David Robson

David Robson

David Robson is an award-winning playwright whose work for the stage has been hailed as "compelling", "forceful", and "gut-wrenching" by the New York Times, and "an important contribution to contemporary theater" by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Plays include BLUES IN MY SOUL: THE LEGEND AND LEGACY OF LONNIE JOHNSON, COMFORT AND JOY, WITHOUT CONSENT,...
David Robson is an award-winning playwright whose work for the stage has been hailed as "compelling", "forceful", and "gut-wrenching" by the New York Times, and "an important contribution to contemporary theater" by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Plays include BLUES IN MY SOUL: THE LEGEND AND LEGACY OF LONNIE JOHNSON, COMFORT AND JOY, WITHOUT CONSENT, BIRTHRIGHT (PlayPenn Semi-finalist), THE PASSION OF M. (Living Room Series), CLAY WARRIOR, MULEHEADED, AFTER BIRTH OF A NATION (Best Playwright Award, Broadway World), PRICELESS, PLAYING THE ASSASSIN (Philadelphia Critics' Award Nomination for Best New Play), PLAYING LENI (co-written with John Stanton), A FEW SMALL REPAIRS, MAN MEASURES MAN (Barrymore Nomination), AFTER DENMARK, and OUT OF PLACE (Julie Harris Playwriting Award Runner-Up).

His work has been seen at Penguin Rep, TheaterWorks Hartford, Delaware Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, Blank Theatre Company, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, Bated Breath Theatre, Lark, White Pines Productions, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, New Theatre, Madhouse Theater, Yellow Taxi Productions, City Theater Company, and Theater Catalyst, among others.

He was recently named Delaware's Best Playwright, and is the recipient of the Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work and two playwriting fellowships and two grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Robson's plays and monologues are published by Smith and Kraus, Original Works Publishing, and Smith Scripts. He is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild, the Playwrights' Center, and a former playwright in residence at InterAct Theatre Company, Penguin Rep, TheaterWorks Hartford, and the Lark in New York City.

He is also the author of more than 20 books for young adults, including Shakespeare's Globe Theater, The Murder of Emmett Till, and The Black Arts Movement. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, an MS in English Education from St. Joseph's University, and a BA in Communications from Temple University.

He is a professor of English at Delaware County Community College in Media, Pennsylvania, where he received the Gould Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010.

