Expanding the Idea of New Work: Part IV

by:  Charles Haugland at 05/26/2010

Contributed by Literary Associate Charles Haugland, responding to Lisa Timmel (Huntington's Director of New Work) in their recent posts about new work.

Okay, it’s up to me to wrap up the conversation. I’m going to provide a quick summary, and then leave us with a few provocations and things I will be continuing to think about.

I take you as defining three categories. (Art Hennessey also theorized three categories when he did his exhaustive tally on his blog, though he defined the categories differently)


Artists are actively doing developmental work during their HTC production, particularly of text. Playwright is in residence.


Plays that we have no relationship to the development. Usually they are written in the last 20ish years, but more often in the last one or two. (This definition also means that sometimes a contemporary play can be the same distance from its premiere as a new play being developed in its second production.)


Plays that are older or canonical (i.e., We think of Fences as classic and Prelude as contemporary even though they are separated by only two years.)

These categories are not represented in our theatre haphazardly. As I discussed in my last post, we think of new work and classic work as different kinds of pleasure — active nostalgia versus active synthesis — that we try to balance. A season that we think will be both embraced and challenging to our audience includes both. (Challenging goes both ways; I think there are new work devotees, you included Lisa, who can find the idea of going to see and revisit classics “challenging” to your expectations and your taste.)

What is the breakdown of our new season then?

  • New: Vengeance Is The Lord's and Sons of the Prophet
  • Contemporary: Circle Mirror Transformation and Ruined
  • Classic: Bus Stop, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, and Educating Rita (Though I’m sure some would say Rita feels more contemporary than classic, it is from 1980, and has been so widely performed that I’d say it is canonical.)

A couple of wrenches that I can throw in the works:

  • Many audience members told me that they had never seen All My Sons. How does that effect reception? Is it “new” if it is new to you (a belief held strongly by our marketing department)?
  • A good chunk of our audience had seen the Boston workshop presentation of A Long And Winding Road or the New Haven production of A Civil War Christmas. Does it matter that they aren’t “new” to them? (In both cases, they were substantially different from their earlier productions.)
  • In Peter’s first season, four out of seven plays were new and in development during their production cycle, though our audience does not remember that season as being heavily focused on new work. Why? (One thought I have is that they were all period pieces, which I believe influences reception.)


  1. How could any of this be better stated? It coulnd't.
  2. to sink it hard, however, can not always have the grip sinking wandering soul; how many people floating lifeless, loss of conscience in officialdom in the property, the "Man's nature is good," the true meaning strangles, devoid! Nan said: "Reading the history of three thousand years, nothing more than fame and fortune, nine miles enlightenment, is always pastoral poetry and wine." House is nothing more than another big body capacity Seoul five feet, more luxurious car, but also a means of transport. And, lined with tall buildings block who look exactly Castle sight? A dusty haze in the end who had dyed a healthy body? Luxurious life, we "read" to what? Abandoned villages, we "see" what was the reason? The future, can allow you and I give up luxury, away from the hubbub, like a mountain stream, as guardian, silent love, loving flowers waiting for a quiet beauty, ecological plot together better living environment? If you can, please promise me, like a river clean watch lovingly mountains, grass smoothie like that, simple quiet life, tranquil forward; natural seeding in a calm Ning Wen Wanqing, Shizumori cloud water, the equanimity, I let you freely in the blue sky breathing, totem! Spring deep place I do not know, a touch long stream flow. Screenshot touch of sweet flowers, willing gorgeous bloom in nature, so tempting arms brilliant mind, Xu Li Kangan gas in the new body, long far Ju a handful of clear streams warm heart, the inhaled gas exhaled;. A Species thread spring in mind, let love in Life is a never-ending journey through some wonderful, some rough Ke Hum, and my life, flying all the way! While not exciting, memorable enough! People are yearning for a meteoric rise, meteoric rise in life, do you not know the way eloquent, I love you Shannon is also a supreme level. And my life is so! Even if not beautiful and seductive, but the way of atmosphere, the scenery along the way is enough to make you enjoy endless. While not asking for the moon, though not into the sky, while the middle part of twists and turns, bustling, too adorable! This life, it was jealousy, it was envy. Jealous of my life is so cheerful! I envy the pace is so fly Jian! My life, flying all the way! To say is fate! It goes well, but also crooked; it twists and turns, they still flew quickly. Midway There are many memorials, villain obstruction, there are corrupt resistance. Suffering does not exclude these, how you can travel on the sea? How flying all the way? For me the bottom of a people, be quick degrees, can be described as lucky! Although I did not complete the last mission now, because travel is not over yet. I'm still on the road flew, I still wander the landscape. In fact, the twists and turns of life is not a kind of beauty? People say, infinite in the awesome scenery! I think this is a kind of aesthetic realm! Mediocre is not beautiful life. Only bitter, tired, it felt sweet life. I believe, at the end of life, it is when I the beautiful scenery. At that time, when is my glory. I would like to contaminated dust on the road and are willing to enjoy the scenery on the way. At least there are simple ideas, have experience in the struggle. We do not undergo soil, how to know human suffering? Do not experience the experience along the way, it turns out the world's dangerous? Jing spine through the ups and downs, to get genuine talent they need to get the right position they need. Therefore, the twists and turns for me, is a great beauty in life, life is a wonderful story. There is the life story of a perfect life! Flying life is largely a qualitative leap! Leap, is progress. And I was to survive the leap in progress in the front row. Midway mantis, bugs, ants, cinch! Great risk, of course, need to adjust, need to integrate. As you know, the

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Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!

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