Deborah Yarchun

Deborah Yarchun

Deborah Yarchun is a New Jersey-born, Air Force-raised and Austin-rooted playwright; her plays are just as geographically discombobulated. Deborah’s honors include two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights' Center, an EST/Sloan Commission, The Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, University of Iowa’s Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award, and the Iowa Arts Fellowship. Her plays have been...
Deborah Yarchun is a New Jersey-born, Air Force-raised and Austin-rooted playwright; her plays are just as geographically discombobulated. Deborah’s honors include two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights' Center, an EST/Sloan Commission, The Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, University of Iowa’s Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award, and the Iowa Arts Fellowship. Her plays have been developed at The New Harmony Project, Jewish Plays Project's OPEN: Festival of New Jewish Theater, The Great Plains Theater Conference, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Poetic Theater Productions, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Red Eye Theater, TheatreSquared, WordBRIDGE, and Workhouse Theater Company, and produced at Fusion Theatre, Theater Master’s National MFA Playwrights Festival, EstroGenius Festival, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival, Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater by Young Playwrights Inc., and at theaters and universities across the United States and Canada. M.F.A., University of Iowa.

Plays

  • GREAT WHITE
    Fourteen-year-old Brooke is in trouble. Her sixteen-year-old sister, Ivy, is manic and increasingly violent, and their mother, Gail, refuses to acknowledge the danger. As Brooke struggles to hold her family together, she copes by tracking a great white shark. This leads her to Luis, a troubled fifteen-year-old boy intent on swimming out to meet the shark in the ocean. As their friendship deepens, Brooke becomes...
    Fourteen-year-old Brooke is in trouble. Her sixteen-year-old sister, Ivy, is manic and increasingly violent, and their mother, Gail, refuses to acknowledge the danger. As Brooke struggles to hold her family together, she copes by tracking a great white shark. This leads her to Luis, a troubled fifteen-year-old boy intent on swimming out to meet the shark in the ocean. As their friendship deepens, Brooke becomes increasingly aware of the shark drawing closer in her own life: that her sister, in a manic fit, might kill her. Set in present-day southern Florida, between coastal floods, Great White is a coming-of-age drama that explores unremitting love for family, and the consequences of inaction.
  • the calm before
    the calm before is a two-character father-daughter drama set in Rockport, TX the night Hurricane Harvey makes landfall. Ellen desperately attempts to get her recalcitrant father, a conservative 65-year old former Navy SEAL, out. As the hurricane bears down – difficult parts of their past and their current ideological differences play out; the two brace themselves for a night of tough winds, tough love, and...
    the calm before is a two-character father-daughter drama set in Rockport, TX the night Hurricane Harvey makes landfall. Ellen desperately attempts to get her recalcitrant father, a conservative 65-year old former Navy SEAL, out. As the hurricane bears down – difficult parts of their past and their current ideological differences play out; the two brace themselves for a night of tough winds, tough love, and confronting uncomfortable truths.
  • Preservation
    In a small town, in an archival library, there’s a vault. Inside the vault, there’s a box. Stella, Lydia’s dying grandmother, has convinced her that inside the box is a buried family secret that could alter their lives. But the founder of the library funded it under the stipulation that the box never be opened. Lydia and Stella need vindication. Stan, the library’s archivist, needs to protect the library and...
    In a small town, in an archival library, there’s a vault. Inside the vault, there’s a box. Stella, Lydia’s dying grandmother, has convinced her that inside the box is a buried family secret that could alter their lives. But the founder of the library funded it under the stipulation that the box never be opened. Lydia and Stella need vindication. Stan, the library’s archivist, needs to protect the library and the founder’s integrity at all costs. Lydia isn’t going away. And Stan isn’t backing down. Preservation is a dark, comedic thriller that explores what happens when protecting the dead comes at the cost of the living.
  • The Man in the Sukkah
    What does it mean to take someone into your home? The Man in the Sukkah is a tale of intergenerational trauma, buried secrets, and questing for identity. Southern Gothic and secular Judaism collide on a former plantation in rural South Carolina where the woods have more ghosts than trees. When Harris and Elaine take in a troubled teenager, Aviva, as their foster daughter - Aviva rebels by insisting on living in...
    What does it mean to take someone into your home? The Man in the Sukkah is a tale of intergenerational trauma, buried secrets, and questing for identity. Southern Gothic and secular Judaism collide on a former plantation in rural South Carolina where the woods have more ghosts than trees. When Harris and Elaine take in a troubled teenager, Aviva, as their foster daughter - Aviva rebels by insisting on living in the yard in a sukkah (a temporary hut with three walls used during the Jewish festival of Sukkot). The sudden appearance in Aviva's sukkah of a mysterious man from Elaine's past sends further tremors through their lives. With Aviva at stake, Elaine and Harris must confront a perilous question: can they overcome the downward pull of history and their troubled upbringings to become good parents?

