When I was a kid, I was a great speller. I’m still a great speller. I remember having trouble with two words in particular: Tennessee and Playwright. Tennessee just has too many double letters and is a word I don’t use enough to care how it’s spelled. Playwright, on the other hand, was confusing because you write plays. I didn’t know what “wrighting” was.
It wasn’t until I was much older and learning how to be a playwright that I learned that the word wright was an archaic word for builder. I wasn’t just writing down words, I was building a world. It was a comforting way to think about it. These weren’t my thoughts and ideas being written down for all to judge – it was a world I had built.
As a woman, I feel like it’s my duty to build worlds in which women are celebrated and treated with equality and respect, but I don’t always do that. It’s a weird pressure to write this way all the time; if I actually did it, I think everything I wrote would feel a little bit like science fiction. So, what’s the line between writing a positive representation of women and representing the realities that we as women face? I believe in being the wright of a world in which women are respected and and celebrated, but I also think it’s important for playwriting to be current; currently, women face a lot of adversity.
I don’t have an answer yet, but I think that sweet spot I’m looking for lies somewhere in conversation. When I speak with other women and I hear their stories, I know more clearly which stories I want to tell, what worlds I want to build. As female playwrights we owe it to each other to build a community, to talk to each other and to make plays in our own wright.