Meet Tom Kane. He spends much of his day living in a different world. When you’re Head of the Performing Arts Department and devote your days and nights to directing full ensemble plays and musicals, you spend a lot of time in the minds of playwrights. Below, Tom Kane shares some of his favorite playwrights:
1. William Shakespeare: Over four hundred years ago this guy understood what it is to be human better than most of us do today. He also understood what it is to make theatre, leaving us working blueprints (blueprints that work!) for how to make rich, imaginary worlds in tiny spaces.
2. Anton Chekov: Changed the way we think of theatre, making our everyday hopes, dreams, and failures the core of realistic drama. Every modern day realistic playwright is in some way writing his or her own Chekov play. Every modern day realistic actor approaches acting differently because of the plays he wrote.
3. Stephen Sondheim: Though technically not a playwright, he writes musicals for actors that feel like plays. His sense of melody draws you in to the story; his sense of discord keeps you on the edge of your seat.
4. Charles Mee: His plays erase the line between real life and dream life and he challenges theater makers to reinvent the plays he started.
5. Every playwright of every play I've ever directed or taught (except the team who wrote Once Upon a Mattress...the only show I'd ever take back): I am in awe of good playwrights, I spend the best parts of my day exploring worlds that have been invented from other people's minds. So thank you to those playwrights who have filled my time in the theatre and classroom since I started at Middlesex: Bertolt Brecht, David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Tracy Letts, David Auburn, Donald Margulies, Moises Kaufman, AR Gurney, Thornton Wilder, Tim Mason, Frank Galati, Moss Hart, George Kaufman, George Feydeau, Michael Rohd, Laura Eason, Christopher Hampton, Yasmina Reza, Mac Wellman, Lanford Wilson, Arthur Miller, Lorainne Hansberry, Harvey Fierstein, Nathan Allen, Anna Deavere Smith...just to name a few.