"Living on money from the odd grant, temp jobs and teaching positions, she is emblematic of her Gypsy tribe — theater people are the original urban nomads — and a vivid example of the increasingly precarious domestic life of an artist trying to live in New York.
Rent for a studio or a one-bedroom in the East Village, for example, has more than doubled in 10 years, said Douglas Hochlerin, a broker with Bond New York, a firm specializing in Manhattan rentals. Last year, when the rent on Ms. Berman’s Mott Street one-bedroom, where she had lived for three years, rose to $1,550 from $1,350, she gave up her lease, beginning another bout of itinerancy, as she described it.
“It’s all about money,” Ms. Berman said cheerfully. “It’s not like I have a penchant for the transient life.”
According to Emily Morse, the director of artistic development at New Dramatists, “two major things have changed as far as this city is concerned: the real estate market and the fact that very little money is going directly to artists.”
She continued: “You used to be able to work a 20-hour week, pay the rent on your tiny studio, and still write your plays. That’s no longer possible.”
Starve your artists and you get starving art.