Wherein we ask the Moderators of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship three questions of monumental significance.
Hmmm… I’m not really sure I had mentors. I didn’t study playwriting as an undergrad and didn’t go to grad school so I didn’t really have playwriting teachers. I was treated warmly and encouraged by more experienced playwrights along the way but I’ve never had that experience of someone really spending time with me while I worked on something new. Maybe that’s why I like being part of the Fellows program so much. I like being on this side. Really getting to know a group of writers, tuning in to what they care about, observing the choices they make, seeing how they play to their strengths… and throwing some interesting curve balls at them along the way.
More great writers! I don’t think we need to do anything too fancy program-wise. The virtue of the program is it’s intimacy. We are a small, close group. We lean forward, we listen intently, we respond with care and investment. And the thing that has been most gratifying for me so far has been that after the program is over, the fellows stay in touch, meet with each other as a group, go to each others’ plays, etc. That makes me really happy.
I was an English major in college, so I didn’t have an automatic theatre community. But I built one over time. And I have met some of my closest friends through that community. And I’ve been able to meet people I really admire. And I’ve been exposed to work that has really moved me. So, I hope that the next generation does something really profound and energetic with their community. This is the Maker era. Where people with ideas become inventors. They don’t wait for people in positions of power to say “I deem you worthy of supporting.” They just create. On their kitchen tables, in their basements, using materials they found, created, picked from the trash. I think playwrights should become more entrepreneurial. I hope someone will change the model of how plays are produced in this country. And figures out a way for playwrights to make a living writing plays.
I would tell my emerging self that it will all be worth it. That someday my producer on a project will be someone from whom I regularly took a lunch order. That the waitressing, the soulless temping, staying in on Saturday nights because I need to work on my play, choosing rent over carefree travel, and those moments of fear and self-doubt… they’re all helping me get where I want to go. And yes, I will be able to be an artist and a wife and a mom. That I won’t have to move to the suburbs and get a straight job. That I can do it all. I will just be very, very tired.