New Works of Merit / Sade

So I get, again, after asking to be removed from their email list 3 years running, yet another email about the “New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest.” This is a particularly egregious example of a writer rip-off, for reasons far too numerous to list in full, but let’s begin with their “$25 entrance fee.” Yea, the O’Neill has been charging an entrance fee for uninvited writers (a group to which I still belong), but at least they bothered to develop a reputation before skimming lunch money off said writers.

This contest is run by 13th Street Rep, a company that certainly have “established” a “reputation” for themselves (their last produced original work of merit being the play “Line” by Israel Horovitz back in the 70s – or was it the 60s?). Which I believe is still running there??

I checked on the Web to see how many others have been warning against entering this contest… OK, perhaps they actually do offer the winner of this contest a reading at their theatre. They probably even fund that $300 check the winner receives… note that I didn’t bother to fact check this by contacting those winners, but let’s give them the benefit of doubt.

Then I noticed this additional note on their entry page:

TO RECEIVE EVALUATIONS OF YOUR SCRIPT: One Evaluation …. $25 + $25 submission fee Two Evaluations … $50 + $25 submission fee

$75 for “evaluation” services. These must be highly qualifed dramaturgs, folks. And what a refreshingly original way to offer this dramaturgy service.

The best moment reading their website was the statement that the moderator, who is also the “executive producer” at 13th St. Rep, is a member of the DG.

Note she’s still a member – they don’t return her check. Perhaps it is funded at least in part by this contest?

After reading this blog post, playwrights, if you still feel the need to send out a check for $75 because you wrote a play, what the hell, send it to me. I’ll write you a better critique, I bet, and would use the money toward a real play production, not to fund my rent, liquor bill, or membership in the DG.