Writerly Advice from Bob Clyman

Hello Young Playwrights! We’re continuing our series of advice/thoughts/words of wisdom with playwright, Bob Clyman.

Writerly advice from Bob…

 ‘Always give your enemy the best lines.’  That’s one of my favorite quotes, and for years I’ve been attributing it to George Bernard Shaw.  I was sure he wrote it, and it certainly sounds like him, but when I tried to look it up recently to make sure I wasn’t paraphrasing it, I couldn’t find any quotes remotely like that attributed to him or, for that matter, to anyone else.

So did I invent it?  Is it mine?

What if I wrote it years ago in some early draft I can’t remember, just like I couldn’t remember where Shaw wrote it, if and when he did.  If somebody remembered reading that draft and for some odd reason had kept it all these years, and then he heard me today, saying those exact same words but in a different context, could I rightfully be accused of plagiarism for failing to attribute it to myself?

Bob Clyman’s plays have been produced Off-Broadway and at regional theatres, such as the Alley Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, San Jose Repertory Theatre, George Street Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Colony Studio Theatre in Los Angeles, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, and L.A. Theatre Works, in addition to touring Scotland.  His play SECRET ORDER was initially commissioned and produced by The Ensemble Studio Theatre under the auspices of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  It was subsequently produced at 59E59 Theatre in New York, where it was nominated for an Outer Circle Critics Award for the best script in 2008.  It has since been produced at many regional theatres.

To learn more about Bob, visit his website