Hulk Smash: Needlessly inflammatory response emails.

Oh me, oh my. What a Monday it has been. My Artistic Director apparently did a radio interview recently, causing an influx of submissions. Unfortunately, our submission policy is rather strict because we do not have a literary manager, so the majority of my responses were simply, “Thank you for your interest. Send it through your agent.”

Sometimes this response is not kindly received. I understand the frustrations of the vicious need-a-production-to-get-an-agent / need-an-agent-to-get-a production cycle, but, playwrights, keep your rage in check!

The following is an email thread from today that was so rude that I just had to circulate it around the office. We had a good baffled laugh. Playwrights don’t usually blacklist themselves so blatantly. I realize that it was not necessarily meant for my eyes: the use of third person seems to suggest that this particular playwright was attempting to vent to a friend or colleague. So the lesson here–in this age of email communication–always be sure to distinguish between the “forward” command and the “return” command!

Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:23 AM
To: Dan Rubin

To whom it may concern,
I would be grateful if you could advise me of your submission policies regarding
our new musical. . .

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 11:59:22 -0800
Subject: RE:

Dear Mr.

Writers are urged to refer to A.C.T.’s production history for the types of plays A.C.T. produces, which emphasize powerful ideas expressed in muscular language. A.C.T. values theatricality, complexity, and richness and the immediate, visceral, and intellectual contact among writers, performers, and audiences that exists only in the theater.
A.C.T does not accept unsolicited scripts for consideration. Any writer with representation should submit his or her play through a literary agent. Submissions will also be accepted if accompanied by a letter of recommendation by a theater professional (i.e., an artistic director or literary manager at a professional theater), preferably one who is familiar with our organization.
This information can also be found on our website:

Dan Rubin

To: Dan Rubin <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 15:51:11 -0800

Looking at their past prductions I can see what he means by
muscular language.

Cat on a hot tin roof
Christmas Carol (mm…..Scrooge the ultimate Charles Atlas)
Sweeney Todd
High Society (for fuck sake)
Travels with my Aunt (double for fuck sake)

All just oozing with muscular fuck-all

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 16:14:09 -0800
Subject: RE:

Dear Mr. —

I wish you the best of luck finding a theater that shares your aesthetic opinion. Clearly, we are not it.

Dan Rubin

To: Dan Rubin <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 16:21:11 -0800

I think we can count this one as a miss.
Anyway it’s in San Francisco!!!

Needless to say, we are not planning on working with this gentleman, whether he sends his musical through an agent or not.


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