On Playwrighting | The Dramatist

Published in The Dramatist Magazine

What are we doing when we write for the stage? Are we entertaining ourselves?  Entertaining others?  Having our say? Trying to make a living? Trying to make a point?  Furthering the art form?  Joining the dialogue? Trying to save the ship?  Trying to sink the ship?  Getting even?  Getting ahead?  Keeping our career alive? … Read the rest

Not There Yet : What Will It Take to Achieve Equality for Women in the Theatre? | American Theatre

Published in American Theater Magazine, November 2009

Discussing the status of women in the theatre feels a little like debating global warming. I mean, why are we still having this discussion? According to the NYSCA report[1], 83 percent of produced plays are written by men. And nobody doubts that the North Pole is melting, we see it on the news. … Read the rest

Can Playwriting Be Taught?

Published by the Dramatist Guild, July 2006
Keynote address from the Southeastern Theater Conference in 2006

The age-old answer to this question was always “No, playwriting cannot be taught.”  And like other age-old answers – abstinence is the only way, father knows best, etc – it was not true at all, but did serve a certain purpose, which was to keep young people from trying stuff the grayhairs wanted to keep for themselves, or knew to be fraught with peril. Read the rest

Where I Live | O at Home

Published in “O at Home” magazine column, 2006

If you were ever reading in a beautiful library and wished you could go pour yourself a bourbon and climb into bed, well, that’s what it’s like to live in my New York loft. It’s 1,500 square feet of rent-stabilized space in SoHo, complete with book-filled shelves, a rolling ladder, a big desk, and a bed.Read the rest

August Wilson | Citation

For the first ten years of the Dramatist Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards, Marsha Norman wrote citations for the winners.

(April 2006)

When August Wilson was born, no theatrical tradition was there to greet him, there was no path,  there were no stairs by which he might become the August Wilson we are celebrating tonight.  He had to find it all for himself, discover his own gift for poetry, discover that plays were useful and then learn to write them. … Read the rest

Dear August

Dear August

On behalf of the Council of the Dramatists Guild

We read with great sadness of your illness.  As your fellow writers, we wanted to make sure you knew how valuable you are to us, and how immeasurable your contribution has been both to the American theatre and the American culture as a whole. In pledging yourself to complete such a profound body of work, you have challenged us all to get our work done, without succumbing to the distractions of the commercial world, or the voices of the critics. … Read the rest

Sondheim Tribute | Citation

June 2011

Every year, preparing to write these lifetime achievement award citations, I read bios and interviews with our honoree, I make lists of my favorite lines and lyrics.   But I also think about the idea of lifetime achievement, about what it is.  Is it the lifetime we’re honoring  – the stamina required to do something as hard as writing for the theatre your whole life, or is it the achievement – the artistry, the grace, the power or the glory of a body of work. … Read the rest

Horton Foote | Citation

Given in 2007

Of all the contests we hold in America – American Idol, Miss America, National Book Awards, Soapbox Derby, Survivor, Great Race, Best Bagel, the World Series, the Indy 500, on and on – do other countries to this?  What is wrong with us?  Let me start again.

The one contest we have never have to hold in America, is MOST BELOVED PLAYWRIGHT.  … Read the rest

Arthur Miller | Citation

The first Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Dramatists Guild

The Dramatists Guild of America has never given a Lifetime Achievement award before.  Not that our members haven’t had both lifetimes…and achievements, but no American playwright has had a whole lifetime of achievement like Arthur Miller.

And while other groups have honored his achievements, giving him his Pulitzer, his Tony, his Oliver, his Emmy, his Drama Critics Circle, his Kennedy Center Honor, and all his other truly countless awards, his fellow dramatists want to thank him for his lifetime. … Read the rest