Constance Congdon


CONSTANCE S. CONGDON has been called "one of the best playwrights our country and our language has ever produced" by playwright Tony Kushner in Kushner's introduction to her collection Tales of the Lost Formicans and Other Plays, published by TCG, Inc.  In addition to Tales of the Lost Formicans, which has had more than 200 productions, world-wide, Congdon's plays include: Casanova, Dog Opera, both premiered by the Public Theater, Losing Father’s Body (Portland Stage), Lips, (Primary Stages), Native American , (Portland Stage and Lyric Hammersmith Studio), A Mother, starring Olympia Dukakis, and a new verse version of The Misanthrope, both commissioned and produced by American Conservatory Theater. Also at ACT: Moontel Six, a commission by the A.C.T. Young Conservatory and subsequently performed at London's National Theatre, followed by another production of the two-act version at San Francisco’s Zeum and directed by Young Conservatory Director, Craig Slaight. The Automata Pietà, another YC commission, received its world premiere at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 2002; Nightingales went to the Theatre Royale Bath’s Youth Theatre. She has also written a number of opera libretti and seven plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. Congdon’s No Mercy, and its companion piece, One Day Earlier; were part of the 2000 season devoted to Congdon at the Profile Theatre. Paradise Street, premiered in Los Angeles, produced by the Title Nine Theater after a brilliant workshop production directed by Michael Birtwistle at Amherst College. A Conversation with Georgia O’Keeffe, directed by Greg Leaming , and starring Phyllis Somerville, has had a life with various actors, including Kathleen Chalfant and Eileen Heckert. The Children of the Elvi premiered at the Key City Public Theatre in its inaugural year as a professional theatre in Port Townsend, Washington.

Congdon's plays have been produced throughout the world, including Moscow, Helsinki, Cairo, Tokyo and Berlin. Her plays are published, mainly, by Broadway Play PublishingSamuel French published Dog Opera . A collection of four of her plays has been published by TCG, Inc. Her new verse version of Tartuffe is included in the Norton Anthology of Drama, and is already out in a single-volume Norton Critical edition. She’s been writing a long time and can thank the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation (for a single artist grant and again for a stay at Bellagio), thanks also to the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Arnold Weisberger Award, the Berilla Kerr Award, and, most recently, The Helen Merrill Award, all of them for making her writing life more possible. Congdon received honors from the New England Theatre Conference (2009) and an award "for distinguished service to the American theatre" at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. She’s a proud alum of New Dramatists, member of The Dramatists Guild and of PEN and just received the Lilly Award, an award given to women for a lifetime achievement in the theatre. Congdon has taught playwriting at the Yale School of Drama but her home has been Amherst College where she taught for 30 years. Since retiring from Amherst, Congdon, has written more plays, Enemy SkyTake Me to the River, a revision of her play about the water crisis in the west; Hair of the Dog, a new play about the death of Marlowe as investigated by William Shakespeare and Marlowe’s sisters. In the works: a play about Lise Meitner, untitled as of yet, and a play about love and obsession: Cupid and Psycho. Congdon lives in Hadley, Massachusetts, with her partner, Ronald Prunty, and near her grandchildren, Corabella Johnson and Calvin Johnson.