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Samuel D. Hunter

Samuel D. Hunter’s (Playwright) plays include The Whale (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play) and A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), and his newest plays include The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, and Pocatello.  He is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008 PONY/Lark Fellowship.  His plays have been produced in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Clubbed Thumb and Page 73, and around the country at such theaters as Seattle Rep, Victory Gardens, South Coast Rep, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Old Globe, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Marin Theater Company, and elsewhere.  His work has been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils, and PlayPenn.  A published anthology of his work, including The Whale and A Bright New Boise, is available from TCG books.  He is a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and was a 2013 Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in NYC. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.



Photo by Zack DeZon

Reviews

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Interview

Adam Greenfield and Samuel D. Hunter

A: Can you talk a little bit about the Idaho you grew up in? S: Yeah. I mean it bears less and less resemblance to the plays that I’m writing as I continue to write them. I mean they’re obviously set in Idaho, but there’s nothing that’s really quintessentially Idahoan about most of the plays. Like, there are some references that, sure, are Idahoan, but I think the plays actually are trying to be sort of non-regional, in a way. They could be anywhere in America.

Playwrights' Perspectives

Samuel D. Hunter on "The Whale"

About two and a half years ago, I took a job teaching expository writing to freshmen at Rutgers University. Initially, I had taken the job out of desperation; I needed money and was unable to find any adjunct teaching in theater departments anywhere in the city. An hour into the first training session, as I sat in the middle of a large group of English MA and PhD candidates and recent grads, a thought started to nag at me: You have no idea how to write a good essay. When we broke out into smaller groups, everyone introduced themselves and I stuttered a bit before telling the group that I had a masters degree in playwriting.

Essay

Tim Sanford on "The Whale"

"Consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life."

Essay

The American Voice: Your Own Private Idaho

There's Steinbeck and Salinas. Faulkner and "Yoknapatawpha." Raymond Carver and his stomping ground, the Pacific Northwest. Philip Roth and Newark. More recently, there's Annie Baker and her fictional Shirley, Vermont. And then there are the settings of Sam Hunter's plays which, if you look closely, reveal a pattern:

Essay

Backstory: The Mormon Moment

The media are calling it "The Mormon Moment." Perhaps you've noticed it. The GOP nominee for President is Mormon. The Book of Mormon remains by far the hottest ticket on Broadway. And, the ecclesiastical ad-men of Salt Lake City have launched an omnipresent, well-produced TV campaign featuring normal folks—a New York comedienne working for The Daily Show, a Haitian woman turned American mayor, a French opera singer—who are meant to strike most of us as unlikely Latter-day Saints.