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Change, if not quick change.

Eight years ago or so, I wrote a note about the dearth of specfic plays, saying that it was difficult to think of plays (not musicals, not children’s shows, not by Italians) that I would put solidly in the category of speculative fiction. This seemed odd to me, as in other areas (film and television and books and so forth) speculative fiction was clearly very popular, and was actually the dominant genre for the medium. But there it was: I had trouble thinking of five plays that I considered speculative.

This has changed.

I have been noticing it for years, particularly since reading about Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play a couple of years ago. I particularly noticed a couple of weeks ago when both the NYT reviews of new productions in New York (Marjorie Prime and Take Care) had significant speculative elements. In the years’-end best-of column, the Times includes Cuddles and The Nether, both of which appear to have substantial speculative elements, in addition to a steampunk musical.

There are a variety of different things happening with this trend; I don’t think there’s any one obvious change in the landscape that accounts for it. I’m curious if critics and essayists on specfic have been writing about the theater at all; I’m curious if specfic fans even know about all the new plays. It’s quite exciting, from my point of view, because I am interested in both theater and specfic, but that doesn’t mean that either community finds it interesting. Anyway, I just wanted to update my note.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


And would we not want to include the new Harry Potter play?

From the look of it, I am guessing it will not be a musical or for children (or by an Italian), but I'm not certain of that. And also… it is possible that this will be the working out specficnal elements in more-or-less traditional theatrical form, and it's possible that this will be a rubbishy franchise cash-in without ideas of any kind. I'm optimistic, mind you, but. Also, it will presumably be selling tickets to a different crowd than Marjorie Prime or the Post-Electric Play are selling to. It's that audience, the audience that sees whatever is interesting and new in New York and London, that has, I think, only recently become used to seeing specfic elements.


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