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The Drama and Theatre of Sarah Ruhl

Amy Muse

DOI: 10.5040/9781350007833

ISBN: 9781350007819

Sarah Ruhl is one of the most highly-acclaimed and frequently-produced American playwrights of the 21st century. Author of eighteen plays and the essay collection 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, she has won a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, been nominated for a Tony Award for In the Next Room or the vibrator play and twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for The Clean House and In the Next Room.

Ruhl is a writer unafraid of the soul. She writes not about “this or that issue,” but “about being,” creating plays that ask “big questions about death, love, and how we should treat each other in this lifetime.” In this volume, Amy Muse situates Ruhl as an artist-thinker and organizes her work around its artistic and ethical concerns. Through a finely-grained account of each play, readers are guided through Ruhl’s early influences, the themes of intimacy, transcendence, and communion, and her inventive stagecraft to dramatize “moments of being” onstage. Enriched by essays from scholars Jill Stevenson, Thomas Butler, and Christina Dokou, an interview with directors Sarah Rasmussen and Hayley Finn, and a chronology of Ruhl’s life and work, this is a companionable guide for students of American drama and theatre studies.

'A comprehensive survey of Ruhl’s plays to date … Provides valuable insight into Ruhl’s unique theatricality and her ability to capture audiences and invite them into a work to experience the ‘soulfulness’ at its heart. The volume concludes with three critical essays, a useful chronology of Ruhl’s life and work, and detailed notes.' CHOICE