22. Type Fittings

One way to break playwrights into types is to look at them from a personality perspective: the extroverted and the introverted. I would guess many playwrights fall clearly into one category or the other, but most can probably claim an element or two from the other category as well. As I'm contemplative and rather solitary, I fit easily into the introverted slot. Though I know when I've stage managed or directed an outgoing side of my personality joyfully emerges.

The life of a writer can be solitary and is likely necessarily so. We in theatre have an advantage in that theatre is a collaborative art form, which gives us an active connection with other artists. This leads to another category for playwrights: those who are theatre people first or writers first. Hopefully, most playwrights will house several elements from both categories; I certainly do. I first became aware of this category, after I'd been to a writers' conference where playwrights were in a decided minority to writers of fiction and poetry. Eventually I realized which trait was more predominant in me.

Two years ago the Dramatists Guild held their first national conference. I was there and was looking forward to seeing a couple of friends, whom I rarely see face-to-face. As the conference ended, I was among 7 or 8 writers headed to the train station. I didn't know any of these writers. We had some time before our trains, so we had lunch together. These writers were from different parts of the country, had different levels of experience, had different stories, had different lives they were headed back to. However, we all had one thing in common--our care, our interest and our willingness to make sacrifices to write plays. I didn't expect something so sating from a meal with a group of strangers, but for that time together we were not strangers. We were all one: sharing our experiences, sharing our knowledge, sharing our concerns and sharing our frustrations.

originally posted August 2013
reposted March 2018

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