Indie Theatre Now purports to be ‘The digital theatre library for the 21st century.’ And, it is…or at least one of them. Online play publishing is growing by leaps and bounds, diving headfirst into the digital revolution.
When I first came to Los Angeles, I’d spend countless afternoons in Samuel French, scouring the shelves in search of the perfect play. After pulling a variety of one-acts, full lengths and anthologies from the copious shelves, I would sit cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by my bounty. And I’d start to read everyone from Aeschylus to Wendy Wasserstein; attempting to find something which spoke to me: comedies with parts which were age appropriate, dramas with compelling plots, tragedies with engaging characters. And I simply picked plays at random, guided only by a store structure limited to the alphabetization of the authors’ last names.
Today, finding an ideal play is easier. Much easier. The Internet has provided the consumer with search engines galore and opportunities to find exactly what one is looking for. For example, someone searching for Hamlet may type in; 25-35 year old male, dysfunctional family, Denmark. And, voila! Smart companies are starting to take advantage of the digital revolution, previously reserved for novels, by publishing plays online. Of course I’m a bit biased towards Indie Theatre Now, as they are my particular publisher… having published four of my plays, but the opportunities out there are limitless if your material is strong.
As I lament the impending death of the physical book store, I try to stay optimistic about the exposure online publishers can give to the next generation of eager young drama students who are searching for the perfect play.