The Mac Wellman Homecoming Festival
Born in Cleveland in 1945, Mac Wellman is Distinguished Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College, and a widely recognized playwright, novelist, and poet. His honors include NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NYFA, and FCA fellowships; multiple Obies, including one for Lifetime Achievement; commissions from McKnight, the McCarter Theatre, Sundance Children’s Theater, NYSCA, NEA, and the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville; and residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Pratt Institute.
Wellman’s recent plays include The Offending Gesture (Connelly Theater, 2016); Muazzez (PS122’s COIL Festival, 2014); Horrocks (and Toutatis Too) (New Museum, 2013); and 3 2’s; or AFAR (Dixon Place, 2011). His most-frequently produced plays include The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (1998-2015), Antigone (2001-2014), The Hyacinth Macaw (1994-2015), A Murder of Crows (1991-2015), and Sincerity Forever (1990-2014). Published anthologies include The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Nine Plays) in 2008, Cellophane (Eleven Plays) in 2001, and The Bad Infinity (Eight Plays) in 1994.
Wellman’s fourth novel, Linda Perdido, won the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction; his third novel, Q’s Q, was published in 2006 by Green Integer, and was followed by a volume of stories, A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds, with Trip Street Press in 2008. His books of poetry include Split the Stick (2012), Strange Elegies (2005), and Miniature (2002).
Wellman has taught playwriting at Yale, Princeton, NYU, RISD, Brown, the University of Texas, and TheatreWorks (Singapore). He is an acknowledged mentor to numerous younger writers, including Young Jean Lee, Thomas Bradshaw, and Annie Baker. He is a co-founder of The Flea Theater and has served as editor of Breathing Space.
The Lesser Magoo: The final of the four plays of Wellman’s Crowtet, Magoo follows the adventures of Curran and Candle—an expert on “Crowe’s Dark Space”—and their motley assemblage of peers, some of them categorically “unusualist,” in the parallel, decidedly unsettled, universe that is distinctly Wellman’s. Magoo is chockfull of alternative histories, comprehensive pseudo-sciences, eerily relevant, off-the-map absurdist politics and soft-spoken contacts between humans all vying for attention in the seemingly self-propelled linguistics of Wellman’s versification, which at turns recalls Beckett, at others the polymath Pynchon or the more childlike landscapes of Ashbery (in Girls on the Run). The music for The Lesser Magoo, scored for voices, toy piano, ukulele, and violin, was composed by Michael Roth, for both the Los Angeles and the New York productions.
Anything’s Dream: Adapted from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by one william shopkeeper by macaw wellman under the Power of Certain Nefarious Elves; further material has been hammer’d out of shape from the works of Saul Kripke, Bachelard, Ortega Y Gasset, and of course the shadow playing Wall, one Ludwriggle Wittgenstein; copyright 2003 and Ad Infinitum. Anything’s Dream has been commissioned by Certain Other Nefarious Elves from Muhlenberg college.
Linda Perdido [Novel Excerpt]: Linda Perdido, the story of the antisocial Linda Perdido told by her well-behaved sister Qua, is a memoir like no other. Set in a vast and unknown region in the Midwest, Mac Wellman’s Linda Perdido chronicles the lives of two sisters: Linda and Qua Perdido. Linda is bad, acting out every antisocial impulse she has and then some; Qua is good but comes to hate her sister, though she chooses to write a memoir about her, thus Linda Perdido.
An Essay on the Theater: Speculations: Published with the collection of plays entitled The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), “Speculations” is a treatise written in an eccentric style which, at times, reads like a series of aphorisms. Nevertheless, in its totality it presents a vision for contemporary theater which is both cohesive and profound, and which constitutes a radical departure from the Aristotelian paradigm that dominates mainstream theater today, where plot and character are central to the drama. As such, “Speculations” constitutes a critique of mainstream theater, but it also offers alternatives.
Profiles & Features
An Outlier Tracing His Own Orbit (American Theatre, October 2016)
On the Downtown Scene (The Dramatist, May/June 2012)
An Inventor Whose Laboratory is the Theater (The New York Times, 30 May 1994)
Every Golden Age Needs a Sage (The Wall Street Journal, 21 January 2013)
Mac Wellman Interview (Bomb, Fall 1995)
The World According to Wellman (American Theatre, February 1999)
Pushing Boundaries (HowlRound, 21 March 2012)