The Last Page
What Guild Membership Means To Me
by John Weidman
The Dramatist-January/February 2013
"The Dramatists Guild means a lot of things to me, but first and foremost it means ownership and control. Absolute ownership and complete control of the work I create when I write for the theatre.
There are certain givens that many playwrights today simply take for granted. That a producer cannot fire them from their own play and replace them with another playwright. That no one can change a word of what they've written without their permission. That a producer cannot add interpretive artists-directors, actors, and designers-to their play without their approval.
The thing that playwrights sometimes forget is that these givens were not always givens. That in fact they were not "given" at all. That these protections were fought for and won by generations of playwrights working collectively through the organization that they created to establish and defend what are now accepted as fundamental working norms.
And that organization is the Dramatists Guild of America.
There's a playwright I know who believes that these essential protections are not something he owes to the determined efforts of Eugene O'Neill and Robert Sherwood and Edward Albee, but rather something he owes to the negotiating skills of his agent and his attorney. If that's the case, he should ask his agent and his attorney to negotiate the same protections for him next time he makes a movie deal.
The ever-expanding community the Guild has become, the ever-increasing number of services the Guild is able to provide, these are all part of the exhilarating way in which the meaning of the Guild continues to expand and evolve.
But every time I sit down to write for the theatre, I try to consciously remind myself that the only reason I will control what I create is because almost a hundred years ago American playwrights banded together to ensure that that's the way it had to be.
And in the end that's what the Dramatists Guild means to me."
- ...forgotten artist productions...™
- Current and Past Projects
- Enough's Enough! 2012 Production
- Restructuring 2013 Production
- Living Art Event 2013 Production
- Making Up For The Past 2012 Production
- Where Art Lives 2009 Staged Reading
- Westchester Collaborative Theater