26 August 2010

John Mayer on Playwriting

Ignore the tabloid bullshit for a moment, and listen to the words of a poet who knows how to reach the public-at-large:

Listening to Train play "Hey Soul Sister" from backstage. What a massive hit. Yea, it's on the radio pretty constantly, but a hit song is all about the way the crowd reacts to it. There's nothing like the reward of making the air swirl around thousands of people with one of your songs. Better than any of the spins or chart positions. I think people would write better songs if they aimed for the religious concert experience rather than the top 20. Train's now playing "Drops of Jupiter," a song that succeeds and succeeded at both, respectively.
The same could be said for playwriting: Aim for the religious experience, rather than "success." Keep it honest, keep it pure. Make a personal connection with the material -- intend to make it a personal experience for the audience. Getting back to something I quoted from Heinlein*, it's about intercourse with the audience; a sacred union.

[*Quoted in a Facebook note:  "Jubal shrugged. 'Abstract design is all right — for wall paper or linoleum. But art is the process of evoking pity and terror. What modern artists do is pseudo-intellectual masturbation. Creative art is intercourse, in which the artist renders emotional his audience. These laddies who won't deign to do that — or can't — lost the public.'"  From Stranger in a Strange Land.  My Facebook page as a playwright may be found here.]