UPDATE: Jessica Goldstein wrote a very nice piece in the Backstage column about this announcement. I’m grateful to her for the story.
I am very pleased to be able to announce, to the handful of people who haven’t heard already via one or more social networks in our highly-connected world, that I am now the official Dramatists Guild representative for the DC area.
(Before I write another word, I need to interject with the following: everything I write on this blog is my own commentary and does not in any way represent the opinions or positions of the Dramatists Guild. Or something like that. That’s the best disclaimer I could devise.)
What excites me more than anything about this new role is the jolt of energy, resources, and support I expect it will give to the work I’ve been doing — along with (most notably) Rebecca Gingrich-Jones, Ally Currin, Laura Zam, Renee Calarco, and half a dozen or so other terrific people — to organize on behalf of playwrights in DC. We’ve all been making some terrific things happen without any outside help. Who knows what’ll be possible now?
In point of fact, I don’t really expect all that much to change. The DC-Area Playwrights Facebook group will continue to serve as a collaborative platform on which we can plan events, support each other, ask questions, share opportunities, and so forth. It won’t suddenly become an “official Dramatists Guild space” or anything; all playwrights (and supporters of playwrights) in the DC area will still be welcome, whether they’re Guild members or not. We’ll still hold happy hours and artist blind dates and playwright slams and the like. We just might be able to tart things up a bit more. Time will tell.
One thing you can be sure of, though: you’re not going to see me proselytizing for the Guild. Now, that’s not to say that I’m not a very proud member, or that I don’t think Guild membership can be a terrific thing; I wouldn’t have joined the organization in the first place (let alone agreed to become the DC rep) if I didn’t believe in it and find great value in it. But I believe that every playwright needs to make an individual choice about whether Guild membership is right. To the extent that it might be useful, I’m happy to listen to anyone weighing the decision and offer a few thoughts. That’s it.
You’re also not going to see me stop criticizing the Guild. Yes, I said stop: a few readers might remember that less than I year ago I wrote a post about the Guild’s renewal email in which I suggested a few significant improvements. I won’t pretend that I’d write exactly the same post today — it’d be facetious of me to do so — but I would certainly share my thoughts, no matter how critical they might be. Likewise, I’ll continue to share praise when I think praise is due, like I did with this review of the inaugural Dramatists Guild conference. My point is: this blog is one of the reasons the Guild asked me to take on this new role, so I expect they’d want nothing less than for me to stay the course.
Then again, who knows where the course will take me? I’m excited to find out. The future is, after all, unwritten… so we’ll see!