Plays




The Vulgar Soul


In The Vulgar Soul, a young man devoid of any religious belief watches as the five wounds of the Crucifixion gradually appear on his body.  The faithless stigmatic searches for a cure even as he is celebrated by the faithful.  Abandoned by them when the wounds fade, he is offered an unexpected opportunity to embrace what he has resisted.  His psychiatrist, a young woman married to an older architect, parallels her patient’s journey in yielding to her own body’s demands.


The Vulgar Soul won the 2004 Southern New Plays Festival and was a featured production in 2005 at Southern Rep Theatre, becoming the bestselling new play in its history (until the production of Rising Water in 2007).  The playwright and the play were profiled in American Theatre.



EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF THE VULGAR SOUL:



“[Biguenet’s] play serves as a provocative inquiry into the nature of belief and self-deception.”

-American Theatre


"The best, most stimulating play ever seen at the Canal Place theater.” -WYES-TV


"The Vulgar Soul is open to interpretation, with an enigmatic, accumulative power that captures

the attention and imagination . . . with a questing intelligence.”  -New Orleans Times-Picayune
 

"The Vulgar Soul is, in a word, superb.” -Slidell Sentry-News




Image courtesy of Bayou Playhouse
design by Ryan Reinike/Representative Slice



Rising Water


In Rising Water, a couple awaken in the middle of the night to find their pitch-dark house filling with water.  Clambering into their attic, and then onto their rooftop, they struggle not only to survive but also to keep the guttering flame of their love from being extinguished.


Rising Water became the bestselling show in the 20-year history of Southern Rep Theatre (despite the fact that the previous record was set when New Orleans had twice the population as the city did at the time of the play’s run).  Rising Water was the winner of the 2006 National New Play Network Commission Award, a 2006 National Showcase of New Plays selection, and a 2007 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Big Easy Theatre Award for Best Original Play.  It has had numerous productions around the country.


See a brief slide show with commentary about Rising Water. 



EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF RISING WATER:



“[Rising Water] grabbed the audience in its first tense moments and never let go. Biguenet has created characters of such opposite dimensions that they generate innate humor, which continues deeper into the play than one would have thought possible. It is natural and needed; otherwise the situation would be unbearable.” -New Orleans Times-Picayune

“The well-structured two-hander . . . offers an appealing and often compelling grasp of storytelling.” –Variety


Rather than being a rehashed polemic, Rising Water by John Biguenet turns out to be a well written and thought provoking metaphoric drama about marriage.” -Talkin’ Broadway (New Jersey)


“[Rising Wateris. . . indelible an experience.” –Backstage.com (Los Angeles)

"John Biguenet’s play about a middle-aged couple trapped in an attic after Hurricane Katrina has the makings of an American theatrical classic.” –Baton Rouge Advocate 

"Rising Water emerges as a great American play – perhaps one of the first great plays of the 21st Century.” –Orange County Register


Image courtesy of Orlando Shakespeare Theater


Shotgun


In Shotgun, set four months after the collapse of defective levees in New Orleans, a white man and his teenaged son, having lost their house to the flood, rent half of a shotgun duplex from an African-American woman, whose father has lost his home in the Lower Ninth Ward and moved in with her.  Even living under one roof, though, they find a wall still runs between them.

Shotgun won a 2009 National New Play Network Continued Life of New Plays Fund Award and was a 2009 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  It has had a number of productions nationally.

See a brief video preview of the play.


Shotgun is published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc.


EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF SHOTGUN:



“In Shotgun . . . playwright John Biguenet exposes with power and grace the wounds that remain and examines how they might best be healed.” New Orleans Times-Picayune


Shotgun. . . deals with race but is ultimately about people.  And it’s fascinating.” –Gambit Weekly


“[Shotgun is] a serious play about serious subjects, and yet it is filled with the rich dark humor that got New Orleanians through those days after the storm.” Nola.com


“Biguenet’s ear for dramatic, natural dialogue is so adroit you cannot turn your eyes and mind from his play.” –WYES-TV


"It’s the narrow focus of this new play that shakes you.... Human drama doesn’t have to look huge to be heartbreaking." –Orlando Sentinel


“A moving exploration of a ravaged New Orleans . . . [and] an absorbing new drama by John Biguenet.” –Sarasota Herald-Tribune 


“Splendid. . .  I’m surprised that [Biguenet’s] work is not better known. This one is very fine.” “Two on the Aisle,” KDHX-TV (St. Louis) 




Image courtesy of New Jersey Repertory Company



Night Train


Headed back to the capital of an unnamed country by train in the middle of the night, a wealthy banker named Alex finds himself unexpectedly sharing his first-class compartment with Max, a scruffy traveler with only a second-class ticket.  By the end of this dark comedy, with the help of a young woman named Marta, Max utterly transforms Alex's life—but perhaps not for the better.


Night Train was developed on a Studio Attachment at the National Theatre in London.  New Jersey Repertory Company premiered the play in 2011.


