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Watch a trailer or a video interview, read essays by our writers and artistic staff, peruse interviews with our writers—it's all here, and it's all exclusive to Playwrights Horizons.

Interview

Interview with Chez Josephine's Jean-Claude Baker and Steve Olson

There are numerous reasons to venture to our end of 42nd Street, but two of the most compelling are Chez Josephine and the West Bank Café. The restaurants are as much fixtures in this neighborhood as the companies of Theatre Row, with "Chez Jo's" Jean-Claude Baker and the West Bank's Steve Olson, owners as colorful as the establishments themselves. In 2012, former Director of Marketing Eric Winick posed a few questions to the irrepressible restaurateurs.

Interview

Artist Interview with Samuel D. Hunter

Tim Sanford: Would you say that idea of one character looking for a home, in the context of other characters who are homeless, rootless—was that the starting point for Pocatello? Samuel D. Hunter: Yes. Because the play I wrote for Headlong was fifteen or twenty minutes long. When I had the idea of carrying this into a play, I knew that to sustain that, there would have to be someone at the center who was pushing against that idea of disconnection and loneliness. And that became the central tension of the entire play.

Playwrights' Perspective

Melissa James Gibson on Placebo

How much does committing to a job, to a life, to a partner, to a path, fix who we are? And how sustainable are these choices in the shadow of forever, in the shadow of mortality? Placebo, in Latin, means “I shall please.”

Essay

Tim Sanford on Placebo

I was fascinated to learn from Melissa’s restless and plangently witty new play, Placebo, that the derivation of the word stems from medieval ecclesiastical customs. According to one of her characters, Jonathan, a Classics Ph.D. candidate, certain well-to-do families would sometimes hire sham mourners to sing vespers for the dead. Because the first word of these vespers is “placebo,” meaning, “I shall please,” these mourners-for-hire eventually earned the shorthand appellation, placebos. It took several centuries for the steady course of etymology to bring about its current clinical definition.

Essay

The American Voice: Arts & Sciences

Jane: Why are you sitting in the almost dark Alan: It’s the human condition Jane in case you haven’t noticed – from This, by Melissa James Gibson Few scholarly catchphrases have had as enduring a legacy as “The Two Cultures,” the term coined by C.P. Snow to describe what he perceived as a dangerous rift between science and literary life. A chemist and a novelist—himself a living model of these divergent cultures united—Snow stood before the academic community at the University of Cambridge in the Spring of 1959, and lamented that “the intellectual life of the whole of Western society is increasingly being split into two polar groups,” literary intellectuals and scientists, “between them a gulf of mutual incomprehension.” Though his accusing finger was pointed in both directions, the blame was largely placed with the literary set: “A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of, ‘Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?’ I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question—such as, ‘What do you mean by mass, or acceleration?’ which is the scientific equivalent of saying, ‘Can you read?’—not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language.”

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