Death of the Author
by Steven Drukman
directed by Bart DeLorenzo
originally produced at Geffen Playhouse,
Los Angeles, CA.
May 20, 2014
through June 29, 2014
With a world of knowledge just a smart phone away, is there still such a thing as an original idea? When a young professor suspects a student of plagiarism, his inquiry sparks a chain of events affecting the lives of four people in very real terms. Drukman’s beautifully drawn characters must navigate heartbreak, blind ambition and the cutthroat competition that thrives within these ivy-covered walls. Extending beyond post-modern literature and academic rigors, this smart, funny and engrossing world premiere becomes a personal battle to decide what is right, what is wrong and what must be done.
This very intriguing play was discovered through the 2012 7@7 Series at Manhattan Theatre Club. We have fully committed to produce this play on our Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater stage from May 20th to June 29th, 2014. Steven Drukman is a playwright and artist with whom we have dreamed of supporting and working for some time. Drukman's work has been developed by the Mark Taper Forum, Intiman Theatre, Sundance Theatre Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, and many others. In 2003, the young playwright received a Pultizer Prize nomination for Another Fine Mess. In addition to playwriting, Drukman teaches theater at New York University, where he received his doctorate in 1999. He was also an arts journalist for many years, writing for the New York Times and American Theatre magazine.
In Death of the Author, Drukman has a take on the world of academia that is as provocative as it is thoughtful. What struck us immediately about this play is that it takes on so many current dilemmas — elitism, plagiarism, escapism — to name only a few. But Drukman is adept at never making his play a polemic. Instead, he writes subtle, sympathetic characters who are able to move through (or not move through) painfully ambiguous situations. The question of plagiarism, which is at the very center of Death of the Author, is an incredibly nuanced and difficult subject. Drukman asks questions about the very nature of intellectual property in a world where everything is at our fingertips. He dramatizes the fears of professors that students will cease to have original thoughts and instead define their ideas based on which website upon which they stumble. As a professor himself, Drukman was able to take his personal experiences within the ivy covered community and infuse his characters with empathy and realism. In our search for new plays and voices that move us, it is our good fortune to have teamed up with Steven Drukman and director Bart DeLorenzo for this thought-provoking and moving new play. This four character play about a complicated and very relevant current issue is surely one that will appeal to theaters and theater audiences all over the country in subsequent productions. It will be an honor to recognize the Edgerton Foundation and its major role in bringing this new play to life for the American Stage.
The 2013 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award will significantly support the development and world-class production of this new play, and the work of this exceptional playwright, adding Death of the Author to the growing list of plays that the Foundation has identified as those with great promise for the American stage.
Director: Bart DeLorenzo