Thursday, May 20, 2010



Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week, John Patrick Bray.

    Hello, all. Today’s blog will be a bit brief.  I was watching the election results from across the country, and there have been a number of upsets, and a number of surprise victories (and depending which side of the equation you find yourself on, the two may not be mutually exclusive).  One of the people who read and commented on my blog regarding Regional Theatre was Jason Loewith, the Executive Director of the National New Play Network. I asked him if he had considered the definition of an American playwright. Today, I would just like to pose the same question to everyone here.       

    When I was a little boy, I said the pledge of allegiance every day at school. Sometimes we sang “God Bless America” or “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” I never doubted my feelings of patriotism. As I grew older, I grew more skeptical due to the various administrations that I watched come and go, each bringing a hidden agenda that lead to war, greed, and corruption.  Now that I’m even older, an historian, and a parent, I find myself wanting to reclaim the word “American” and look being an American as something to be proud of.  In this regard, I want to include all of the Americas, not just the U.S. There are many of us who are entitled to the word, and at the risk of exposing my politics, there are many more who should be.

    My question to you is: what is it, in your opinion, to be an American? How does this play out in your art? How does the idea of being American play out in theatre you have seen or that you have been a part of?

    I have enjoyed writing these blogs. I look forward to wrapping it up tomorrow!

Best to you and yours,
John P. Bray



  1. I remember Jason from his days as General Manager of CSC - great guy. And as for America, I recently read a terrific quote that british theater artist Gordon Craig said to a young director/playwright, Hallie Flanagan, back in the 1920s (before she ran the Federal Theater Project) about England that really struck a cord with how I feel about America:

    "I have loved two things - the art of drama and England. All that I have said and done and written has been for one or the other. Yet about both I have been misunderstood. People have said that I do not love England. I do lover her. I love her too much to overpraise her. I lover her too much not to see her faults."

  2. This is a WONDERFUL quote! Thank you so much for sharing this!