“A typical Gunderson protagonist resembles her author: smart, funny, collaborative, optimistic—a woman striving to expand the ranks of a male-dominated profession. She has revived Émilie du Châtelet, an Enlightenment genius who revised Newton’s laws of motion; Olympe de Gouges, a playwright who fought for women’s equality in the French Revolution; and Henrietta Leavitt, a twentieth-century Harvard astronomer who figured out how to measure the distance between Earth and the stars. Gunderson grew up in Georgia, and “desperately wanted” to be a physics major, but she tired of plodding through “the normal stuff” before she could get to “the cool stuff.” She went to Emory and majored in English; one of her first scripts, written when she was eighteen, centered on a cosmologist. “Moments of scientific discovery are inherently dramatic,” Gunderson told me. She is now married to a Stanford biologist whom she met when her agent suggested that she interview him to research a potential story. Relationships form a part of her characters’ arcs, but it’s their intellectual desires, their yearning to transform themselves and their world, that Gunderson foregrounds. Her plays are less likely to end in a kiss than in a beautiful explosion of computer data.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Lauren Gunderson is such a rare theatrical talent, you might be tempted to approach her very quietly, so as not to frighten her away.
“Indeed. Be careful. I might disappear,” she says, conspiratorially.
Gunderson is a young female playwright, which is special enough. She’s also prolific and has produced across the country. Plus, she loves writing complex characters for women. Can she really exist?
“I think I do. But this might be ‘The Matrix,’ so you never know.”
Read more of AP’s Big Story on Lauren here
Two new premieres are on their way to stages in Berkeley and Cincinnati.
Ada and the Memory Engine premieres at Berkeley’s CentralWorks Theatre this October. This new play with original music unpacks Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer in 1850 who happens to have Lord Byron as a father.
Across the country The Revolutionists take the scaffold – I mean the stage – at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. All the fun of the French Revolution without the smell. More at… therevolutionists.tumblr.com
Great news from Atlanta!
Silent Sky gets a stellar welcome at Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit. The production was extended to March 8th and have received raves all around:
” Vastly important yet little known, Leavitt is the subject of “Silent Sky,” Atlanta native Lauren Gunderson’s luminously beautiful play, now onstage at Theatrical Outfit. A lovingly crafted period piece that imagines Leavitt’s inner world against the backdrop of World War I, Einstein’s discoveries and the suffragette movement, “Silent Sky” is an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“If you haven’t been a big theatergoer lately, Theatrical Outfit’s new production Silent Sky, onstage through March 8, could act as a simple reminder of what a pleasant, thought-provoking evening at the theater ought to look like. It’s a lively, funny, accessible play that’s alive with interesting ideas.” Arts Atlanta
“Lauren Gunderson’s play about a real-life female astronomer, Henrietta Swan Leavitt (Elizabeth Diane Wells) in the early part of the last century is a truly dramatic and thought-provoking work of art.” – Atlanta Cultural Arts Review
“Please do not think that “Silent Sky” is all starchily scientific; quite the reverse. Its characters are intensely human and likable. Ms. Wells’ performance as Henrietta has genuine charm, intelligence, and strength. Ms. Gunderson writes dialogue that is fluid, witty, and often moving. As a playwright she is a master craftsman.” – Atlanta InTown
I AND YOU reviews around the country
“I and You is a sharp and funny 80-minute drama. Everything’s primed for pathos, yet Gunderson taps into a buoyant spirit. ” – Washington Post
“It’s usually a good sign when I’m holding my breath while reading a script. I expect audiences will do the same when the haunting two-person drama I and You opens this week. When two high-school misfits are thrown together in a last-minute English project on Walt Whitman, playwright Lauren Gunderson swiftly shapes the ensuing chaos into a deft, knowing and heart-filled meditation on a constellation of topics including mortality, compatibility, first love—and the importance of personal pronouns. Gunderson’s genius lies in revealing the toughness and vulnerability of her mismatched characters; as their defenses retreat, the benediction in the last eight lines of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass changes meaning, before changing again. Small wonder the script won the 2014 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award after its premiere this spring.” – Indy Week
“On the surface, “I and You” seems an amusing tale of two high schoolers working on a class project. But it’s a Manbites Dog Theater production, so of course there’s more. By play’s end, two impressively talented actors, under a master director’s hand, have progressed through Lauren Gunderson’s ever-deepening script to a thought-provoking new level that will have audiences talking long after it’s over.” The News & Observer
” I and You is one of those rare artworks that exists on levels and levels behind the scrim of its apparent simplicity… a play written with such acumen that its intellectual sophistication is nearly self-effacing… I and You lets you lay your burdens down, that your soul may be light enough to rise on its column of love. Floating there, disembodied, you may remember that “your very flesh shall be a great poem.” – Classical Voice of North Carolina
“I’m not sure when the last time I went to a live theater performance and left it thinking ‘I need to tell everyone about this!’ That’s the way I feel about I and You.” Jane Sutter, Democrat & Chronicle
“Five stars! Emotionally blindsiding. Sensational.” – DC Metro Arts
“I and You is unforgettable,” – Washington Speaks
“Astonishing. A validation of the human experience.” – DC Theater Scene
“Exquisitely cathartic, shattering. And that is what live theater is all about: getting rocked, and being grateful for the opportunity.” – Rick Levin, Oregon Weekly
The New Yorker calls BAUER at 59E59 Theaters: “Beautifully written,” “well-played,” “brings it’s audience to tears!” “BREATHTAKING, UPLIFTING & HEARTBREAKING – EXQUISITELY SHARP!”
