I know this might sound weird, but as I suddenly now know more and more playwrights who are very deservedly getting attention in New York it is starting to make me feel a little down about my relationship with that town.
Now to be clear - there really is nowhere else I'd rather live than San Francisco. It's not as diverse as it was while I was growing up here, and I hate that I can go for a long walk here in the Western Addition and see so few Black people as opposed to when I was a kid in the same area, but there is still a culture here that is different from everywhere else I've spent time. As far as I'm concerned the only problem with The City is how gentrification has fucked it up for the actual urban dwellers.
However, since I am in the Business of Show, San Francisco has also become less and less the theatrical hub it once was. Theaters and artists have been priced out of a City that places way too much value on kissing any corporate ass imported from Silicon Valley, while assuming no real value of the art and artists that have made The City what it has been. This means we don't really have an arts paper anymore, we don't have an arts district, and we just barely have a Downtown where there are some theaters. We still have amazing theaters here, but San Francisco used to be a theatre destination, this used to be a place more shows came from. That is less and less the case nowadays as everything becomes about New York.
As I've become better know beyond the Bay Area as a playwright than an actor I can't help but feel a bit of a tug when a playwright I know gets a show on-or-off Broadway. This is not to say that anything I've ever written is as good as theirs. Seriously. These people are brilliant and deserving of every plaudit they receive. And I'm not saying they are having success because of any relationship they have with New York, or that if I were in New York I would be respected or produced in any comparable way, or at all. But there is a sort of stamp of approval when something is produced in New York for producers and regional theaters which can mean a long life for a play, a stamp I would like on at least one of my scripts.
It is like when you see a play you didn't even audition for because you were doing a different show become a big hit. You were already doing what you loved, but at the same time you may have all these friends in the other show that is deservedly going gangbusters long after your show closed. Even if you had auditioned you may not have been cast but still, you think, damn - now they're touring?
I have no intention of moving to New York. I know people there, visit people who are doing well in the business, try to stay long-distance visible, but even with all my web razzle-dazzle I cannot be the playwright at the forefront of anyone's mind on the other side of the country. And since I don't have an agent I don't even have someone who is pretending to put me there while I am the one actually doing all the work.
Maybe its because they just don't like my stuff. Quite possible. But still I can't help but feeling there should be something more I could do to be considered a producible playwright in New York.
Something short of moving. I'm a San Franciscan. I want to be produced there, but live here.