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New Downtown Now

An Anthology of New Theater from Downtown New York

2006

Mac Wellman and Young Jean Lee, editors

New Downtown Now

Ten experimental new plays from New York's vibrant downtown theater scene

New Downtown Now brings together ten new works that exemplify the playfulness, excitement, and possibilities of the theater.

The anthology includes Interim by Barbara Cassidy; Tragedy: a tragedy by Will Eno; Nine Come by Elana Greenfield; Sachiko and Enoshima Island by Madelyn Kent; The Appeal by Young Jean Lee; The Vomit Talk of Ghosts by Kevin Oakes; Ajax (por nobody) by Alice Tuan; Apparition: An Uneasy Play of the Underknown by Anne Washburn; Demon Baby by Erin Courtney.

In an age dead set against artistic experiment and community, Mac Wellman and Young Jean Lee provide a thrilling forum for both to thrive. The plays collected in this indispensable anthology offer proof that, under the mainstream radar, new visions of theatrical truth are not only fugitively emerging but flourishing in their enviable freedom.

Charles McNulty, CUNY Brooklyn

At a time when most serious drama being written and produced for the American stage aspires only to mainstream acceptance and high-toned mediocrity, an innovative new generation of playwrights based in New York City has emerged, crafting works that challenge and undermine the conventional structure, language, and characterization of commercial theater while rejecting outdated notions of the avant-garde.

New Downtown Now brings together ten new works that exemplify the playfulness, excitement, and possibilities of the theater. Characterized by fragmenting structure, hypnotic rhythms, kaleidoscopic imagery, unpredictable characters, and lyrical language, these plays resemble puzzles from which the writers are teasing revelations. Though disparate in subject matter and style, with characters ranging from a sushi chef to a soldier and settings from a taxicab to a live television broadcast, these highly original plays share a commitment to formal experimentation that places them beyond the psychological clichés of the majority and the cold condescension of postmodernism.

The anthology includes Interim by Barbara Cassidy; Tragedy: a tragedy by Will Eno; Nine Come by Elana Greenfield; Shufu-Sachiko and Enoshima Island by Madelyn Kent; The Appeal by Young Jean Lee; The Vomit Talk of Ghosts by Kevin Oakes; Ajax (por nobody) by Alice Tuan; Apparition: An Uneasy Play of the Underknown by Anne Washburn; Demon Baby by Erin Courtney.

New Downtown Now

Mac Wellman is the author of numerous plays and the recipient of three Obie awards, most recently in 2003 for lifetime achievement. He is professor of playwriting at Brooklyn College.

Young Jean Lee is a playwright and director, and member of the Obie award-winning company 13P.

Jeffrey M. Jones is a playwright and curator of the Obie award-winning Little Theater at Tonic in New York.

New Downtown Now

In an age dead set against artistic experiment and community, Mac Wellman and Young Jean Lee provide a thrilling forum for both to thrive. The plays collected in this indispensable anthology offer proof that, under the mainstream radar, new visions of theatrical truth are not only fugitively emerging but flourishing in their enviable freedom.

Charles McNulty, CUNY Brooklyn

This is an important book, and its highlights are too numerous to recount here. New Downtown Now does the theater world a service by introducing these nine innovative writers to reading public that otherwise might not have noticed them. It is a vital work, a necessary addition to the library of anyone who cares about contemporary theater.

Brooklyn Rail

Theater enthusiasts bemoaning the absence of freshness in current Broadway theater should rejoice in this collection of ten experimental plays by promising new playwrights centered in New York City. Recommended!

Choice

Makes theatrical gems accessible that might otherwise remain unknown to those of us who are not lucky enough to have the chance to explore downtown theatre on our own.

Theatre Topics

New Downtown Now

CONTENTS
Preface vii
MAC WELLMAN AND YOUNG JEAN LEE
Introduction: How to Read a Curious Play ix
JEFFREY M. JONES
Interim 1
BARBARA CASSIDY
Tragedy: a tragedy 49
WILL ENO
Nine Come 73
ELANA GREENFIELD
Sachiko 105
MADELYN KENT
Enoshima Island 125
MADELYN KENT
The Appeal 155
YOUNG JEAN LEE
The Vomit Talk of Ghosts 187
KEVIN OAKES
Ajax (por nobody) 245
ALICE TUAN
Apparition: An Uneasy Play of the Underknown 313
ANNE WASHBURN
Demon Baby 355
ERIN COURTNEY
Contributors 399
Preface