, Part II

Christina Ham, John Heimbuch, Joshua Humphrey, and Brian O’Neal continue discussion with a breakdown of chapter II of Outrageous Fortune, The Lives & Livelihoods of Playwrights.

As mentioned previously, we’d like you to join our conversation. Segments III and IV were recorded on Saturday with myself, Brian O’Neal, Christina Ham, and Mat Smart, and segments V and VI, with a possible wrap-up podcast, will be recorded in the upcoming weekend. We’re open to discussion and we’d like to address any interests or questions that listeners have on the show. Let us know through the comments section or by joining us on Twitter.

Look for parts III and IV as the week progresses, along with a Hamlet interview with David McMenomy.

00:00-04:36: Our conversation begins with the most troubling statistic of the chapter: productions of plays constitute only 15% of a playwright’s income.

04:36-05:45: We touch briefly on “premiere-itis” and the consequences of taking a show to New York.

05:45-13:14: There’s talk of sustaining your career and not becoming a big-name playwright before John moves into talking about the staging and scope of plays throughout American theatrical history. Can you say 900 fairies?

13:14-18:52: I swing us back to the conversation back to the income of playwrights, toward grant-writing and the money available for “emerging” playwright. We also discuss the training of theatre artists and how their educations effects the plays they want to produce and watch.

18:52-25:02: The level of expectation associated with graduate track programs for playwriting and the inability of playwrights to support the level of debt they entail.

25:02-26:52: Something not mentioned in the book are those of franchised shows–like Triple Expresso and Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding–that are “off-the-radar” because they’re not canonical.

26:52-30:39: Submission and productions of plays and their drain on a playwright’s time and resources enters the conversation.

30:39-34:30: The depressing nature of the book, in particular this chapter, the career path in which playwrights find themselves, and how John and Christina have benefited from writing and producing in the Twin Cities.

34:30-37:35: We touch on the other ways in which playwrights earn a living and discuss the lure of television.

37:35-43:00: I quote a specific passage on the “ego” of the writer in order to gauge Christina and John’s reaction.


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3 comments for “#116: Outrageous Fortune, Part II

  1. Shorn
    June 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm


    I seem to be having difficulty downloading PART II of this podcast.

  2. Joshua
    June 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’m not certain what the problem is, but the show is available here:


  3. Shorn
    June 6, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Okay, that worked.

    Interesting discussions.

    although hearing the extent of ye old cast size lament is a deeply worrying development.

    for playwrights to feel too scared to dare add a third character to their plays lest that meagre number of cast members be a deal-breaker for producers is really, really troubling.

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