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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Real Life Drama of Being a Playwright

Gary Garrison of the Dramatists Guild of America and David Dower of Arena Stage talk about the challenges of being a working playwright.

Scant pay and no health insurance, not to mention writer’s block and the constant search for an audience -- all just part of the real-life drama for a playwright trying to make it in America today.

Those and other concerns are being addressed at a national conference, Playwrights in Mind. It’s sponsored by the Dramatists Guild of America and hosted by the Theater of the First Amendment at George Mason University.

I recently talked about it with Gary Garrison, a playwright himself and executive director for creative affairs of the Dramatists Guild of America, and David Dower, associate artistic director at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and founder of its American Voices New Play Institute.

JEFFREY BROWN: Playwrights in Mind, Gary, the purpose of this is both high and low, right? Big vision and nuts and bolts?

GARY GARRISON: In its simplest form it was a way to bring us all together. We are a national organization; our members are all over the country, so this is a way of getting us all in the same room and talking about those issues that are important to all of us.

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