Emergence Through Playwriting

Jung, Drama, and Creative Practice


  • Bianca Reynolds




playwriting, contemporary family homecoming drama, C. G. Jung, analytical psychology, complex, individuation, emergence


Jungian artistic criticism is a thriving field of scholarship, with strong representation in the literature across numerous disciplines. However, there is relatively little Jungian representation in critical studies of dramatic writing. This essay adopts the dual perspectives of playwright and dramatic critic to argue for the utility of a Jungian theoretical framework for the creation and analysis of play texts. Such utility is demonstrated through analysis of a case study genre, termed the “contemporary family homecoming drama.” C. G. Jung’s theories of individuation and the psychological complex provide the theoretical framework for this discussion, along with a post-Jungian understanding of emergence theory. The central argument is substantiated via critical case studies of Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County and Eventide, an original play. This essay proposes a model for a Jungian playwriting methodology, transferable to other playwrights wishing to create drama within a Jungian framework.