ANNIE BAKER's full-length plays include CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), THE ALIENS (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Obie Award for Best New American Play), BODY AWARENESS (Atlantic Theater Company, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright), and an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA, for which she also designed the costumes (Soho Rep). Her plays have been produced outside of NYC at South Coast Rep, the Guthrie, Victory Gardens, Artists Rep, Huntington Theater Company, Seattle Rep, Studio Theatre in DC, Hyde Park Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Marin Theater Company, A Red Orchid, and over 100 other theaters across the country. Her work has also been produced internationally in England, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Latvia, and Russia. She is a member of New Dramatists, MCC’s Playwrights Coalition and EST, and she is an alumna of Youngblood, Ars Nova’s Play Group and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Recent honors include a residency at the Signature Theater, USA Artists Fellowship, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Lilly Award, Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship, Yaddo fellowship, and a Master Artist Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. A published anthology of her work, THE VERMONT PLAYS, is available from TCG books. Upcoming projects include a production of CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION (or what the Russians call “ROTATING MIRRORS”) at the Moscow Art Theatre. (As of December 2012)
Photo by Zack DeZon
CRITIC’S PICK. HILARIOUS AND TOUCHING. Annie Baker, one of the freshest and most talented dramatists to emerge Off Broadway in the past decade, writes with tenderness and keen insight. Her writing is a great blessing to performers: The Flick draws out nakedly truthful and unadorned acting. This lovingly observed play will sink deep into your consciousness.—Charles Isherwood, NY Times |Read Full Article
Funny, heartbreaking, sly, and unblinking. The Flick may be the best argument anyone has yet made for the continued necessity, and profound uniqueness, of theater.—Jesse Green, New York Magazine |Read Full Article
Ms. Baker is a master miniaturist chasing big themes — love and loyalty; kindness and cruelty; fantasy and reality. As in The Aliens and Circle Mirror Transformation, the dialogue is UNCANNILY, YOU-ARE-THERE AUTHENTIC.—Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News
ANNIE BAKER AND SAM GOLD ARE HOT TO THE TOUCH AND STILL TURNING OUT MUST-WATCH WORK. The amazing Matthew Maher plays Sam with unnerving honesty. Aaron Clifton Moten is a talent-and-a-half and a real find. Louisa Krause gives a wonderfully inventive, up-yours performance.—Marilyn Stasio, Variety
FOUR STARS. A hypnotic, heartbreaking, micro-epic about movies and moving on. Irreducibly theatrical.—David Cote, Time Out New York
EXHILARATING. Sam Gold’s cast is utterly in tune at every moment.—Michael Feingold, Village Voice
PERFECTION. Annie Baker is a genuine original, the real thing. She follows last season's Uncle Vanya version with this bold absolutely mesmerizing comic drama.—David Finkle, Huffington Post
Tim Sanford: Did your interest in theater grow out of your interest in film or was it contiguous? Annie Baker: I have always been interested in both theater and film. I think I was more movie-obsessed than theater-obsessed as a kid, though. It’s easier to learn about movies when you live in a small town in Western Massachusetts. My interest in theater initially sprang from my awesome high school drama teacher and the bizarre pretend games I played with my childhood friends in the woods. But my movie-love consumed me. I would happily see any movie at the theater and would spend hours agonizing over what movie to rent at our local independent video store. WARNING: Contains spoilers.
We've had a blast here obtaining the props for The Flick from theaters such as NY's City Cinema, which has retired 35mm projection. One theater's trash is another theater's props for the upcoming production!
“Behold! human beings living in an underground den, their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move,… behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures…. They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave... And if they were able to converse,… would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them? To them, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.” – Plato, Republic, Book VII
I don’t remember when or how it happened. It felt like one day I woke up and realized that I loved other things in my life more. I would even go so far as to say that it felt like waking up from a decade-long dream. From age 9 to 19, movies were my greatest happiness. They were the thing that got me through the day. Watching a movie was always, always What I’d Rather Be Doing. I never felt fully present in my life, except when I was watching a movie. Which is to say, I never felt fully present in my life except when I was pretending I was in someone’s else’s life onscreen, which is to say maybe I was never fully present at all.
“We need more weird plays.” – Annie Baker, from an article in The Village Voice. A lot has been said about Annie Baker since her work first appeared on New York stages, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that a lot will continue to be said about her writing over the years. Her work has played all over the U.S. and internationally, every production surrounded by interviews, preview articles, program notes, college lectures, panel discussions and reviews, each one an attempt to articulate that uncanny mixture of wonder, elation and despair we experience when watching her plays. Having just spent the better part of my day in an internet rabbit-hole that a Google search about Annie led me down, I’m sitting down to write my own little piece about her, perplexed by what folks have said. Philadelphia Weekly: “If the goal of realism is to imitate life on stage, The Aliens is one of the most realistic plays to come along in quite some time.” An associate professor at Amherst: “Theater artists like Baker, perhaps now more than ever, seem committed to replicating and reenacting… [offering] an apt occasion to address the proliferation of ‘real-life’ based reenactments, our desires for realism, and the forms that promise to deliver it.” Time Out New York: “[Baker’s] heartbreaking works of staggering focus have actually rescued realism from the aesthetic scrap heap.”
Each time you go to the movie theater these days, it is increasingly unlikely that you will be sitting down to watch a film. Many recent movies (Slumdog Millionaire, The Social Network) were shot with digital cameras, and many more are on their way. But even movies shot on film (The Master, Lincoln) are increasingly shown via digital projector. In 2009, only 15% percent of movie screens world-wide were digital. Today, it’s 65%, and by 2015, it will be 85%.