See a brief video preview of the play and rehearsal footage with commentary.



EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF NIGHT TRAIN:



"Not so much a thriller as it is a shadowy psychological comedy. . . [Night Train] delivers a seductive dash of Balkan intrigue with its illusive identities and notions of proletarian revenge.”

The New York Times


[Night Train] is extremely intelligent fun.  The fun is of the variety which derives from watching the sleight of hand and brilliant quirkiness of a master magician.  –Talkin’ Broadway


“‘Night Train’ makes more than a few unanticipated stops, and . . . by the time it reaches the end of the line it will probably conjure thoughts of Hitchcock.”  –Asbury Park Press


“[An] engrossing comic-thriller.”  –NJartsmaven.com

Image courtesy of Gambit


Mold


In Mold, John Biguenet completes his award-winning Rising Water Trilogy, examining the shattered lives of survivors the summer after the collapse of Federal levees in New Orleans.  At the mercy of both an inept government and a bottom-line insurance company, a young husband is forced to choose between his wife and the city he loves.

Mold premiered at Southern Rep Theatre in 2013.

See a brief video preview of the play.  WGNO-TV broadcast a news report on the impact of the play.


EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF MOLD:


Summoning up deeply set, perhaps nearly forgotten, feelings of anger, regret and sorrow, but also hope and humor, with ‘Mold,’ Biguenet has completed his trilogy on Katrina and its aftermath. It may well be regarded as the finest artistic achievement expressing the personal impact the flood had – and continues to have – on our lives today.”  New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Intimate and intense . . . this play resounds with authenticity and insight.”  –NOLA Defender

“Original theater at its best . . . Director Mark Routhier did a superb job, putting this excellent cast through their paces in Biguenet’s fascinating play. Go see it." –Gambit

"A wonderful play."   –WYES-TV






Broomstick


In Broomstick, a witch confesses all: her first love affair, how she discovered her powers, how she has used them. A completely unsentimental moralist who knows everything about the human heart—having been both its victim and avenger all her long life—she metes out inexorable justice, immune to our pleas for mercy, cackling at our excuses. In Broomstick, whiners wind up in casseroles.


Broomstick, the winner of a National New Play Network Continued Life of New Plays Fund award, has been produced at New Jersey Rep Company, Southern Rep Theatre, Montana Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, and The Fountain Theatre, where Broomstick was named Outstanding Solo Production and won four other 2014-2015 StageSceneLA Theatre Awards.


See part one and part two of a brief video interview with the playwright and the actor at New Jersey Rep Company along with scenes from the play.



EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF BROOMSTICK:



“An arresting blend of evocative humor and eerie gravitas permeates ‘Broomstick,’ New Orleans playwright John Biguenet's ripely poetic tale of an Appalachian crone who may or may not be a witch. . . the merger of pathos, insight and horror is hair-raising. . . . Biguenet's text [has] an undulating rhythm that ebbs and flows like a rain-swelled river—[but] there's always another hairpin turn to Biguenet's narrative. Tightly woven, richly detailed and fully enjoyable.” Los Angeles Times (An LA Times Critics’ Pick)


“Biguenet's play is lyrical, lush, and full of moments of sly humor and real pathos. The beauty of the language is something to behold.” –The Oregonian

You can build a poem, or even a play, on a rhyming couplet. Stretched somewhere between speaking and singing, it’s also something of an incantation. Keep it going for ninety minutes nonstop, as John Biguenet’s play Broomstick does, and it’s a downright spell.-Oregon Artswatch

“[The witch] can be very human and identifiable, as when she describes her first encounter with sex (beautifully written and portrayed), then can graphically recall witnessing the horror and callousness of the inhumanity of one person to another, to the pain of personal loss.” –All Things Performing Arts (Portland)

“Broomstick is a one-woman play in which a witch reminisces about her life. It moves seamlessly through fantasy and reality. . . a fascinating play.” Broadway World (Portland)

“Using a cadence reminiscent of Shakespeare's rhymed couplets, Biguenet's words sing stories and poetry. 'Broomstick' provides an intriguing conversation about the nature of myth and the evolution of stories. . . Biguenet's text flows like words from a spell book, dark and brooding, hypnotic and expressive.” -Edge (Portland)

“Playwright John Biguenet’s engaging solo piece takes what looks like a light-weight premise and turns it into something rich and strange. . . . Biguenet’s play is written entirely in rhymed couplets, but they’re used so subtly and deftly that one only gradually realizes they are rhyming — and how the rhymes serve to bolster the sense of a fairy tale.” Stage Raw Theater Reviews (Los Angeles)


“Playwright John Biguenet’s delightful monologue is a flat out delight. . . It’s hard to imagine a better show to see this Halloween Season.” Stage and Cinema (Los Angeles)

