Here at Black Swan Theater . . .

We believe in ultimate theater. We believe with the Greeks that ultimate theater is a ceremony which dissolves the barrier between the World and the Spirit. The god of theater is Dionysus, and Dionysus is danger, night, intoxication, dread, beauty, and holiness. 

Good theater entertains, amuses, informs. Great theater disturbs, inflames, transfigures. We are happy achieving the good most of the time, but we are looking perpetually for that disheveled, sloppy, midnight-oil-burning, visionary script which through the production process gathers itself to greatness and changes what we expect from the theater. We don’t mind the cheap, the salacious, the grubby, for we believe that the sublime is the outgrowth of messy aspiration rather than of tidy professionalism. 

We believe, with Yeats, that Love has pitched his tent in the place of excrement. We believe, with Dante, that love has pitched his tent in the place of celestial fire. We know that love never has pitched and never will pitch his tent in the bank lobby or the Wal-Mart parking lot.

We believe that if the audience hears from our stage what they came expecting to hear, we have failed them. 

We believe that if a playwright writes the play he set out to write, he has failed himself.

The Muse is a surprise and an affront, and those who do her will do not recognize themselves in the doing. The actor must act, the director direct, the playwright write better than he knows how, or there’s no point in bothering.

For modesty’s sake we are secretive in our ambition to be the voice of a wild god, but that is, in fact, our ambition. 

Not everything we do will be done well. Error and failure are aspects of the real world. But we will long for beauty even when we fall short of it.

We will never consciously take the safe path. 

We believe that any theater which does not include at least one new script a season is a parasite on the genius of the past. 

We hate the ten minute play. Theater is not televison. We hate when theaters say “we would like such-and-such a kind of play on such-and-such a subject,” for if the Muse speaks rarely to the playwright, she speaks never to the administrator. 

We believe that even when we are mundane or forgetful, art is holy and transfiguring. Therefore we will try to stand aside, to get out of the way and let the play have its way whenever possible. 

We know that some people will be reading this and rolling their eyes and congratulating themselves on superior knowledge of The Real World. Well, some people have nothing to do with Theater, however much time they spend putting on shows. 

We hope we have not let our enthusiasm get the best of us. Or, if we have, good will come out of it. We are willing to look absurd, to flop, to try again. We are not willing to be unfaithful to a vision which is given once, twice in a lifetime, or sometimes never.   

We hope we are given time to grow into our majestic declarations.

We hope that if you’re a playwright, you’ll send us your best. If you’re close enough to do so, give us your strength, your talent, your money. If you’re reading this too far away to know us, then wish us well. Burn a candle to the wild god some windy night.


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Black Swan Theater