Plays

  • A Few Small Repairs
    Once two of the most glamorous members of America's privileged class now facing possible eviction from their Newport mansion by the Board of Health, "Big" and "Little" Alice protect, torment, lie and cling to each other. Loosely based on the true, bizarre life of mother and daughter Big and Little Edie Beale, this dark comedy lives somewhere between the longings, loves and delusions of...
    Once two of the most glamorous members of America's privileged class now facing possible eviction from their Newport mansion by the Board of Health, "Big" and "Little" Alice protect, torment, lie and cling to each other. Loosely based on the true, bizarre life of mother and daughter Big and Little Edie Beale, this dark comedy lives somewhere between the longings, loves and delusions of The Three Sisters and Sunset Boulevard.
  • After Birth of a Nation
    On the night of the first-ever White House movie screening, First Daughter Margaret Wilson must find a way to break with her past and become her own woman. Yet at the showing of the infamous epic The Birth of a Nation she is forced to fend off advances from a young minister, confront her own racial intolerance, and somehow live up to her duty to her father and to her country without completely losing her mind.
  • After Denmark
    The night after winning a prestigious award, Lyndon Sykes receives a mysterious letter suggesting he’s not quite who he thinks he is. In an attempt to find his past—which may be linked to controversial 19th century black leader Denmark Vesey—the young editor travels to the Deep South to confront questions of racism and belonging that will lead him to a clearer understanding of himself.
  • American Child
    Despite his brilliant design for a capital city along the Potomac River, French immigrant Peter L’Enfant fights an uphill battle to build Washington, DC. Meanwhile, a century later, a distraught son’s discovery may hold the key to finally raising the dormant city and restoring the designer’s reputation. In the vein of Hamilton, American Child takes an intimate look at the courage and conflict that forged a new...
    Despite his brilliant design for a capital city along the Potomac River, French immigrant Peter L’Enfant fights an uphill battle to build Washington, DC. Meanwhile, a century later, a distraught son’s discovery may hold the key to finally raising the dormant city and restoring the designer’s reputation. In the vein of Hamilton, American Child takes an intimate look at the courage and conflict that forged a new nation and created one of its greatest cities.  
  • Ball N' Chain: Big Mama Thornton Plays Monterey (Play with Music)
    You may know the King of Rock and Roll, but what about its queen? Hound Dog? Big Mama Thornton sang it first. Before Janis and Aretha, Big Mama blew the roof off of joints from Boston to Paris and everywhere in between. In BALL N' CHAIN, the legendary Big Mama Thornton lays it down and lights it up, singing the blues, telling stories, and providing an intimate look at the life of one of rock and roll's pioneers.
  • Birthright
    Abortion has been outlawed; law-breakers can be imprisoned, or worse, for the crime of terminating a pregnancy. One desperate woman employs a mysterious young doctor who has agreed to perform the procedure at-home, thereby threatening both of their lives and forcing them to confront the darkest parts of the new American political landscape.
  • Blues in My Soul: The Legend and Legacy of Lonnie Johnson (Play with Music)*
    It's 1959. Chris, a local DJ, gets word that legendary jazz and blues musician Lonnie Johnson is working a low-wage job at a Philly hotel, forgotten. Once found, Lonnie, an early guitar hero who influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, T-Bone Walker, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, is reluctant to return to an industry that exploited and segregated his work before...
    It's 1959. Chris, a local DJ, gets word that legendary jazz and blues musician Lonnie Johnson is working a low-wage job at a Philly hotel, forgotten. Once found, Lonnie, an early guitar hero who influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, T-Bone Walker, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, is reluctant to return to an industry that exploited and segregated his work before casting him aside. As the two men meet, conflicts arise, forcing each to reconcile issues of authenticity, injustice, and legacy. Blues is a My Soul is a celebration of an unsung American legend and the music that inspired generations. *Name, Image and Music of Lonnie Johnson used by permission
    from the Estate of Lonnie Johnson
  • By the Eye
    An American political consultant, hired by a shady Russian oligarch, attempts to mold, Pygmalion-style, a Slavic truck driver into a presidential candidate with secret ties to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, an alluring and mysterious Siberian gun enthusiast arrives in the US looking to make in-roads with the NRA and transform American electoral politics before she’s found out. By the Eye is comical look at geopolitics...
    An American political consultant, hired by a shady Russian oligarch, attempts to mold, Pygmalion-style, a Slavic truck driver into a presidential candidate with secret ties to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, an alluring and mysterious Siberian gun enthusiast arrives in the US looking to make in-roads with the NRA and transform American electoral politics before she’s found out. By the Eye is comical look at geopolitics, greed, and the power of self-delusion.
  • Clay Warrior
    While a child sex abuse scandal swirls around one of his former employees, a legendary college football coach fights accusations that he didn’t do enough to stop the crimes from taking place. Terminally ill and surrounded by his family, the coach must find a way to save his reputation and that of the university he helped build, while also coming to terms with his failures as a husband, a father, and role model before it’s too late.
  • Comfort and Joy
    Lily is on the run in 1970s London. Confused, desperate, and unsure of herself, she breaks into the home of best-selling author Alex Comfort, whose Joy of Sex inspired a generation to embrace unbridled pleasure, seeking advice on love and intimacy. When her boyfriend Jack shows up, Lily is compelled to confront issues of selfhood and independence, and choose between what's expected of her and what she really wants out of life.
  • The Gospel of Paul
