2014 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Visits UArts

Annie Baker ('The Flick') discusses her work with the UArts community

April 23, 201

Hot on the heels of winning the Pulitzer Prize in Playwriting this month, renowned playwright Annie Baker (above and below left) visited the University’s Ira Brind School of Theater Arts for a conversation with the UArts community.

Called “one of the most critically lauded playwrights to emerge on the New York theater scene in the past 10 years” by The Hollywood Reporter, Baker discussed her work and answered questions from the audience at the Caplan Center Studio Theater on April 21, with Brind School Director Joanna Settle (below right) facilitating the discussion.

"Annie is a deeply soulful and considered writer,” says Settle. “It's a real victory for the medium that this 33-year-old woman has been recognized as a defining voice in theater. Watching an Annie Baker play always spins me into parts of my own consciousness that I'm grateful to be reminded of and challenged in. She is truly a great poet of the American stage."

Baker’s most recent full-length play is “The Flick,” which focuses on three young people who work in a central Massachusetts independent movie house. “The Flick” also won the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the Obie Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and was nominated for Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards for Best Play. The New York Times said of “The Flick” that “this lovingly observed play will sink deep into your consciousness, and probably stay there a while.”

“She is a young and unique voice our students can relate to,” says Associate Professor David Howie, head of the UArts Acting program. “‘The Flick’ was something of an experiment, as she places a movie theater auditorium on the stage and has three people clean it up over a period of three hours.

Baker emphasized to the Caplan Center audience the importance of silence in her plays and of the creation of subtext. She also spoke at length about her creative process and of finding her voice as a writer.

Baker’s other works include “Circle Mirror Transformation,” winner of the Obie Award for Best New American Play, and nominated for a Drama Desk award for Best Play; “The Aliens,” an Obie Award winner for Best New American Play; “Body Awareness, nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Play/Emerging Playwright; and an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” for which she also designed the costumes and received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Revival.

Baker’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S. and in England, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Latvia, Sweden and Russia.

Photos by CJ Harker '14 (Photography).

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