Marjorie Bicknell is a working playwright, director and actress. She holds a BA in Theatre and English Literature from Mundelein College in Chicago and an MA in Speech with a concentration in Theatre/Oral Interpretation/Film from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Marjorie has studied playwriting at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, Open Stage of Harrisburg, the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where she was a member of that theatre’s Playwrights Circle, PlayPenn and the Dramatists Guild Institute. She was part of the Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive in June of 2019 and currently studies at Primary Stages and with playwright Jeffrey Sweet.
Her first full-length play, an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, was produced at Theatre Center Chicago by Pary Production Company. The production was the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson Citations. Marjorie is also the author of The Family Room, winner of the 2003 Pennsylvania Playwright Award, and nominated for the Weissburger Prize by Open Stage of Harrisburg, and The Boys Club, a winner of the 2012 TNT POPS! national new play contest as well as a PlayPenn semi-finalist, and a finalist with Scrap Mettle (2015), HRC Showcase (2015) and CSC Women Playwright Series at the Centenary Stage Company (2016). Marjorie’s short plays have been produced at theatres and colleges across the country. Most recently her plays Dora’s Dynamic Dates and A Date with Jesus were produced at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her 10-minute play, Another Conversation is published by Dramatic Publishing in the anthology, As She Likes It.
Marjorie is the Philadelphia Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild, President Emeritus of the Philadelphia Dramatists Center, and founder of Playwrights Alliance of Pennsylvania (PAPA).
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME
What play or production changed my life?*
There were three. The first was a high school production of "The Student Prince" which I saw when I was six years old. I had already imagined myself on television or maybe in the movies. But I was struck with a bolt of lightning when I realized that theater could be done right in the same room where I was sitting. I wanted to see that play again and again. More than that, I wanted to be one of the people on that stage. The second was seeing the Peter Brook production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1970. I was gobsmacked by its theatricality and it's originality and in the way it made the Bard's work come alive like nothing else I'd ever scene. Now I wanted to make theater like that! I've been striving towards that goal ever since. Third: in 1981, I was managing a theatre company, Pary Production Company and was asked to write an adaptation of "Frankenstein". I was unwilling, but the playwright we commissioned dropped out, and I was a copywriter and available. I took on the job and was absolutely flattened to discover I could do it. The show was a hit, won three Jeff Awards, and was responsible for the Committee adding a "new work" category to the following season's list of awards. I'm still striving to get on stage, thrill like Peter Brook and write more plays like "Frankenstein."
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
I am currently working on a play full-length play called "The Author". It's a multi-generational family story that deals with plagiarism, deferred dreams, parental pressure and the right to choose your own destiny. I am also revising a dystopian play based on our experience in the Trump era but set in the near future, and a comedy about succeeding as a playwright.
Adaptation, futuristic, comedy, female centric, parts for older women, satire, horror, dystopian