Acronyms suck

Unsavory characters.  From the left, playwrights Katharine Clark Gray, Nicholas Wardigo, Lindsay Harris-Friel, and Alex Dremman.

Unsavory characters. From the left, playwrights Katharine Clark Gray, Nicholas Wardigo, Lindsay Harris-Friel, and Alex Dremman.

I’m not sure who thought acronyms were cool, but I suspect they’re the same people who like digital watches. Whenever I hang out with theater-folk, and we discuss who’s doing what in Philadelphia theater, I inevitably trip over the acronyms. It might take two beers, it might take four, but at some point I will confuse PTC (Philadelphia Theatre Company), PDC (Philadelphia Dramatists Center), and PTW (Philadelphia Theatre Workshop).

I already blogged that I went to the PNPI (Philadelphia New Play Initiative) showcase two weeks ago with some playwright buddies.  And God bless PNPI and all the work they do, but what is with that name?  It took me over a year to get that acronym right, and I still muck it up, now and then.  I often resort to calling them “that newish playwright whatzit.”

I’ve been accused, more than once, of not being a “joiner,” and there’s certainly truth in that.  Various playwright circles occasionally invite me to participate, and I usually turn them down politely, and if they press, then somewhat less politely.  My main reasons are pragmatic, and I’ll save them for another post, but I want to make it clear that if someone would come up with a cool name instead of an acronym, it would be harder for me to decline.  Here’s a theoretical phone conversation:

“Hey, Nick, we’re starting up a new writers’ circle.”

“No, thanks.  It’s not really my thing.”

“You sure?  We’re calling it ‘Project Scorpio.'”

“Really?  That’s cool.”

“And we’re getting decoder rings.”

“Holy crap!”

I’m just saying…we’re a bunch of people who make money by writing dramatic things.  It’s a little ironic to not name our groups dramatically.  It’s like no one is even trying.  How can I trust someone’s playwriting chops if they name their group “PNPI” or “PDC?”

How about “Operation Thunderclap?”  “The Secret Order of the Quill?”  “The Knights of Red Ink?”  It doesn’t even need to make sense; it just needs to sound cool.  “The Nation of Kickassery.”  “Ferrum Dracones.”  “Wolves with Jetpacks.”  I can do this all day.  “Robot Samurai League.”  “Slippery Slope.”  “DangerKittens.”

I think my favorite is “Wolves with Jetpacks.”  Can you imagine what the jackets would look like?  Man!

There are few things as scary as writing something from the heart and putting it out there for the world to poop on.  Playwrights are brave, we’re bold, and we’re batshit crazy.  Maybe we should come up with names that reflect that.

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3 thoughts on “Acronyms suck

    1. nwardigo Post author

      I was, indeed, unaware that gerbils had acquired jetpack capability. However, since jetpacks are so indisputably cool, it would not surprise me to learn that many members of the animal and plant kingdoms are working hard to develop the technology.

  1. Roralee

    We face the same issue in technology fields, my intrepid playwright! What’s even worse when the acronym means different things to different groups at different times!!!

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