In 2015, Doug Wright’s new play, POSTERITY will premiere at the Linda Gross so we asked him to reflect on what makes Atlantic special to him. Here’s his response….
My fellow theater-goer,
“The starving poet business is no good nowadays.”
So wrote the great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, in a letter to a colleague dated May 28th, 1869. As a contemporary playwright, I take heart in the fact that even great literary giants like Ibsen occasionally groused about the perils, the penury, of our profession.
But I’m one of the lucky ones and I owe it to the Atlantic Theater Company. A few short years ago, I’d become disenchanted with a life in the theater. I was starting to fantasize about a more stable, remunerative job, like blowing glass or working in the fast food industry. Artistic Director Neil Pepe approached me at a cocktail party and said, “We’d love you to write a play for us. Any subject of your choosing. I want to make sure you keep writing for the stage.” I was about to fall off a cliff, and Neil caught me just in time.
And so ten years after my one-person drama I Am My Own Wife premiered in New York, I am returning with a new, non-musical play. It will premiere at the Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater this February. The show is entitled Posterity, and it chronicles an actual event in the life of the aforementioned Henrik Ibsen. In 1901, the Norwegian master was asked to sit for a commemorative bust by an up-and-coming Oslo sculptor with an ego to match his own. The meeting went very badly, with both comic and tragic implications, and the script imagines that fateful day. We’ve assembled a top-notch cast, a terrific design team, and start rehearsals in two short months. I’m not sleeping a wink these days, and it’s all because I’m giddy with anticipatory excitement. I haven’t felt so creatively invigorated in years.
As a writer and as a devoted theatergoer, I find that time and again, the Atlantic restores my faith in our centuries-old art form. In an age of tweets, blogs, vines, viral videos and movies you can even download on your portable phone, the Atlantic reminds us that nothing equals a community of individuals gathering together around a proscenium, like settlers around a campfire, to hear seasoned storytellers spin their tales. Sometimes all it takes are a few skilled actors, a suspension of disbelief, and a torn ticket stub to see the world anew.
I know the holidays are just around the corner and your mailbox is no doubt filled with letters like this one, impassioned annual appeals from worthy organizations. You’re already a friend of the Atlantic, or you wouldn’t be on this mailing list. Why should you give more? Because almost one hundred and fifty years after Ibsen said it, the starving poet business is still pretty damn tough. At its very core, the Atlantic strives every single day to keep the poet in each of us—the madcap philosopher, the inveterate dreamer, the undaunted visionary and the incurable romantic–alive. To me, that’s an indispensable cause.
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Call Janine Repka at 646.216.1088 to make a gift by phone.
Mail a check to:
Atlantic Theater Company
Attn: Development Department
76 Ninth Avenue, Suite 537
New York, NY 10011