-David Finkle, Huffington Post
“LAUREN GUNDERSON’S SKETCHES BAUER’S STORY CLEARLY AND COMPELLINGLY.”
-Time Out New York
“CLEVER, SMART AND ENTERTAINING!”
-A Seat On The Aisle
-Stage and Cinema
-The New York Times
EMILIE is now playing at Boston’s Nora Theatre at Central Square. Here is a rave in the Boston Globe!
By Jeffrey Gantz | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT SEPTEMBER 10, 2014
“Judy Braha keeps Gardner and Barkhimer orbiting each other, as if they were the halves of a binary star, and by the end the standing ovation — for Emilie, for the play, and for the production — is well deserved.”
Stunning reviews in for SILENT SKY
The San Francisco Chronicle praises Silent Sky at TheatreWorks.
And this wonderful article about Henrietta Leavitt and the women of science and tech that are coming together around the play.
‘Silent Sky’: Scientist light-years ahead of her time, SF Chronicle, Jan 19th, 2014
Absolutely awesome profiles in The San Francisco Chronicle and The Boston Globe!
“Playwright at a prolific stage of her career”
ByJesse Hamlin | SF Chronicle, Sunday, October 13, 2013 – More here.
Lauren Gunderson‘s new plays are sprouting around the Bay Area right now in a run of premieres one well-regarded local pundit calls unprecedented.
“Abuser, pursued by a comedy”
By Joel Brown | Boston GLOBE, OCTOBER 11, 2013 – More here.
Lauren Gunderson writes as if pursued by a bear: quickly, zigging and zagging.
“I’ve always been voraciously interested in the world,” she says. Theater allows her “to tell a funny story about violence, a violent story about love, a love story about science. I keep iterating. That’s what keeps me excited and keeps me going. Luckily I write very quickly.”
Gunderson, 31, has already had more than a dozen full-length plays produced, ranging from a musical for children, to a capitalist hipster take on “Macbeth,” to several deep-thinking dramas about science.
Taming and I And You gets major love in SF!
Lauren on NPR’s Forum with Michael Krasny:
The Taming is “a giddy delight…It feels great to laugh at smart comedy that cares about the Constitution, about the Founding Fathers’ best intentions, about making long overdue and necessary changes to a country that still has a lot of evolving to do and still has time for broad physical comedy involving a lack of pants.” – TheatreDogs
“Gunderson’s “Taming” is a laugh riot with some timely food for thought.” – SF Chronicle
FOUR STARS “A charming, thought-provoking surprise… with a joyous embrace of what it’s like to be young, MTC’s I and You is a sweet and lovely thing, a tiny little play that, miraculously, contains multitudes. – North Bay Bohemian
FOUR STARS “With [this play, playwright Lauren Gunderson] makes the transition from ‘promising new playwright’ to ‘significant new playwright’ with great grace. I AND YOU is a wonderful play! … See it now, and catch a rising star.” – TheatreStorm
“A magnificent coup de theatre” – My Cultural Landscape
“‘Delights crowd… The play’s ending is a triumph of satisfaction and surprise, bringing gasps from the audience.” – Mill Valley Herald
“An abundance of intelligence, ambition and humor” – TheaterDogs
Bear racks up the raves in Texas!
“Gunderson is one of the most creative and entertaining playwrights in America. Simon may be the funniest funny-gay-guy role ever written.” Dallas Morning News
” Lauren Gunderson’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear at Circle Theatre pulls off a deft juggling act: comedy and tragedy whirl around together, with all the balls, light and dark, revolving in the air at once. Smart and funny-as-hell.” – TheatreJones.com
Emilie enjoys love in Atlanta!
“Putting Emilie in a Lecture Hall: Making Theatre in Non-Theatre Spaces” from Samuel French – here
Here‘s a cool radio piece about Emilie and women in theatre for WABE in Atlanta – wonderful!
By And By gets love in The Bay!
“Exceptionally well crafted, emotionally grounded, and thought-provoking.”
– Charles Kruger, SF Bay Area Theater Critics Circle
“Nothing short of astonishing.”
– Chad Jones, TheaterDogs
“Steven has a major secret, and before the evening is over, you’ll share it.”
– Ashley West, Examiner.com
“Could not be a more timely event… A superb sense of dramatic tension and comic rage.”
