Constance CongdonCore Writers 2012
Constance Congdon has been called "one of the best playwrights our country and our language has ever produced" by playwright Tony Kushner in Kushner's introduction to her collection Tales of the Lost Formicans and Other Plays. In addition to Tales of the Lost Formicans, which has had more than 300 productions worldwide, Congdon's plays include: Casanova, Dog Opera, both produced at the Public Theatre, Losing Father's Body (Portland Stage - Maine), Lips (Primary Stages), Native American (Portland Stage - Maine, Lyric Hammersmith Studio), The Children of the Elvi (Key City Public Theater), A Mother, starring Olympia Dukakis, and a new verse version of The Misanthrope, both commissioned and produced by American Conservatory Theater. Also at ACT: Moontel Six, a commission by the A.C.T. Young Conservatory and subsequently performed at London's National Theatre, followed by another production of the two-act version at San Francisco's Zeum and directed by Young Conservatory Director, Craig Slaight. The Automata Pietà, another YC commission, received its world premiere at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 2002; Nightingales went to the Theatre Royale Bath's Youth Theatre. Congdon's No Mercy, and its companion piece, One Day Earlier, were part of the 2000 season devoted to Congdon at the Profile Theatre. Her latest play, Paradise Street, developed at New York Theatre Workshop, received its premiere production in Los Angeles at The Attic Theater by the Title 3 Company. She has also written a number of opera libretti and seven plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. Congdon's plays have been produced throughout the world, including Cairo and Berlin. Her plays are published, mainly, by Broadway Plays Publishing. Samuel French published Dog Opera. A collection of four of her plays has been published by TCG, Inc. Her new verse version of Tartuffe will be included in the next Norton Anthology of Drama, and is already out in a single-volume Norton Critical edition. She just finished Take Me to the River, commissioned by the Denver Theater Center. Her adaptation of A Servant of Two Masters was at Yale Rep, season 2010, and continued to The Shakespeare Theater in D.C. and the Guthrie Theater. Her adaptation of Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid has been produced in several regional theaters, most recently at Portland City Stage. In the works is No Little Rebellion, a play about the Daneil Shay's rebellion, commissioned by a consortium of Shakespeare theaters. She's been writing a long time and can thank the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, New York Newsdays Best Play Award, the Arnold Weisberger Award, the Berilla Kerr Award, and, most recently, the Helen Merrill Award for making this more possible. Congdon was just honored with an award "for distinguished service to the American theater" at the Great Plains Theater Conference. She's an alum of New Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild and of PEN. Congdon has been teaching playwriting at Amherst College for two decades.
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Something About A BearDescription
An ancient magician, the last of his kind, marries a local girl from Embarrass, Minnesota, and moves to the Boundary Waters where they live a blissful, off-the grid-life until, in their woods, a young bear cub is orphaned by hunters. The magician brings the orphaned cub home and turns him into a baby boy for them to raise. The young bear boy is home schooled and all is well until the boy becomes a young man and longs for a girlfriend, a "princess."
His magician father gives his son what he wants but through what has now become imprecise, messy magic, due to non-use, he manifests a medieval kingdom, including a casually-cruel King, an evil Minister of State and some ladies in waiting, one of whom brings a history that connects her to the area. And then, the ancient bargain the father magician made in the creation of his "human" son comes back to curse his son's happiness (because there always is a curse hidden in every wish), and that curse is: the moment the young man falls in love, he will return to his wild state, as a bear. What is it about a bear that is so attractive and magical and irresistible? Is it that it is also so dangerous?
Inspired by Russian writer Evgeny Shvartz’s play An Ordinary Miracle, this is a contemporary fairy tale about the exquisite and terrifying power of love – a power that in its true form can turn the world on its head and overcome even the most entrenched and petty tyrannies. It will delight and inspire audiences ages 8-80 with its magic, humor and heart.
Directed by Lisa Channer and Vladimir Rovinsky with a cast of professional Twin Cities actors (Charles Champbell, Annie Enneking, Brant Miller, Luverne Seifert) and students from the B.A. program at the University of Minnesota and with original music created by Johanna Gorman-Baer in collaboration with the company. A co-production of Theatre Novi Most (Oldest Story in the World, Picnic on the Battlefield, M2: Mayakovsky and Marinetti), and the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Developed in collaboration with the Playwrights' Center. Support for Something About A Bear comes from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Minnesota Arts Board and the McKnight Imagine Fund.