Gemma Cooper-Novack writes at the vortex where the intimate meets the sociopolitical. She was the resident playwright with The Theater Offensive’s Creative Action Crew (2015-2016), generating new plays (including Reporting Live from Under the Rainbow and Through the Glory Hole and What We Found There) based on the work of a queer youth performance ensemble. Once I Was a Kingdom was presented on Zoom for the Women+ in Theatre Conference. Recent workshops include Break (About Face Theatre, Chicago, IL, 2018), This Not That (The Depot for New Play Readings, Hampton, CT), and You Want Them to Look Away (Breadcrumbs Productions, Syracuse, NY, 2020). The Dating Game was performed in New York and Boston in 2015. Her light opera adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, co-written with Joshua Tyra, has been workshopped at colleges in New York and Chicago. Her play Blindside was produced in Chicago in 2008. Gemma’s poetry book We Might As Well Be Underwater was published by Unsolicited Press in 2016. Currently, Gemma is working on a commission for Breadcrumbs Productions in Syracuse, NY about the early life of Lady Macbeth. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Literacy Education at Hobart & William Smith Colleges and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME
I was raised in a theater, in a very literal sense, and somehow have never deviated from the desire to be, as my mother explained it when I was six, "the one who makes up the story." I remain in theater more than film or TV in large part because I love the possibility of multiple interpretations, of no one definitive take on my text. The choices that emerge from distinct productions of the same script are, and ever have been, my deepest fascination. I grew up on the Marc Blitzstein translation of Threepenny Opera, and the first time I saw the Michael Feingold translation, as a teenager, the rawness and cruelty of the play was revelatory. I've never forgotten that production.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Right now, I'm working on a commission for Breadcrumbs Productions about the early life of Lady Macbeth, but set in 1850; I'm revising my script GREEN INK, which focuses on queer life in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust; I'm working on a series of short plays that explore the shortcomings of approaches to environmental justice.
Lesbian, Queer, Political, Social, Climate, Biography, Period, Verse, Adaptations
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