Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Yesterday I was the recipient of a rejection notice for one of my plays from Jill, who has a theatre group. It never gets easier to receive them and it occurred to me that if playwrights would look deeper into the exact wording of the notices, perhaps there could be some positive comments within the replies. At least I interpreted and found a few of Jill's words as not negative and sometimes that's all we have. Right?

Today I received yet another e-mail from Jill advising me not to take offensive at her comments. Actually, I wasn't and so we continue our correspondence:

"Dear Eleanor:

I do not like to send back replies that merely say 'Not for us'. I think it is always good to communicate at a more human level, and try to convey something about my feelings regarding your script. My comments were not meant to hurt or offend you, as they seem to have done. And for this I apologize - as you say, we all have something to learn. But what I wanted to convey was the difference between the writing you have submitted and writing for the stage. And this is something you might need to think about. I did not emphasis the word "good", that is your emphasis. I think what you have written is good for television - as they need a laugh a minute. But theatre is something else.
Please try to hear what I have said without getting defensive - I am also a playwright and still, after all these years, I have something to learn about my writing, and I value the criticism that I receive.

There are no winners and losers here... no points to be scored. We're all on a journey of discovery, and feedback is always important.

Best regards,


I focused because I prefer to see the positive upon receiving rejections, that Jill once again suggests that my play or text would be good for television since "they need a laugh a minute." This in my eyes, anyway, means that I could have...may have made her laugh! Hey - that's good!

So of course, I supplied her with the feedback she mentions:

"Hello once again, Jill,

As a playwright yourself, you know (or maybe you're lucky enough not to know) that rejection is part of playwriting. Normally, as mentioned in my e-mail, I merely update my file noting all the theatres to which my plays were submitted - and that's it. However, I was somewhat taken aback with the tone of your response, which IMHO bordered somewhat on being insulted. I never intended it to be angst-ridden or Pinter-like in story line and/or an in depth study of humanity. It is meant as pure escapist enjoyment. If you read the story through to the end you would have noted that there is some emotional conflict between the main character and a secondary character.

Giving birth to a play is like giving birth to a baby. You coddle it, heave attention and love in every word you write, attempt through trial and error to make it stage-worthy and then send it out into the world and hope for the best. Of course I'm defensive as any playwright would be about their literary offspring! As an aside there have been numerous (accent on the numerous) re-writes over the years but there comes a point where you have to stop tinkering and let it sink or swim. If it sinks - the journey was a blast but if it swims... It's that unknown factor that makes it all worthwhile.

As for the TV comment - I agree 100% with you. Given the current slate of junk being passed off as entertainment, my play in any form would be an improvement-LOLOL!

Like they say - different strokes for different folks. Please accept my good wishes in all your future endeavors and may the play of your dreams fall into your hands.



Whether or not Jill wants to continue our "journey of discovery" is now in her hands. Meanwhile I'm thinking a sitcom...maybe HBO would be interested...


Moliz said...

That was fascinating to read the exchange between you and Jill. I learned something from that.

Moliz said...

Go for the sitcom!!!