Why I Joined the Guild by DT Arcieri
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
Learn how you can submit your Why I Joined the Guild essay here!