Adam Bock is a playwright best known for A Small Fire, The Receptionist, The Drunken City, The Thugs, and Swimming in the Shallows. He writes both comedy and drama, blending whimsical surrealism with dark and painful exploration of character. Charles Isherwood described A Small Fire as “a theatrical combo plate that proves unusually satisfying ... raucous, funny and unexpectedly touching.” Adam has had more than ten plays produced at prestigious theatres including Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep., Second Stage Uptown, Rattlestick, and Yale Rep. He has received the Obie Award, BATCC Award, Clauder Prize, Glickman Award, and Guernsey Award, and been nominated for the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. Adam has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists and an artistic associate at Shotgun Players and Encore Theater. (As of February 2016)
Photo by Zack DeZon
★★★★★ Critics’ Pick! Adam Bock's ‘A Life’ is exquisite in detail and throws a jaw-dropping curveball.
Adam Greenfield: I feel like we should start this interview by saying to anyone who’s reading this: Stop reading this if you haven’t seen the play yet!
Adam Bock: Right.
AB: Right.That would be a spoiler.
David Hyde Pierce made a splash on LIVE with Kelly, chatting all about ‘A Life’ as well as the upcoming ‘Hello, Dolly’ on Broadway. As it turns out, not only did David Hyde Pierce get his start and equity card here at Playwrights, but so did Matt Bomer!
Four years ago my parents died. First my mother and then, seven weeks later, my father. He was always a gentleman, and he loved her and she loved him, and I tell people he held the door for her and then followed her through it.
Adam Bock looks life straight in the eye. The truth has got to be there somewhere, doesn’t it? Maybe we can sneak up on it? Adam’s work always starts out easy. We recognize his characters right away: seemingly ordinary, oft-overlooked, he tunes in to the fresh vernacular poeticism of their daily speech. We laugh, disarmed. “This is life,” we think. “They’re so real.” But they’re also all a little restless.
In the first moment of Adam Bock’s early play 'Swimming in the Shallows' (1999), Barb confronts an idea that ultimately uproots her life: “Did you know there’s Buddhist monks who only own eight things,” she asks. “I bet I have eight hundred probably eight thousand things just in my kitchen. …I read this and I got a very upset very unnerved feeling.”
Adam Bock’s plays combine formal playfulness and effervescent wit with disarmingly penetrating insight into the human condition. Sly, incisive, and endlessly inventive, he has established himself as an indispensable voice in the contemporary dramatic canon. As we welcome him back for his third production at Playwrights Horizons, we invite you to take a stroll through his anthology-to-date with this selected production history.