Last night, Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks hosted a panel discussion (the first of a three-part series) with artistic directors at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
A few folks, including Strand Theater artistic director Elissa Goetschius, dutifully tweeted the proceedings which began about as drearily as you'd expect: ".@petermarksdrama acknowledges how the relationship between ADs and critics is frequently strained, but expresses his admiration." (Yawn.)
The thread showed a glimmer of feistiness after playwright Steve Spotswood tweeted a photo of the stage:
Rivas started tweeting statistics on the conservatism and conformity of regional-theater programming. He said he'd conducted a survey of 150 off-Broadway and regional theaters and found that this season, there were more productions of Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (15) than there were of works by August Wilson and Lynn Nottage combined (9). And there were 14 productions of Venus in Fur (now playing at the Seattle Rep!) versus 12 productions by Quiara Hudes, David Henry Hwang, and Karen Zacarias combined.
So far, so good—the big-shots talking and catching some well-earned flak. But the real fun starts around 4:48 when Ryan Rilette of the Roundhouse Theater in Maryland steps in it:
Wow. That Ryan Rilette just can't stop throwing shit into the fan can he? (To be fair, he later claimed the quote was out of context.)
I posted a few of the (many, many) responses below, but you should check out the whole thing. It's a funny, scorching, and sad picture of the fracture lines in big-house theater these days. (And thanks to playwright—lady playwright!—Holly Arsenault for the tip.)
You know what I find "dated"? 400 year old plays by white guys. Not "feminist plays", whatever the hell that is. #TheSummit — Kari Bentley-Quinn (@inflammatorywrt) February 18, 2014
I would surmise there was more diversity in George W. Bush's cabinet than there is on the Artistic staff's of DC's theaters. #TheSummit — Tlaloc Rivas (@TlalocRivas) February 18, 2014
I can name thirty or more great - and I mean GREAT - plays by women off the top of my head. This is inexcusale. #TheSummit — Kari Bentley-Quinn (@inflammatorywrt) February 18, 2014