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Lisa D'Amour

LISA D'AMOUR writes plays for theater and creates site-specific performances. She recently premiered Terrible Things, a dance-theater piece created with Katie Pearl and choreographer Emily Johnson, at PS122 in New York. Other recent projects include Swimming Cities Of Switchback Sea (a performance for a fleet of seven handmade boats on the Hudson River designed by SWOON) and Bird Eye Blue Print (created with Katie Pearl, for a vacant office in the World Financial Center, NYC). Lisa's work has been presented by theaters such as Salvage Vanguard, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, the Walker Arts Center, Crowded Fire Theater, Children's' Theater Company, Clubbed Thumb, HERE Arts Center, New Georges, and the Women's Project, and has been supported by the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, NYSCA and the NEA/TCG Residency for Playwrights. She received an OBIE Award along with Katie Pearl and Kathy Randels for Nita & Zita, and received the Alpert Award in the Arts for theater in 2008. Lisa often collaborates with ArtSpot Productions in her hometown of New Orleans. She is a core alum of the Playwrights' Center and a recent alumna of New Dramatists. Lisa's latest creation with Katie Pearl, How to Build a Forest, premiered at The Kitchen, NYC. Lisa is a 2011 Pulitzer Finalist and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist for Detroit. That same year, she was awarded the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Playwright Award. (As of August 2012)

Photo by Zack Smith


More Reviews


Tim Sanford and Lisa D'Amour

How did you come to write Detroit? I had been collaborating all year long on really big collaborative experimental projects and I finally had a moment to breathe and I was like, “I just want to write a play that’s just for me.” I had no commissions. I had nothing. And I just had this idea that… it’s kind of an elaboration on The Cataract because there are two couples in that play too, and I just sort of had this little idea of these two couples living next door to each other. Two very different couples. And I just started writing it in this very relaxed way.

Playwrights' Perspectives

Lisa D'Amour on "Detroit"

My brother Chris, the quintessential charming New Orleans host, has a game he often starts at parties after downing an Old-Fashioned or two. He especially loves to play it when his guests include people from different facets of his life—relative strangers to each other who might need an icebreaker in order to really relax. He'll smile, lean back in his chair, take a sip of his cocktail and begin: "Alright everybody, one question: If you could have any other job than the job you have now, what would it be?"


Tim Sanford on "Detroit"

"When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose." –Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone" There are many possible points of entry into Lisa D'Amour's dazzlingDetroit. It's such an ambitious, multi-layered play, a play I am convinced should be on college syllabi a hundred years from now, assuming colleges still exist. In talking about the play to a group of supporters the other night, I found myself saying, "It's kind of Richard II meets Awake and Sing meets True West meets The Bacchae, with a little Robocop and "The Honeymooners" thrown in for zest." I don't mean to imply it's some kind of post-modern mishmash. It's actually my flip attempt to identify the play's originality and its depth.


The American Voice: D'Amour Fou

"I think I am feeling another skin just below my real skin. It's been there the whole time." –Mary, in DETROIT Christine and Léa Papin, sisters born six years apart, were described by the few who knew them as extremely quiet and retiring young women; but on the evening of February 2, 1933, they did something unexpected. For seven years, they had worked as live-in maids to the family of Monsieur René Lancelin, who came home that evening to discover his wife and daughter dead, beaten beyond recognition, their eyes gouged out. ...


Backstory: First Ring

"Plywood has a lifespan of 40 years. Over time, the glue that holds plywood together dries up. Then, walls buckle, split and peel. Panels pop loose. Rooms, doors and windows morph into trick-or-treat versions of themselves." –Herbert Muschamp, The New York Times, October 19, 1997