The short answer: because Gary Garrison told me to.
The longer, more circuitous answer: I was nearing the end of my 20s. It was juuuuust before the 2008 recession, and after buying a condo that my granddad tried to warn me off, I had juuuuust learned the hard way that one should maybe listen to older, wiser people when they advise you about some shit.
So yeah, there I was, in grad school about to trade a mortgage for student-loan debt. My workshop class was run by none other than Gary Garrison (whom I knew as my professor before I knew him as the then-Executive Director of the Guild). I remember him shaming the shit out of us for not knowing shit about our industry. He’d just quizzed us on stuff like what the top-grossing Broadway play was that week and which Artistic Director had just resigned after a big ol’ scandal, and we all failed miserably.
It got me thinking about theatre differently. I suddenly wanted to study it the way a cardiologist studies the whole human body. Like yeah, I wanted to be a playwright. Okay. Cool. But much in the way a cardiologist wouldn’t be very good at their job if they just studied the heart in isolation without considering everything that surrounds and feeds into it, I wouldn’t be a very good playwright if I didn’t pay a-fuckin’-ttention to what was happening in the world of theatre. If I just stayed in my room and wrote my little stories and think I was doing something. I couldn’t limit my world to my laptop screen. I needed to connect. To immerse myself.
I wondered aloud how, apart from just reading The Times, I was supposed to stay plugged into the community if most of what I did, I did in solitude.
Gary: “Easy. Join the Guild.”