The Plagiarists’ Literary Committee is looking for pitches and full or partial scripts to develop. Playwrights we collaborate with have the opportunity to cultivate their work with the support of internal company readings and feedback, with the possibility of a public workshop staged reading.
Ultimately, our goal is to help develop work that would be produced by The Plagiarists in future seasons. We currently accept scripts and pitches on a rolling basis.
Below you’ll find our mission statement and philosophy, which will lay out what kinds of work we’re looking for. We are seeking submissions that would complement the aesthetic of our previous productions - usually scripts that people think is too brainy or weird, as our work reflects an emphasis and appreciation of words and language.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The Plagiarists steal from literature, visual art, history, and the culture at large to create new theatre that finds the familiar in the strange, the unique in the commonplace, and ultimately enlarges the world.
Our manifesto is “The Ecstasy of Influence,” an essay by Jonathan Lethem about cultural ownership and artistic influence which articulates our experiences, ideals, and ideas about art. The core of the essay is that current accepted ideas about plagiarism, borrowing, and remaking art are not only detrimental to creativity, but also a historical aberration; that art – be it plays, books, music, paintings, comics, whatever – is a gift given to its audience; and that drawing on those gifts to make your own work is how the artistic creation process actually works. But it is not enough to simply adapt or appropriate – we seek to make new art out of what has gone before, not remake the same art over and over. Towards that end, we see our mission as not simply to steal, but to bend and break those stolen objects into new forms, new ideas, and new theatre. We believe that theatre is inherently a living, breathing form that demands new approaches and new works for (and from) each generation to remain vital and retain cultural relevance. Additionally, it must have a distinct voice, not just in the theatre community, but in the modern cultural context of music, movies, television, the Internet - all the art and entertainment available to people.
In the simplest terms, we create theatre based on or inspired by other cultural and historical sources, and are open with our audience about what those sources are. All our productions are new plays that remix ideas and texts that have come before, push the boundaries of expectation, and are geared towards casual audiences. Over time, our voice has emerged from our influences: earnest, playful, deeply felt but also suspicious of certainty, and embracing familiar tropes in a deeply weird way. We grew up submerged in both high and low culture, and our work also reflects the blending, allusion, remixing, repurposing and critical response that flourishes in the postmodern era right alongside the epic, honest, and questioning nature inherent in theatre. We work to create culturally relevant work that emphasizes the uniqueness of theatre as a form, offers rich complexity, asks big questions, and challenges preconceptions, but is also deeply enjoyable – because after all, a gift is for the one who receives it. Our particular artistic point of view affects not only the art we create, but how we create it: we try to put our aesthetic into our processes. We are strong believers in a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to theatre creation and production, allowing artists to stretch themselves to learn and practice new skills and approaches, resulting in productions that have featured the work of first-time playwrights, directors, designers and other production personnel.
Examples of our past work:
An anthology show based on Jonathan Lethem’s short stories
A play with music drawn from the writings of Christian Fleetwood, an African-American Civil War veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
The life and work of William McGonagall, the worst poet who ever wrote, presented as a reverse dinner party
The surreal tale of a composer who builds an organ to destroy the world
An adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses
A mash-up of Twelfth Night and Some Like It Hot, in which a three-piece cruiseship band shipwrecks in Communist Albania in 1985