From Max Posner
Playwrights Horizons alters our perceptions. My own vision has morphed over and over again beneath their roof. At twenty, visiting New York for a long weekend, I was born-again at their production of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. That show proved how uncannily dimensional a person onstage can be.
The next summer, I interned in their literary office, navigating an alien subway system, binge-reading David Greenspan, overhearing impassioned, articulate debates between Tim Sanford and Adam Greenfield. Dizzy with ideas, I sensed that the playwright’s task is to create a whole language, something to make the invisible, visible.
Playwrights does much more than unveil six new languages each year. The entire staff becomes fluent in each one, shepherding and shielding plays and artists as if they were family members.
In this era of finger-pointing and knee-jerking, when surfaces are eclipsing depths, when fast is devouring slow, Playwrights offers an antidote. Repeatedly, they resurrect our belief in this ephemeral, impractical, increasingly essential art form.
I rely on Playwrights for evenings that defy rational, scientific explanation. They aren’t afraid to attempt discomfort. They avoid didacticism. As diehard devotees to plays, they aim to move the form forward. My torso still hurts from Robert O’Hara’s rib-ripping Bootycandy. My mind is forever bent by Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns. Playwrights knows that next year’s plays will not take last year’s shapes. They resist becoming a Museum for a Certain Type of Play.
They spot miracles, and then realize them.
The leadership at Playwrights (Tim, Adam, Leslie Marcus and Carol Fishman) mold themselves, spiritually and practically, around the plays they love. As I ambled through the treacherous maze of my twenties, Adam was reading my first, my second, my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth play. When my first New York production was mauled by a critic, they gave me a commission, which became The Treasurer. They gave me the privacy and support needed to write directly into a radioactive relationship in my own family. They encouraged complexity. When our director and an actor’s schedules provided a nightmarish puzzle, threatening to implode our production, they solved it. When I got sick, they found me health insurance. And they aren’t just doing this for me, or for a small few. Playwrights is supporting an entire generation of writers.
Now, more than ever, we need to gather in groups of strangers. We need to turn our phones off. We need to listen. Supporting Playwrights allows this simple, crucial activity to continue. In doing this, you’ll be ensuring the health of the theater, its artists, and its future.
Playwright, The Treasurer
Former Literary Fellow (2010/11)