Collected Stories doesn’t ask a hard question

publicity photo for Collected Stories

Ruth (Jennifer Fahrni, R) tells Lisa (Avery Crane) not to pay too much attention to her reviews.
Always solid advice.

It’s impossible to talk about this script in a meaningful way without revealing its central twist. I hope to talk about it in a meaningful way, so … you’ve been warned

Written by Donald Margulies and premiered in 1996, Collected Stories asks a question I already know the answer to — not for everybody, of course, but solidly for myself.

The script is about the relationship between renowned short story writer and longtime writing teacher Ruth Steiner and her student, then protégé, Lisa Morrison. The question is if it’s okay for one writer to cannibalize another’s life in their fiction — without permission. I’m a firm no on that. Life is more important than art; love is more important than ambition. The notion that every writer is somehow compelled to betray a friend — by a vague higher calling to art or by an obligation to the story magically bursting within them — is self-aggrandizing, romantic nonsense. [Read more…]

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