Today, the Bush Theater saw the rather critical blog post I wrote about them and BushGreen contacted me about it via Twitter. Yes, they are updating their submissions policies but still accepting unsolicited, unproduced scripts (one per playwright) from around the English-speaking world. They also stated that the Bush had commissioned Dominic Savage's Fear because his "process of improv was of great interest to us and we wanted to chart new and experimental territory." It was "part of an initiative to make new work in new ways."
If Fear was indeed developed through an improv-based process, that could account for some of the weaknesses I found in the script. When you commission improv-based or devised work, you never know what you're going to get, and sometimes the experiment will fail. All the same, it was odd that Fear's origins in improv weren't mentioned in any of the reviews I read or in the Bush's publicity (though I didn't buy a playbill, so maybe that would have included something about Savage's development process. P.S., Brits, what is with your insistence that people have to pay for playbills?)
I can't exactly fault the Bush for thinking that as a "new works" theater, they should explore alternative means of creating work, rather than relying solely on the scripts that are submitted to them. At the same time, I can't help being a bit disappointed that they're not devoting 100% of the slots in their season to producing some of those thousand scripts they receive in their slush pile each year.
Of course I could now segue into a discussion of the increasing prominence of devised work in U.S. and U.K. theater, and the implications of this. But I don't really feel like getting into that right now. For the time being, it sounds like we can still go ahead and submit our scripts to the Bush Theatre via BushGreen, and they will continue to be read and considered... but BushGreen isn't the theater's only source of plays to produce.