Goodness, that’s as bad as philosophy! The relevant article in the NY Times is occasioned by a meeting scheduled for Monday, but the explanations/suggestions given by those interviewed are interesting at least as samples of culture if not as solutions. A sample:
–[THE WINNER] “I personally don’t think playwriting is a gene on a Y chromosome,” said Theresa Rebeck, a playwright whose work (“Omnium Gatherum,” “Mauritius,” “The Scene”) has been produced frequently on New York stages, including on Broadway. She added that there has been a reluctance to confront the issue: “Many of our male peers find the debate intolerable. Men in the community seem to think that everything is fine.” Ms. Rebeck said that male friends “in the system say to me I have to keep my mouth shut; don’t be part of the problem, don’t be a whiner.” But Ms. Rebeck, who has written on the subject in the London newspaper The Guardian and attended the last meeting, has disregarded their advice. “I think it puts in question excellence,” she said. “Whether it’s cronyism or bias,” she added, the result was that a message is sent that what is put onstage is “not about excellence.”
-[a general suggestion] “It’s harder for women playwrights and directors,” said Oskar Eustis, artistic director at the nonprofit Public Theater, because “it’s harder for professional women in the United States.”…“The issue is best dealt with by consistent consciousness-raising rather than a specific program,” he added, saying the same approach applies to minority playwrights. [Hmmm, jj]
-The explanation for such an imbalance is a puzzle, said André Bishop, the artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, which has one Broadway and two Off Broadway theaters. Some people argue that “most artistic directors are men, and they don’t relate to or connect with women as much as men,” Mr. Bishop said. “Connecting to a play is a very personal and unconscious thing,” he mused. “I hope that isn’t true, but I don’t know.” He added, “I try to think about these things all the time, but I don’t, because I’m a pathetic mortal.”
–Lynne Meadow is an example of that rare commodity Mr. Bishop referred to: a female artistic director in New York. Ms. Meadow, who has led Manhattan Theater Club for more than 35 years, reviewed submissions from recent years and estimated that about 40 percent came from women. Of 22 plays commissioned in the past eight years, 8 have been by women, she said. [that’s 36% jj] Manhattan Theater Club has two Off Broadway stages and one Broadway theater.
-[a suggestion] For Carole Rothman, the co-founder and artistic director of Second Stage, the disadvantaged position of women is a familiar story. … She added that contacting enlightened foundations that provide money to the arts and recruiting powerful female artists like Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda are other useful tactics.