How long should a play be?
Billington (Guardian) has come out attacking the length of plays that playwrights are currently writing.
“the new, slavish obeisance to the 90-minute rule stems, I suspect, from a mixture of fashion and ignorance; in particular, a shocking unawareness of even the recent past when drama moved beyond a single situation or point of crisis to examine causes as well as effects”
I know he is all for the “state of the nation play” but I think he misses the point about what playwrights are trying to do now.
Here’s a riposte to Billington’s no 90-minute play article.
One from Ian Rickson (artistic director of the Royal Court)
I like “New cultural and political eras demand new forms” and “We live in a time when there is a disappointment with unifying ideology and a greater consciousness of contradiction. The old forms in which the writer diagnoses and hypothesises no longer speak to today's playwrights.”
Another from David Elridge, who has just had Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness go up at the Court.
this riposte is elegant, thoughtful and something I empathise with.
I like:“I am getting impatient," Michael Billington wrote in the Guardian recently, "with ... dramatic driblets that offer ideas for plays rather than plays of ideas." Well, not half as impatient as play-wrights are with him, as he tirelessly pursues his own agenda of trying to encourage the re-emergence of the old-fashioned polemical play whose prime function is "social analysis".