    On trial for religious heresy and fomenting public insurrection, Paul the Apostle must justify his actions to the high court of Athens or else face banishment, or death. Convinced that people can only save themselves by accepting his message of suffering, supplication, and life after death, Paul engages Greek philosophy, Hebrew scripture, and a messianic vision of the world to come. The Gospel of Paul grapples...
    On trial for religious heresy and fomenting public insurrection, Paul the Apostle must justify his actions to the high court of Athens or else face banishment, or death. Convinced that people can only save themselves by accepting his message of suffering, supplication, and life after death, Paul engages Greek philosophy, Hebrew scripture, and a messianic vision of the world to come. The Gospel of Paul grapples with the divide between vision and delusion, between dedication to a cause and fanaticism that distorts and destroys.
  • Killing Neil LaBute
    A fledgling writer posts a review of provocateur playwright Neil LaBute´s work, and before long a tit-for-tat turns ugly.
  • The Last American
    Set in the final days and moments of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, this drama centers on American Ambassador Graham Martin, who has a stark decision to make: try and maintain control of the US embassy in Saigon in the face of an onslaught by the North Vietnamese Army, or withdraw American forces, thereby acknowledging his nation’s defeat. Such a quick and chaotic exit will also endanger...
    Set in the final days and moments of United States involvement in the Vietnam War, this drama centers on American Ambassador Graham Martin, who has a stark decision to make: try and maintain control of the US embassy in Saigon in the face of an onslaught by the North Vietnamese Army, or withdraw American forces, thereby acknowledging his nation’s defeat. Such a quick and chaotic exit will also endanger Vietnamese locals, many of whom rely on American support, including Thien Po, a local tailor, and his wife, An. Haunted by his own past and those he’s now responsible for, Martin must weigh the cost of honor against the stark realities of war.
  • Libertine
    In a cottage on the Danube, a publisher visits an aging, exiled writer, bearing gifts and news of home. The ailing writer has long flaunted his unconventional, even immoral, lifestyle, but tolerance for his sexual predilections has evaporated. Defiant and bitter, the writer is confronted by his friend, and both men are forced to reckon with their lives, legacies, and damaged humanity.
  • Man Measures Man
    Two American doctors travel to a war zone to offer their services to desperate refugees. Into the chaos of the medical camp, a mysterious boy arrives, forcing the doctors to re-examine their actions and the personal ethics that guide them.
  • Muleheaded
    Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston attempt to collaborate on a Broadway play called Mule-bone, but shifting loyalties to their white patron; explosive conflicts with a close confidante; and smoldering jealousies lead to betrayals that threaten to destroy long-term friendships and budding careers.
  • Out of Place
    Robert Hassan, a Palestine-born American, returns home. There he meets two young lovers whose apparent dedication to the cause of a Palestinian state rekindles his own emotions. When he discovers that one of them is passing secrets to Israel, Robert is forced to reconcile his patriotism and his conscience.
  • The Passion of M.
    At the funeral of her husband, the former president of the United States, Melania recalls her life before and after meeting Donald Trump. From her childhood in Communist Slovenia to her complicated and controversial stint as first lady, Melania takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey through the joy, and pain, of a life lived alongside the most powerful and dangerous man on earth.
  • Playing Leni (co-authored with John Stanton)
    A fictionalized account of the capture and arrest of Leni Riefenstahl, filmmaker and propagandist for the Third Reich during World War II. Her captor, an unnamed Allied soldier, must transport Riefenstahl to a detention center. Riefenstahl, however, believes this “trip through the countryside” is the perfect opportunity to create her cinematic masterwork. Writing and rewriting her story as they travel,...
    A fictionalized account of the capture and arrest of Leni Riefenstahl, filmmaker and propagandist for the Third Reich during World War II. Her captor, an unnamed Allied soldier, must transport Riefenstahl to a detention center. Riefenstahl, however, believes this “trip through the countryside” is the perfect opportunity to create her cinematic masterwork. Writing and rewriting her story as they travel, Riefenstahl comes face to face with the inescapable truths of war, privation, and death camps. The mystery soldier becomes jailer, confessor, and actor in Riefenstahl’s unending pursuit to produce, direct, and edit each piece of her life—blurring the lines between art and reality, ambition and conscience, innocence and culpability.
  • Playing the Assassin
    Decades ago, NFL star Frank Baker was dubbed “The Assassin” for his brutal tackles. Now, down on his luck, he’s offered the chance of a lifetime — an interview on CBS before the Super Bowl. But just when he thinks his luck has changed, Frank and his interviewer are blindsided by secrets and revelations. Inspired by a true story, this new play tackles the NFL’s thorniest issues: race, hero worship, violence and its repercussions.
  • Priceless
    The line between loyalty and betrayal is tested as two former schools chums try to sell a stolen painting by one of the world’s most famous artists. Their plan for a quick and easy score is complicated by a mysterious appraiser and by the all-consuming greed that drives each one of them.
  • The Stronger
    Based on a one-act play by August Strindberg, The Stronger centers on a Christmas Eve meeting between X and Y at a small cafe. During X's tension-filled monologue, secrets are revealed, including X's belief that Y is in love with her husband, and X attempts to shame her friend and prove that she is the stronger of the two women. But is she?
  • Without Consent
    In this timely and provocative drama, Carmen, the wife of an entertainment legend, is interviewing a nurse, Lisa, to supervise the care of her husband, who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. In the process, the questioner becomes the questioned as Lisa confronts Carmen with sexual accusations against her husband and with her complicity in the alleged incidents.