The Methuen Drama Book of New American Plays is an anthology of six outstanding plays from some of the most exciting playwrights currently receiving critical acclaim in the States. It showcases work produced at a number of the leading theatres during the last decade and charts something of the extraordinary range of current playwriting in America. It will be invaluable not only to readers and theatergoers in the U.S., but to those around the world seeking out new American plays and an insight into how U.S. ...
The Methuen Drama Book of New American Plays is an anthology of six outstanding plays from some of the most exciting playwrights currently receiving critical acclaim in the States. It showcases work produced at a number of the leading theatres during the last decade and charts something of the extraordinary range of current playwriting in America. It will be invaluable not only to readers and theatergoers in the U.S., but to those around the world seeking out new American plays and an insight into how U.S. playwrights are engaging with their current social and political environment.
There is a rich collection of distinctive, diverse voices at work in the contemporary American theatre and this brings together six of the best, with work by David Adjmi, Marcus Gardley, Young Jean Lee, Katori Hall, Christopher Shinn and Dan LeFranc. The featured plays range from the intimate to the epic, the personal to the national and taken together explore a variety of cultural perspectives on life in America. The first play, David Adjmi's Stunning, is an excavation of ruptured identity set in modern day Midwood, Brooklyn, in the heart of the insular Syrian-Jewish community; Marcus Gardley's lyrical epic The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry deals with the migration of Black Seminoles, is set in mid-1800s Oklahoma and speaks directly to modern spirituality, relocation and cultural history; Young Jean Lee's Pullman, WA deals with self-hatred and the self-help culture in her formally inventive three-character play; Katori Hall's Hurt Village uses the real housing project of "Hurt Village" as a potent allegory for urban neglect set against the backdrop of the Iraq war; Christopher Shinn's Dying City melds the personal and political in a theatrical crucible that cracks open our response to 9/11 and Abu Graib, and finally Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal, an inter-generational play spanning eighty years, is set in the mid-west in a generic restaurant and considers family legacy and how some of the smallest events in life turn out to be the most significant.
David Adjmi is the recipient of the 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2010 Whiting Writers' Award, and the 2009 Kesselring and Bush Artist Fellowships. Plays include 3C (Rattlestick Theatre Company, New York), Stunning (Woolly Mammonth, Lincoln Center Theater), The Evildoers (Yale Rep, world premiere), Elective Affinities (Royal Shakespeare Company and Soho Rep, piece by piece productions, and Rising Phoenix Repertory), Caligula, and Strange Attractions (Empty Space Theatre).
Marcus Gardley is a poet-playwright who was awarded the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels award for Mid-Career Playwright. His most recent play, Every Tongue Confess, premiered at Arena Stage, Washington. His musical, On The Levee, premiered at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and was nominated for 11 Audelco Awards including outstanding playwright. His play, And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, was produced at The Cutting Ball Theater, San Francisco, and received the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination for outstanding new play.
Young Jean Lee is an OBIE award-winning playwright and director who has been called 'the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation' by the New York Times and 'one of the best experimental playwrights in America' by Time Out New York. She has written and directed nine shows in New York with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company and toured her work to over twenty cities around the world.
Katori Hall is from Memphis, Tennessee. Her play The Mountaintop was first produced to great acclaim at Theatre503, London, in June 2009, and received a transfer to the Trafalgar Studios, London, the following month. It won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010, and opened in Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York City, in October 2011. Her other plays include Hurt Village (Classical Theatre of Harlem Future Classics Reading Series, BRIC Studio, 2007), HoodooLove (Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, 2007), Remembrance (Women's Project/World Financial Center site-specific work, 2007), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Classical Theatre of Harlem Future Classics Reading Series, The Schomburg Centre, New York, 2008), WHADDABLOODCLOT!!!, The Hope Well and Pussy Valley. Her numerous awards include the 2007 Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, a 2006 New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting and Screenwriting, a residency at the Royal Court Theatre in 2006, and the 2005 Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting award.
Christopher Shinn (b. 1975) is an American playwright from New York. He has had a number of play produced in the UK, including Four (Royal Court Theatre, 1998); Other People (Royal Court Theatre, 2000); Where Do We Live (Royal Court Theatre, 2002); The Coming World (Soho Theatre, 2001), and Dying City (Royal Court Theatre, 2006). In 2008 he was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. Most recently he took part in the Bush Theatre's staging of the Bible, Sixty Six Books.
Dan LeFranc received the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, premiered by Page 73 Productions and Soho Rep. His most recent play, The Big Meal, received its world premiere at American Theater Company in Chicago, and its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2012. His other plays include Troublemaker or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright, Origin Story, Bruise Easy, Night Surf, In The Labyrinth, The Fishbone Fables, Backyard, Kill The Keepers, and Catgut.
Sarah Benson has been the Artistic Director of Soho Rep theatre in New York since 2007. Her work as a producer at Soho Rep has been recognised with four OBIE awards, three Drama Desk nominations, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award.
Introduction by Sarah Benson Stunning by David Adjmi The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry by Marcus Gardley Pullman, WA by Young Jean Lee
Hurt Village by Katori Hall Dying City by Christopher Shinn The Big Meal by Dan LeFranc