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Playwright Sarah Ruhl, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship winner, to discuss theater and her work on April 10, 2013

Playwright Sarah Ruhl was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship in 2006, and two of her plays have been Pulitzer Prize finalists: In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, and The Clean House.  Her acclaimed play Eurydice re-imagines the Orpheus myth and will be performed April 11-13 by the Vassar drama department. The day before it opens Ruhl will discuss Eurydice, theater making, her recent play about famed poet and Vassar alumna Elizabeth Bishop, as well as other subjects, in a wide ranging campus talk (Wednesday, April 10, from 3:15-5:00pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film). The drama department presents this event free and open to the public, but reservations must be made through the box office by calling (845) 437-5599 or emailing boxoffice@vassar.edu

Ruhl’s new play Dear Elizabeth chronicles the remarkable thirty-year friendship -- largely maintained through hundreds of letters -- between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell -- two of the most celebrated and honored American poets of the twentieth century.  Ruhl’s other works include Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American Award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Melancholy Play; Demeter in the City (nine NAACP Image Award nominations); Orlando; and Late: a cowboy song. They have been widely produced nationally and internationally at such venues as the Lincoln Center Theater, Goodman Theatre, Old Vic Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and Yale Repertory Theatre.

In recent years Ruhl has also published online a number of brief and wide-ranging essays, which she refers to as “Seventy-five essays I don't have time to write. Please consider these essays as starting points. Consider them starting points for someone else to finish.” On her website she continues, “These essays were written over a period of about five years, a period in which I also gave birth to three babies. In a way these essays were my best defense against the vaporous lack of memory that comes with very little sleep. As an exercise, I would see, if I happened to have had a thought in the morning, if I could hold it, and write it down by nightfall, after the kids had gone to sleep. Those thoughts, held fast against sleeplessness and various other forms of domestic chaos, became this collection of short essays.” [All the essays can be read at http://www.sarahruhlplaywright.com/view/essays/]

Originally from Chicago, Ruhl earned her MFA from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and is a recent recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (http://www.vassar.edu).

Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, April 3, 2013