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Marlane Meyer

Marlane Meyer lives in Hollywood, California. She’s been writing plays for thirty-five years. Her produced plays include Etta Jenks, The Geography of Luck, Kingfish, Moe’s Lucky Seven, The Mystery of Attraction and The Chemistry of Change, the latter for Playwrights Horizons. Her other productions include The Royal Court Theatre, The Public Theater, The Magic Theater, Steppenwolf Theater and others. She has also been a writer/producer for television.  These shows include “Nothing Sacred,” winner of a Peabody Award, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” She has also been a recipient of the Kesselring Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. (As of March 2013)


More Reviews


Tim Sanford and Marlane Meyer on "The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters"

Tim: Did you think of yourself as a woman writer? Marlane: I remember Julia Miles [founder of The Women’s Project], the first time she saw me, she said I could stay in her apartment so I went to her apartment on Central Park West, a very beautiful apartment. She opens the door and looks at me and said, “What are you?” And I said, “What? What?” And she said, “What are you?” And I said “Uh…I’m…Oh! I’m Hawaiian. I’m Hawaiian and Swedish, German, Danish, French, Thai...” She goes, “You’re Hawaiian? Do you have a Hawaiian name?” And I said, “Yes…Huapala.” And she said, “You need to use your name. You need to use that name.” And so we went in the house and had a discussion about why I don’t want to use that name and why it’s important not to use that name, and why it’s important not to necessarily hook your writing career to your nationality so that you can get produced.


Marlane Meyer

Marlane Meyer shares with us what she thinks the play is about, why she writes, and her past experiences in making theater.

Playwrights' Perspectives

Marlane Meyer on The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters

I don’t know why I write plays. I would prefer to write blockbuster movies that take two weeks and make me five million dollars. But when I sit down at the computer or the piece of white paper or the cocktail napkin, out comes a dialogue or an extended conversation about holiness, God, philosophy and crime, which in the world of my plays are all inextricably linked.


Tim Sanford on The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters

My cousin Russ turned me onto Jung when I was a sophomore in college just in time to blow my Epic Literature course experience wide open. Truth be told, traces of Jung kept popping up here and there in most of my subsequent undergraduate term papers from then on. This was the early 70s after all, when the counter-cultural rebellion against rationalism still prevailed. In Jung, the unconscious still held the keys to the sacred, and libido transformed from Freudian sexuality to the fire of spiritual potency. Art could be a repository of numinosity.


The American Voice: Adams and Eves

Alone in my cubicle at work about eighteen months ago, I did the geekiest little dance of excitement when I opened my mail to see a new play by Marlane Meyer. It had been at least ten years since I’d known of a new one from her, during which time I often found myself jonesing for a fix. My first encounter with Meyer’s work was so memorable, so eye-opening that I remember precisely where I was sitting: a booth in Frank's Restaurant in Ann Arbor in the ’90s after, rightfully suspecting I might enjoy her writing, a theater history professor loaned me his copy of Etta Jenks (1988). Audacious and screamingly funny, this play starts off as the ancient story of a girl from the sticks who arrives in Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a movie star. Facing a series of dead ends, she soon finds herself acting in pornographic films, controlled by a web of odious men. Far from falling victim to this cosmology, though, she becomes the master of it, finding her power in out-manipulating the sleazebags who are out to exploit her. It's a sardonic tale of social Darwinism, all the more poignant considering the feminist anti-pornography critique at that time, in which an indelible heroine learns to survive.


Backstory: There's a Saint for That

In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the veneration of the saints is a time-honored tradition. Holy individuals in life, they are considered celestial advocates in death. And as members of a vast, heavenly bureaucracy, some of them receive some odd assignments.