Playwrights are cats. Solitary animals. They work alone. It’s just the fundamental nature of the craft. That makes it, of course, a bit lonely. That acceptable and necessary aspect of our occupation comes into sharp focus only when we get a call or email from an artistic director, a dog, who wants to do our show. And, hold on there, being a dog is no insult. It just means being a social animal. Actors, directors and even audience members are dogs. They do their work in groups. And I suspect, as a result, they are less lonely than we are. They meet in dressing rooms and lobbies; at auditions, readings, rehearsals and show nights. Together they get to discuss, dissect and understand their crafts, their arts, their occupations. They get to schmooze. Lucky dogs!
So this is why I joined the Guild: I was lonely! I needed to be part of a community – a close knit community that discussed the whys, whats and hows of theatre from the playwrights point of view. I love “Ten Questions,” other interviews, stories of and work by DGF Fellows, regional reports and all the essays of The Dramatist. I love hearing how the creative process works for other writers. I love learning how they built what they built. I could go on and on about what I love about the Guild, but the bottom line is that I feel like I am one with the membership, as a colleague, a friend, a kindred spirit. Through them I grow and understand myself better. I am one with them. I am not alone. Through the Guild I am no longer a cat, no longer a solitary animal. Through the Dramatists Guild I am part of a large, loving community.
p.s. An anecdote: In 1992 when I had a contract dispute over my first production (an off-off Broadway one-act) I was a new member of the Guild and gave them a call. The receptionist connected me to a person who defined very clearly what the theatre’s problem was and how I should approach fixing it. She gave me succinct advice. It was a tiny show, but at the end of this generous and thoughtful conversation I found out I had been given guidance from the very top: Executive Director Dana Singer. That’s when I realized how important the Guild was. Nothing was too small or insignificant for them. I was just as important to them as a hit Broadway playwright!
DT ARCIERI’s plays have been read and produced across America, and very recently in Canada, Croatia and Belgium. Drunk Socks: Notes for a Novella, his first work of prose, was published last year. He holds MA degrees in Biological Sciences and Theatre Arts from Stony Brook University and can be readily found at www.DTArcieri.com
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