– George Heymont, My Cultural Landscape
“The compelling twist in Lauren Gunderson’s play is that it focuses on human emotions in a very recognizable world, rather than confecting some science fiction fantasy of the material.”
“Remember this line: ‘The fundamental work of the world (is) the loop of nothing to everything.’ (It) refers not only to human cloning, but to translating human existence into functional, eternal circularity…”
– Lou Fancher, Contra Costa Times
“Le Blanc is masterful… Parsing out opposing physicalities… and differentiating vocal registers, she builds two complex parts into a muscular, intricate, theatrical firmament.”
– Lou Fancher, Oakland Tribune
Emilie garners love in Minneapolis!
“This is one of the most original and engaging shows of the year.” –Star Tribune
“I’ll make this simple: go and see Theatre Pro Rata’s production of Emilie as quickly as you can. Director Bratlie, author Gunderson, and actor Custer have come together in a perfect storm of a performance.” –TC Daily Planet
“…a show centered as much on intellect as passion move[s] along with real energy and a firm grasp of its ultimate goal.” –City Pages
“Custer feels right at home, both in her period costume and with the emotional demands of the role”
“Matt Sciple… finds the humanity and the vulnerability in the role, along with plenty of intriguing little nuances that alternately earn our respect and our contempt for the character.” –Pioneer Press
Toil & Trouble gets raves in SF!
“An excellent balance of intelligent, pointed humor — “Feminism means I get to be evil too!” cries Beth — and artful use of Shakespeare. Toil and Trouble is laugh-out-loud weird.” The Daily Californian, October, 2012
“The science geeks have all the fun in “The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog!,” a jauntily educational children’s musical at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. Featuring a book and lyrics by Lauren Gunderson, with a perky pop-show tune score by Brian Lowdermilk… Director Sean Daniels and his creative team deliver some cheeky humor with their science lessons… In the moments after the curtain call, one youngster was heard to gush to his parent: ‘That was awesome!'”
Amazing press for Exit, Pursued By A Bear across the country!
Featured in American Theatre Magazine – “Bear is raw and hilarious.”
Nationally profiled in The Week Magazine here:
“Gunderson’s script not only makes each character adorably quirky but engenders empathy for all four as well. This show contains enough offbeat and grisly – no pun intended – humor that the Bard’s immortally funny line is a fitting title.”
“Falling in love with a playwright whose work you’re experiencing for the first time feels like Christmas morning at age 6 – giddy excitement, new toys, wonder and sugar high all wrapped up in a nice holiday package. That’s what it felt like the other night at the Boxcar Playhouse watching Crowded Fire Theater Company’s production of Exit, Pursued by a Bear, a new play by Lauren Gunderson, a Georgia native who now lives and works in San Francisco.” – Chad Jones, Theater Dogs! Read more.
“Exit is a spirited comedy, able and clever”- Rob Avila, SF Bay Guardian
“It is a well-balanced mix of serious subject matter and laughter. The play is real and highly unlikely, but it’s the highly unlikely parts that make the on-stage witnessing of the real-life, depressing, heart breaking horror of domestic violence possible… It was perfect.” – Kim Frndak | Community Educator for the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence
“If the Coen Brothers decided to set a feminist revenge tale in Atlanta and sprinkle it with Dixie Chicks pixie dust, it might look something like “Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” a raucous comedy… of friendship, domestic abuse and performance-as-catharsis.” – Felicia Feaster | ArtsCritic Atlanta (Read Full Story)
“It’s Dixie Chicks’ ‘Goodbye Earl’ meets 9-5,” – WABE, Atlanta’s NPR Station.
Plus a wonderful radio piece by Myke Johns at WABE about the world behind Bear from Atlanta’s NPR station – (Listen Here)
Atlanta’s Creative Loafing previews Bear here.
“Lauren Gunderson is a master of science. Exit, Pursued By a Bear establishes Gunderson as rising national talent.” – Curt Holman, Creative Loafing
Great reviews fo Silent Sky at South Coast Rep:
“The dialogue sublime and the performances enormously engrossing,” – Broadway World
“Perfection.” – The Examiner
“Silent Sky makes for just the right blend of human relationships, science, and romance.” – StageSceneLA.com
“Charmingly lyrical – With a penchant for subtle wit and sincerely earnest dialogue—the sort of beguiling back-and-forth you’d expect from the best period wordplays on premium TV scripts—Gunderson has a nicely-crafted play that gives us a headstrong heroine nerd to root for from America’s little-known historical margins.” – BroadwayWorld
Seattle Times — Preview: ‘Emilie‘ at ArtsWest shows an 18th-century female scientist’s remarkable life, loves
“ArtsWest stages playwright Lauren Gunderson’s account of the amazing true story of Emilie, the Marquise du Châtelet, who was a scientist, aristocrat and lover of Voltaire’s.”
More love for EMILIE in Seattle!
“An evening of humor and heartbreak with a powerhouse ending.” – BroadwayWorld
“How does EMILIE work? Brilliantly.” The Examiner
“A triumph.” Seattle Gay Scene