Dear Wendy Wasserstein
Sorry for not writing sooner. This note is long overdue.
It's been years since I met you in the corner of that crowded bookstore where the skinny Drama section stooped between Entertainment and Art. Actually, it was more of a shelf than a full-scale section, but that's where we met. You and I. You were one of only a few female playwrights sitting there.
I didn't know girls wrote plays.
You see, in school, they taught O'Neill, Brecht, Ibsen — Oh, I know a joke about Ibsen! They say, if he’d written A Doll’s House today, that play would be no more than a one-act, cause no modern Nora would stick around with that hubby of hers for a full-length — no way! She'd slam her way out of that manuscript long before intermission.
And I think Nora's early liberation is due to you, women like you, Wendy.
When I was young and interviewed with a commercial theatre, the artistic director asked me who my favorite playwright was. Marsha Norman, I answered, cause 'Night Mother is dark, and your Heidi Chronicles is much lighter, and I wanted to be dark, cause I was young and everybody was wearing black.
A few years later, I needed a laugh, and there you were with all your wit, just waiting for me. Who knew feminists could have such a sense of humor? Cause feminism - that's serious stuff. But you were funny and friendly. You didn't have to be serious to make a point. You knew that long before I did.
And your name, Wendy, has turned out to be lucky for me. Wendy's the name of the woman who mentored me. And another Wendy's directed several fledgling scripts of mine. Overall, "Wendy" has been good to me.
Well, I don't want to gush on and on, cause you probably get a lot of that. I know you weren't the first female playwright to win the Pulitzer, but for me, Wendy, you were the first who made it seem accessible, not stuffy, not shut-up in some literary file, but living and laughing out loud in the world.
And that's how I'll remember you.