I have mentioned before that I don’t like lists. Consequently, until now, I have resisted calls for a Best Sellers list on the Lazy Bee Scripts web site. There are various reasons for this. For a start, one size doesn’t fit all; just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean that it will suit your performers or audience. Secondly, such a list is unfair to the scripts (and authors) that don’t feature on it, since it will tend to be self-perpetuating. Thirdly, it’s unfair to new scripts which haven’t had time to become popular. However, I think the principal cause of my resistance was summed up by John Betjeman in The arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel:
“Approval of what is approved of is as false as a well-kept vow.“
I want everyone to think for themselves and decide on their own tastes and priorities, rather than liking what everybody else likes.
We’ve got over 2700 scripts and 60 murder mysteries on our books. I’m convinced we’re way beyond the point where everyone has the patience to find for themselves material that will fit their needs. Consequently, we’re introducing more signposts – easy shortcuts to suitable material. We’ve had “What’s New” listings for a long time. Recently, we introduced the “Find A Few” search to supplement our full search engine, and now we’ve added a “What’s Hot” list.
Actually, the “What’s Hot” is multiple lists, because there’s no point in enthusing about a popular two-hour drama to someone who wants a best-selling five minute comedy sketch. Of course, this brings additional problems: should the categories be distinct, or should a best-selling one-act pantomime for schools appear in three categories? We’ve gone for distinct categories (accepting the risk of confusion because our general categories have fuzzier boundaries):-
- Full-length pantomimes
- One-act pantomimes
- Short pantos
- Family Shows (not panto, but a similar function: entertainment for all ages)
- Plays written for schools and youth theatre
- Full-length Plays
- One-act Plays
- Sketches and short plays
- Murder Mysteries (with audience involvement, as distinct from plays)
This being a human endeavour, the results are imperfect. For example, the most popular Youth Theatre plays tend to be for ages 8 to 12 (because there aren’t so many plays for younger children, and older children perform a mix of plays written for their age-group and plays written for adults). Consequently, only two plays suitable for under-fives show up in the best selling youth theatre category, but (because it’s a musical) one shows up in the musicals category. Ah well.
We hope that will make selection a faster and more rewarding experience for many of our customers. I also hope that many others will ignore “What’s Hot” and strike a blow for independent thinking by searching and browsing in other ways!