|A passage from We Are Proud To Present a Presentation etc. in which one actor coaxes another into the right emotion for a scene.|
I don't usually get the chance, or at least I seldom take the opportunity, to revisit plays I've enjoyed. One happy exception is when I have occasion to write about them or their author, as was the case with Jackie Sibblies Drury, whose play We Are Proud To Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, made such a splash last winter at Soho Rep. I wrote a little about it, in relation to the film Lincoln, here, and am happy to report that it's nearly as stimulating to read as it was to experience (and not only because of the emoticons shown in the excerpt above).
Given that that play showed Jackie's facility for writing for an ensemble, and that her new play, Social Creatures, was commissioned by Trinity Rep in Providence, R.I., for its resident acting company, I smelled a story. Jackie's not the first playwright to write so well for ensembles of actors, but most writers who are able to do it so well are also members of theater companies themselves, which Jackie is not. And there's something about her approach—her economical dialogue and witty, transformative stage directions—that marks her as an especially sly, tricky but serious-minded new playwright to watch.
On the strength of that hunch, I was able to sell the paper of record on a story about Jackie, which you can read here.