manifesto for a speculative theatre

Get excited! These are the plays I write and the plays I love to read, this is why they’re great, this is why you should write them too! I wrote this a year ago, edited it a lot more recently, and I’m publishing it now! These are strange times but they won’t be the strangest, let’s go! Download the manifesto in these formats: PDFEpubMobi — Docx. Or read it below:

preamble

audience

This manifesto addresses itself to two groups of people—playwrights, and writers of science fiction and fantasy.

People who can call themselves both are its intended result.

claim

Theatre enriches science fiction and fantasy. Science fiction and fantasy enrich theatre.

Very little speculative theatre exists; very much should.

speculative

For the purpose of this manifesto, I distinguish the type of work I am calling for, “speculative theatre,” from the already existing vein of theatrical works which merely incorporate science-fictional or fantastical elements (e.g. the angels in Angels in America, the ghost in Hamlet.) As well, I use “speculative” and “science fiction and fantasy” interchangeably for convenience.

The majority of plays which utilize SFF elements do so only as an outgrowth of character, theme, plot, adapted myth, etcetera.

In a “speculative” play, as I define it, character, theme, and plot spring from the SFF world (or the SFF element, though it often implicates the entire world.) In a “speculative” play, the world extends beyond characters, story, and even author.

Both types of play create a world or redefine our own, but speculative plays use the invented world as the foundation, and then speculate, while non-speculative plays use their SFF element to point back to characters, plot, theme, or the real world.Read More »