Every playwright I know who has thought about it -- and a good number of directors I know too -- believe that if we really believe in new work for the American theater then major institutions have to make a real commitment to playwrights as members of their institutions. Not just producing a play here and there but making the playwright a part of the community and supporting their work through some thin and then, ideally, some thick. . . The idea of 3 year commitments has been repeated to me -- or maybe I just repeated it so many times to other people that I thought I heard them say it too -- Regardless, someone has been listening. Kudos to Arena Stage for making good ideas real -- and especially for including "local" playwrights, explicitly, in their residency plans. . .
Makes me seriously contemplate becoming a local playwright in Washington D.C.. . .
I can guarantee you that every playwright I know, regardless of where they live and what their "official" career designation is, will be trying to get in on this 3 year residency the first chance that they can.
If Minnesota doesn't want to lose its place as a vibrant playwright magnet, someone's going to have to step up and match Arena's bold and wonderful ideas. . .
Can anyone think of an institution with the potential resources to make this happen?