    "Deborah’s play embraces the mystical, the dark, the frightening, in a way that would have made the Yiddish masters proud. And she does it in a completely modern and theatrical voice. ”
    -David Winitsky, Artistic Director, Jewish Plays Project
  • Bomber's Moon
    After a devastating discovery during the first week of the London Blitz, Katrin, an American socialite, is propelled onto the streets during the blackout. Caught in an air raid, she seeks shelter in the basement of an abandoned music shop. She’s followed by Lloyd, a displaced, working-class East Ender. Over four charged, complicated nights sheltering together in the music shop, Lloyd and Katrin become enmeshed in each other’s lives.
  • Drive
    A community of truckers in a small town in Iowa are forced to shift gears when they lose their jobs to self-driving vehicles. When Gloria becomes the only trucker in town still employed, resentments begin to surface. Tensions escalate as they grapple with a mystery: Haygen, a driver with close ties to all of them, has disappeared. Set in a future not far down the road, DRIVE explores our collective fears...
    A community of truckers in a small town in Iowa are forced to shift gears when they lose their jobs to self-driving vehicles. When Gloria becomes the only trucker in town still employed, resentments begin to surface. Tensions escalate as they grapple with a mystery: Haygen, a driver with close ties to all of them, has disappeared. Set in a future not far down the road, DRIVE explores our collective fears surrounding the next stage of automation and what happens when individuals in a country where we’re so defined by our work are forced to reevaluate what drives them.

  • The Aleph Complex
    To save herself from her chronically incessant thoughts, Nicky converts them into sounds so she can fall asleep to the sound of rain. This works until, during a bout of crippling social anxiety at college, a thought about her mother turns into a vicious storm. Nicky outruns the storm all the way home, where she returns to her old job at the Container Store and to Mom, who hasn’t left the apartment in five years...
    To save herself from her chronically incessant thoughts, Nicky converts them into sounds so she can fall asleep to the sound of rain. This works until, during a bout of crippling social anxiety at college, a thought about her mother turns into a vicious storm. Nicky outruns the storm all the way home, where she returns to her old job at the Container Store and to Mom, who hasn’t left the apartment in five years. While searching for self-help books she meets Borders Guy, the mysterious keeper of the last Borders bookstore on the planet, who introduces her to the Aleph, a Borges-inspired point of overwhelming omniscience he guards in the back of the store. Through a chain of “self-help” both comic and poignant, Nicky, her mother, and Borders Guy struggle to smash down the walls that enclose their lives.

    Runner-Up of Red Theater Project's National Playwriting Competition, 2014
    Finalist, Bloomington Playwrights' Woodward / Newman Drama Award
  • Tectonic Mélange
    When Tara, a petroleum geologist, surveys for minerals in a small town in North Dakota, she uncovers more than she expected- including deep community tensions and a darker side of herself.
  • Portmanteaux
    Liza, a recent college graduate and composer, works a manic number of odd jobs. When she’s not Duck Tour guiding, selling ads for a magazine about creepy places in Pennsylvania, catering, or tutoring, she creates soundscapes of her isolated existence in her now roommate-devoid, shelled out apartment. Her life-agenda is thrown into disarray when she collides with Dale, a young anarchist with a diametrically...
    Liza, a recent college graduate and composer, works a manic number of odd jobs. When she’s not Duck Tour guiding, selling ads for a magazine about creepy places in Pennsylvania, catering, or tutoring, she creates soundscapes of her isolated existence in her now roommate-devoid, shelled out apartment. Her life-agenda is thrown into disarray when she collides with Dale, a young anarchist with a diametrically opposed concept of life. Through a series of misadventures ranging from an ill-fated attempt to fly a kite, urban spelunking, and an epic rideshare journey, Dale and Liza alter each other’s worlds. An exploration of life-altering intersections, virtual proximity, and that oh-so fine line between independence and isolation.

    Finalist, The Phoenix Theater’s Hormel New Works Festival, 2012
    Finalist, Firehouse Theatre Project’s New Play Festival, 2012
    Runner-Up, Stony Brook University's John Gassner Award, 2011
  • Portrait of the Artist from the Perspective of his Pears, or Luscious Butts
    Two star-crossed pears discover their horrific fate.
  • Painted Desert
    Cody, an unemployed guitarist, finds himself stuck in the middle of the desert with hundreds of hoodoos, a perpetually setting sun, a dozen orphan shoes and his ex-girlfriend, Eva.

    Finalist for the Humana Festival's Heideman Award, 2011
  • Jenga
    Yelena returns to her childhood home for the first time in twelve years only to discover that her older sister Simone has transformed it into a “Burning Man-inspired” (and booby-trapped) game-room of fairy wings and glitter. As monstrous noises filter in from an offstage room, the two sisters battle in a series of escalating games over whether or not to finally confront a violent incident from their past.
  • FreezeFrame
    An experimental drama that focuses on four disconnected college students and the reversal of the earth’s magnetic poles.