OK, so I wasn't a huge fan of Soho Rep's recent production of Philoktetes, John Jesurun's messy web of ideas and images. But if you read a little between the lines, you'll note that I very much admired the script, both for educational value and poetic aspirations. This is why I'm pleased to point out that at performances of Philoktetes, you can buy a slim copy of the script. It's a Soho Rep version, published through On Stage Press, and though I'm told it's a division of Samuel French, I couldn't actually find information on buying this through them or Amazon, or really anywhere but at Soho Rep itself. (Which is odd, since the book is labeled as being $8.00, and is being sold there for $5.00.)
Anyway, I'm excited about the initiative, apparently led by series editor Daniel Manley. I guess now that Soho Rep is on an Off-Broadway contract, they can branch out into publishing, but I'm thinking of all the new premieres at small houses, and thinking just how great it would be if you always had an option to buy the script from the theater: that is, after all, the greatest point of access. Not that there aren't flaws: Soho Rep only sells the scripts before the show, not after (when you might really be inspired to pick one up), and Manley's budget apparently doesn't extend to hiring a proofreader (read: I'm available), but the idea itself, of really spreading theater not just on stage, but in book, word of mouth, whatever . . ..
I've seen books for sale at The Public and HERE Arts Center, both of which are great hubs to the arts; I hope to see discounted versions, or annotated ones, somewhere down the line. In a world that obsesses over the 2-disc or 3-disc DVD version of a film, this might be a way to close the gap between art and understanding.