"Wow! John Biguenet’s acclaimed solo play [is] a veritable theatrical event. . . It takes an extraordinary actor to hold an audience spellbound without aid of costars. Jenny O’Hara is just such an actor, and although we never see our solo star take actual flight astride her witch’s broom, Broomstick allows her to soar high indeed." Stage Scene LA

“Written by John Biguenet, ‘Broomstick’ . . . is far more than a costume romp for Halloween, though.  To put it simply: Every aspect of ‘Broomstick’ is truly magical.”  Annenberg Digital News (Los Angeles) 

"For witches, the source of their power is language. . . The source of Biguenet's power is language as well. And O'Hara delivers it with just the right blend of anger, indignation, and sly humor. And it takes a while for the audience to discover that the dialogue is all in rhyme. . . It's a fascinating way to tell a story. –Santa Monica Daily Press

Set in Appalachia and written entirely in verse, Biguenet's charming and mesmerizing solo play . . . takes off for about an hour and a half of sheer delighta funny, poignant and ‘spell’ binding tale about the magic of the human heart.” Broadway World (Los Angeles)

“This perfect Halloween treat offers quite a few tricks, tricks of the light, tricks of the mind and tricks of memory. . . [Biguenet’s] solo show, which is completely written in verse, is fascinating.” Los Angeles Examiner

“Set in Appalachia and written entirely in rhymed iambic pentameter, Biguenet’s truly mesmerizing solo play [is] exotic, funny, harsh, bitter and profound. . . . Not to be missed under any condition!” –Gia on the Move

“To O’Hara’s credit, I didn’t realize Biguenet’s script was completely written in verse. The words simply flowed out of her wicked, twisted mouth. O’Hara essays the unnamed character “Witch.” What better character than a spell-casting sorceress to be talking in verse. Brilliant, Mr. Biguenet!” –Culture Spot LA

“To this remarkable play’s credit, the final result goes deeper than scaring its audience and eliciting a few heartfelt screams from the back row. Underlying the quintessential seasonal fun of Broomstick . . . is a surprising deeper message. Broomstick is guaranteed to provoke unexpected thought—as it keeps the viewer jumping at shadows and itching the nape of the neck long after final curtain.”  Arts in LA

“[Broomstick] is magnificent in every respect.”  Stage Happenings (Los Angeles)

“Biguenet has cast a deeper spell, and one that is uniquely enchanting. . . [He] has written the entire script in verse, rhyming couplets cast in iambic pentameter. . . the rhythms capturing the sound of a fairy tale, while remaining natural speech. That love of the language and Biguenet’s gift for spinning a good yarn by the fireplace makes ‘Broomstick’ one of the highlights of the fall season.” New Orleans Times-Picayune

“‘Broomstick,’ the new play by celebrated playwright and novelist John Biguenet, is devilishly ambitious in its simplicity. . . spinning a yarn of terror and loss. . . a gripping tale to be told with the lights off. The playwright, gifted author of ‘Rising Water,’ manages the difficult juggling of story, texture and poetry. It’s his strongest theatrical effort to date.” –The New Orleans Advocate

“[Broomstick] is written in heroic couplets, but it takes a while to realize the subtle rhyme scheme, and the witch’s stories are poetic meditations on betrayal and revenge." –Gambit

“Don’t miss it—a wonderful play!” –WYES-TV

“A must-see, . . . John Biguenet's hit play, Broomstick, sweeps away the dust that lies on the path between fantasy and reality [and] is so seamless, its ninety minutes fly by.”  Broadway World (New Jersey)


In this crafty one-person play about witchery, revenge and love. . . Biguenet has written a play in verse that will make you shiver as well as smile.” –CurtainUp


“’Broomstick’ doesn’t settle for just entertaining . . . the show shocks with moments of unexpected insight.   . . .Biguenet’s writing [is] so skillful that you might not even realize the play was written in verse until you’re already fifteen or twenty minutes into it.” TriCity News


“While the Bard had actor armies at his quill and his command, ‘Broomstick’ makes its music with a deft one-woman band . . . [and the play] dances in its rhythm.” –Asbury Park Press


“A triumph. . .  Biguenet is a true writer and poet. One of the great joys in theatre-going is being able to be thrilled by the power and beauty of words. In its entirety, Broomstick is written in iambic pentameter, and the words tickle and delight the ear.” –Talkin’ Broadway

“’Broomstick,’ by John Biguenet, is a 90 minute monologue in rhyming couplets, although the rhymes are incorporated so smoothly into the rhythm of everyday speech that I did not realize until a little way into the play that I was listening to poetry. . . .  This is a fantastic play.” –The Link News

"Written by John Biguenet, the play is masterful. . . .  "Broomstick" is a clear winner for the season! Highly recommended!"  -New Jersey Stage


“A wickedly funny play.” –Examiner (New Jersey)


"Broomstick will sweep you away!" The Reading Life (WWNO-FM)

 

 


For performance rights, please contact Ron Gwiazda, Abrams Artists Agency, New York.

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