In a dazzling display of what can only be called unmitigated gall, the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center has sent out this year's appeal to playwrights to submit. And let me tell you folks, when they use the word "submit" they mean it in every way imaginable. (full disclosure: I've been a finalist twice)
It is an open secret in the theatre world that of the dozen or so slots available each Summer to new plays at the O'Neill, all but 2 or 3 are pre-determined in backroom deal-making worthy of Tammany Hall. As if this weren't bad enough, the O'Neill is one of the few playwriting competitions that still asks its "submitters" to fork over a hefty $35 fee for the privilege of landing in the slush pile. So given this context, it is hard to believe that the team that works there had the nerve to put this language in their latest appeal sent out to playwrights all over the world via email:
The O’Neill’s Open Submission process is unique in the field of developing works for the stage, requiring neither agent submission nor previous experience. This commitment to a truly democratic process has led to great discoveries of new artists and works, now iconic in American theater.
How are we expected to take this? To call their process anything including the word "open" is akin to promoting the democratic strides made by the government of Myanmar. I mean, really. Where's the outrage?!
[ed note: On topic, see The Bottom Feeders: Tolerate or Legislate?]