Karen Malpede produced "A Lament for Three Women" (published in "A Century of Plays by American Women") her first of 22 plays in 1974; as a protégé of Joseph Chaikin. She co-founded New Cycle Theater, in Brooklyn, where her next four plays were produced, also at The Arts at St. Ann's. In 1987, Judith Malina directed Malpede’s "Us", starring George Bartenieff. Malpede and Bartenieff have worked together ever since, co-founding with the late Lee Nagrin, the Obie-winning Theater Three Collaborative in 1995. Co-directing and producing, with Bartenieff acting in, Malpede’s poetic, social justice plays on themes ranging from the US torture program ("Another Life") to climate change ("Extreme Whether") to utopian visions for a species "Other Than We". They co-adapted I Will Bear Witness: the Holocaust Diaries of Victor Klemperer, which toured Europe and US for four years. Malpede's work has premiered in New York (Theater for the New City, LaMama, NYTW, Classic Stage), been staged in London, Paris, Berlin, and Veroli, Italy. Her plays are published in the collections: "Plays in Time: The Beekeeper's Daughter, Prophecy, Another Life, Extreme Whether" (Intellect, 2017), "A Monster Has Stolen the Sun and Other Plays" (Marlboro, 1987) and in the anthologies "Women on the Verge: Seven Avant-Garde by Women" (Applause, 1993) and "Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays (Northwester, 2011), and in acting editions and forthcoming anthologies by Laertes Books, Applause and Routledge, online and in print by The Kenyon Review, Typescript and others. She is editor of "Women in Theater: Compassion and Hope" (Drama Books, 1984) a seminal anthology of women in theater. Malpede is a McKnight National Playwright’s and NYFA fellow; her plays have been funded by NYSCA, DCA, Rockefeller, Soros, Puffin, Wilborn and other foundations.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME
Jean Genet's play "The Blacks", and Ingmar Bergman's film "The Seventh Seal", both of which I saw in high school, taught me what dramatic art can be and do--in terms of changing consciousness. My friendships with Joe Chaikin (The Open Theater) and Julian Beck and Judith Malina (The Living Theater) which came about because I wrote the book "People's Theater in Amerika" (Drama Book Specialists, 1972) and edited "Three Works by the Open Theater (Drama Book Specialists, 1974) led quite naturally to my writing poetic-language, character-driven, transformation-oriented plays (very different from the work of these mentors, but supported, encouraged and praised by them). My 33-year close collaboration with actor/producer/director George Bartenieff, and long collaborations with other wonderful artists, Kathleen Chalfant, Sally Ann Parsons, Tony Giovannetti, to name a few, have been the most satisfying experiences of my theater life.The real rewards of my work have been the people I have met and with whom I have been privileged to work. I have often written animal characters. I identify as a creature.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Two new, very different, plays moving toward productions: "Blue Valiant" written for my colleagues and collaborators, Kathleen Chalfant, George Bartenieff, a horse who is being played by an original piano score by my long-time collaborating composer, Arthur Rosen, and a young immigrant girl. We have rehearsed and performed a zoom reading for potential producers. Our plan is an outside staging at Farm Arts Collective in May, for starters. "Troy Too" written for publication in a Routlege anthology on Staging Contemporary Tragedies. I am the sole American artist in this international anthology. The book's editor, Avra Sidiropoulou, will direct an international cast, including Lydia Koniordou of the Greek National Theater, and my John Jay students, in an multimedia zoom and also live version of this surreal and poetic piece which interweaves Covid-Climate-Black Lives Matter themes in a direct response to the now. There's a play in the back of my head: a medical adventure, triangular love story.
Creatures, Climate, Covid, Justice, Cli-Fi, Poetic, Pacifist, Character-driven, Serious Humor, Utopian, Science