Power of the Pause in Annie Baker's The Flick Inspires a Letter From Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director

By Kenneth Jones
26 Mar 2013

Tim Sanford
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tim Sanford's letter continues:

Did we know we had programmed a three-hour play when we chose it? No. I don't think Sam Gold, the director, did either. But after our initial concern about walkouts, we began to pay attention to the other voices, the voices that urged Annie and Sam not to cut a second, the voices imbued with rapture for a theatre experience unlike any they had experienced and for a production that stayed with them for days even weeks afterwards. And it became clear to me that every moment of the play and production was steeped in purpose. Annie had a vision and this production beautifully executes that vision. And at the end of the day, we are a writer's theatre and my first responsibility is to that writer. My goal is not to dissuade any of you who disliked the play. I would rather evince passionate dislike than a dispassionate shrug.. I imagine that most of you have read the many good reviews about the play and then most recently the fact that the play won the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. If you read these stories and continue to say to yourself, "I still don't know what they see in it," I applaud your independence of mind. Hopefully that free-thinking will swing to our favor in your response to other productions of ours.

Our hope is to cultivate an audience that trusts the underlying integrity of our decision-making process. We are the only theatre in New York (and practically the country) devoted solely to the premiere of new American plays and musicals. We use our Subscriber Bulletin to share with you what excites us about an upcoming play and to convey the passion that went into its selection.



The business of putting on new plays is not empirical. We follow some rules and rely on experience, but we're also following our hearts. And we appreciate that you are taking a risk and putting your faith in us when you sign up with us. We are dependent upon your willingness to take that ride with us. We need you.

So thank you for caring enough to complain or to praise. Perhaps we can all agree that whatever values we look for in the theatre, we all stand on the common ground that it is a vital and important art form that we look to illuminate the human experience with complexity and integrity.

Warm Regards,
Tim Sanford
Artistic Director

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Louisa Krause, Matthew Maher and Aaron Clifton Moten
Photo by Joan Marcus