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What's in the name

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February 25, 2007


Alison Croggon

You negotiated the minefields well, Mr Cote. I can't really argue with your criteria...

I guess there is one thing, underneath all those criteria, that I look for, an indefinable quality that makes me involuntarily pay attention. I've had rare and interesting experiences where something might seem to fail all my intellectual and aesthetic criteria and yet keeps me there, and leaves me with (again) an odd indefinable feeling of joy. In such circumstances, I'm prepared to throw everything I know out of the window and start again.

George Hunka

Well done, Mr. Cote, and it could not have been easy.

And (although this might be covered by your "Intimacy" and "Courage") I would only add, as being necessary and not sufficient, like the other Keys, "Passion". Whatever is expressed in a play, what's important to a good authentic play is that this expression is necessary, urgent, essential. Passion is the dividing line between a play which is written well and a play which had to be written. It's possible to have a play which is intimate and courageous, but without the feeling that this play is necessary, it may remain bloodless and cold.


Alison & George: Thanks for mentioning Joy and Passion, two very important qualities to feel and have, indeed.

Joshua James

Passion and joy?

They are important feelings to have when doing anything, but I don't know that they're necessarily keys to authenticity, do you? I've known many a passionate shyster who takes great joy in scamming folks (I think of Jim and Tammy Baker) and really, the feelings one has from the work is usually the end-product of the work, right?

David Cote

Oh goodness, no. The Five Keys are inviolate and frozen. Passion is a subset of Intimacy and joy is a given—a desired reaction in the audience. There will be no abridgment or attenuation of the Keys!

Alison Croggon

Well, the joy I mentioned was a very particular thing, not a Signifier floating out in the universe all on its ownsome...and no one was arguing with craft, intimacy, surprise, intimacy and profundity - so one can only assume that these Five Frozen Attributes play in these responses somewhere.

And me, I was speaking purely as an audience member. So yes, I guess it has to come out of the work. (Shysters are not passionate, they're just noisy.)

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