There is line I heard many years ago, delivered by the character Chris Stevens on my favorite old Television show, "Northern Exposure" and it goes; "Art is the process, not the product". I'm not sure where this line originated - I did a bit of research to trace the quote to its origin but could not find the source. For all I know, it may have been imagined by a writer for the series - which segues nicely into the thoughts (or process) that follows.
The argument would follow that a painter or sculptor is only creating "art" while in the "process" of painting or sculpting, and the finished result, the painting/sculpture, is nothing more than a "product". (just something that happened as a result of art, not art itself.)
However, for someone like myself who writes plays, the "process/product" argument is difficult to maintain. Yes, writers can fall under the category of "artists" - we use our imaginations to create something out of nothing - we use an artistic process to create a product however, in the case of a playwright, the process of art doesn't end with the product, which is "a play". Not by a long shot - the journey for a play is still to follow another process as the art continues.
"I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning".
While it can be said, my process of writing is my art, in the case of a play, the "art" does not stop when I have finished writing. A "play" is essentially taken by other artists (actors) and reprocessed. (sort of like a Chicken McNugget) The characters I created in my mind and captured on paper were wonderfully realized and brought to life in a live setting. The lines were memorized and spoken before a room full of people. The actors of Camdenton High School took a story from my imagination and essentially reconstituted it with their own thoughts. Painters and sculptors could only dream of that process.
The world a playwright creates in his or her imagination; the setting, characters, dialogue, is given over to the imagination of the director and actors who will enact their own artistic process and create another product; the live performance. And in a sense, a live performance is a "process" and therefore, art.
So, if art is the process not the product - what is the product of a playwright? Well, I could say, finally it's the audience who views the processes, and in the end - the product is just a memory. At least, that's what I imagine. I may have to process it a bit more.
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