The New Dramatists' Annual Writers' Benefit on Feb. 12 was deemed a success by its organizers, netting $6,100 for the refurbishing of the outfit's library. The money was collected in a distinctive manner well in keeping with the New Dramatists' character. The services of roughly a dozen dramatists were auctioned off during the evening. Winning bidders then commissioned a short play on the spot, which the wordsmiths immediately composed, rehearsed with actors and presented to the benefit crowd.
Wellman was the first "lot" to be bid upon, earning $190. The top money earners were sometimes surprising. Octavio Solis, participating via e mail from California, won a bid of $675.
Most of the resulting plays ran 15 minutes or so. An original musical piece by Karen Hartman and Kim Sherman proved a popular favorite. And Wright took a tip from his surrounding, writing a self-referential comic piece about a conference between a playwright and patron who has commissioned a short play at a benefit.
Other playwrights, including Neena Beber and David Greenspan, spent the evening writing valentines and love letters for a fee. — By Robert Simonson