Playwright David Adjmi Files Suit to Save Former Off-Broadway Play 3C
Playwright David Adjmi, creator of 3C, a deconstruction of THREE'S COMPANY, has just filed a federal suit to save the show.
According to The New York Times, Adjmi's 20-page complaint is an effort to "salvage" 3C, which has been halted from further productions by the copyright owner of the hit sitcom, DLT Entertainment. 3C ran for two months in 2012 Off-Broadway at Rattlestick Playwright Theatre.
Adjmi claims that his work does not infringe on THREE'S COMPANY's copyright, with his lawyers "citing the First Amendment and the legal doctrine of fair use, argue that "3C" is an original parody that only borrows some elements from the sitcom to examine its premise, character types, and homophobia and sexism in that era." The compaint includes support from Tony Kushner, Stephen Sondheim and others.
"Our position hasn't changed - '3C' is something that might harm our property, including a possible stage version of the television show that we've been actively pursuing," said Donald Taffner Jr., president of DLT Entertainment, according to the report.
3C is officially described as: "The war in Vietnam is over and Brad, an ex-serviceman, lands in L.A. to start a new life. When he winds up trashed in Connie and Linda's kitchen after a wild night of partying, the three strike a deal for an arrangement that has hilarious and devastating consequences for everyone. Or are they non-consequences? Inspired by 1970s sitcoms, 1950s existentialist comedy, Chekhov, and disco anthems, 3C is a terrifying yet amusing look at a culture that likes to amuse itself, even as it teeters on the brink of ruin."
THREE'S COMPANY's lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter that claimed the play used too many elements from the show, and "Adjmi, afraid of being sued, agreed not to allow further productions, though he never signed anything."
No theaters have mounted productions of the play since it closed, though Adjmi has received an offer from Samuel French to publish an acting edition of 3C. TCG and French will reportedly not move forward with the publication with legal threats looming.
For the original report, click here.
Adjmi has been awarded a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writers' Award, the Kesselring Prize for Drama, the Steinberg Playwright Award (the "Mimi"), and the Bush Artists Fellowship. His most recent play, the acclaimed Elective Affinities, premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company and received its New York premiere in 2011 in a coproduction between piece by piece productions, Rising Phoenix Repertory, and Soho Rep that starredZoe Caldwell.
His hit play Stunning was developed at New York Theatre Workshop and MTC; was published in the September 2008 issue of American Theatre; and premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where it was nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards including the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play. It was subsequently produced at Lincoln Center Theatre's LCT3 in July 2009 (Time Out New York Top 10 of the year). TCG recently published a collection of his work entitled Stunning and Other Plays and he is currently at work on an as-yet-untitled memoir for HarperCollins.
His play Marie Antoinette, which was developed at Sundance, the Public, and the Goodman Theatre, will receive a world premiere co-production between Yale Rep and A.R.T./Harvard in 2012 (dir. Rebecca Taichman). 3C was developed at Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb. The Evildoers was developed at The Royal Court Theatre (UK), and the Sundance Theatre Lab; it premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre (Hartford Courant and New Haven Advocate Top 10 of 2008). Other plays include Caligula (Soho Rep Studio Series), Strange Attractors (Empty Space) andWoody Allen's Fall Project. David is currently under commission by Lincoln Center Theatre, Berkeley Rep, and the Royal Court. He is the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, a McKnight Advancement Grant, the Marian Seldes-Garson Kanin Award, a Jerome Fellowship, a Royal Court International Residency, Jon Robin Baitz's Ovid Grant for New Writing, a NYTW/Dartmouth Residency, the Lecomte du Nouy Award, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project Fellowship (w. Craig Lucas), an Atlantic Center for the Arts residency (w. Paula Vogel), a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, and multiple fellowships from The MacDowell Colony. David has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Mellon Foundation, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the McKnight Foundation. He has taught workshops and classes at the Yale School of Drama, Southampton Writers Conference, University of Rochester, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and the Primary Stages School of Theatre. David is a member of New Dramatists, MCC Playwrights Coalition, and Rising Phoenix Rep. He is a graduate of Sarah LawrenceCollege, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and the Juilliard School.
Photo by Joan Marcus