Sarah is the recipient of this year’s Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. Below is an excerpt of her remarks from the event:
"I wrote a joyful speech two weeks ago in preparation for this evening. In light of the election, I found my mood had changed. Maybe your mood has changed too. As my friend and mentor Paula Vogel texted me the morning after the election, “The color of the world has been bleached.”
My playwriting students have been writing me this week, asking me questions like: “Why do we write now?” And “What do we do?” We write for the same reason we always write, but with new urgency. We write to extend the light of our minds into dark hollows. We write to create and model empathy in a ragged land. We write because our minds can always be free in the face of tyranny. We write to make our minds known to other, different minds. We write with the hope that we may understand other, different minds. We write to produce knowledge in the face of ignorance. We write because we must.
Secondly. “What do we do?” We sing full throatedly, and we support the free speech of our friends. We reject the art of cruelty. When it seems that the country has had a referendum on values like culture, kindness, and common decency—and said we choose none of these…what can the artistic community do but insist on modeling culture, kindness and common decency. We demonstrate with our theatrical practice that, in artistic and other democracies, we are completely dependent on one another.
So, to my students who are writing to me, saying: “What to do?” I say: Find each other. Don’t sit in your own room. Find the common room, which is called grace, which is called a theater. This room is also our country, and we all belong here. To be in a room where poetry matters, to be in a room where not everything can be monetized, to be in a room where culture and valor might have something to do with one another…Dig in your heels and stay.
The entire speech can be read here.
Lincoln Center Theater premieres Sarah's latest new work, How To Transcend A Happy Marriage at the the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, playing now until May 31st.
Read an interview Sarah did with writer Max Ritvo on his new book.
Sarah Ruhl’s play THE OLDEST BOY was read at leading regional theaters around the country as part of a national effort to raise relief funds for the victims of the disaster around the one year anniversary of the Nepal earthquake. The benefit raised over $10,000. Click here for more details.
Read Sarah's interview about the benefit in American Theatre Magazine: Instant Karma: How The Oldest Boy Is Paying Back Its Source.
Read Sarah's article in Howlround: "Is Theatre Helpful (or some things I learned from rehearsing The Oldest Boy).
THE OLDEST BOY is now available for purchase. Read Sarah's interview in the NY Times about what moves her most in literature.
In a recent episode of the podcast The Catapult, Sarah reads from her collection of essays 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater. Click here to listen or download from iTunes.