Liz Duffy Adams

Liz Duffy Adams

Liz Duffy Adams’ play OR, premiered Off Broadway at Women’s Project Theater and has been produced over 70 times since, including at the Magic Theater and Seattle Rep. She’s a New Dramatists alumna and has received a Women of Achievement Award, Lillian Hellman Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, Will Glickman Award, Weston Playhouse Music-Theater Award, and MacDowell Colony residencies. Her work...
Liz Duffy Adams’ play OR, premiered Off Broadway at Women’s Project Theater and has been produced over 70 times since, including at the Magic Theater and Seattle Rep. She’s a New Dramatists alumna and has received a Women of Achievement Award, Lillian Hellman Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, Will Glickman Award, Weston Playhouse Music-Theater Award, and MacDowell Colony residencies. Her work has also been produced or developed at the Contemporary American Theater Festival, Humana Festival, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, Cutting Ball, Shotgun Players, and Crowded Fire, among other places. Publications include DOG ACT in "Geek Theater" (Underwords Press, 2014); OR, in Smith & Kraus’ “Best Plays Of 2010; ”POODLE WITH GUITAR AND DARK GLASSES in Applause’s “Best American Short Plays 2000-2001”; and several plays in acting editions by Playscripts, Inc. and Dramatists Play Service. Adams has an MFA from Yale School of Drama and a BFA from NYU, and has dual Irish and American citizenship.

Plays

  • Born With Teeth
    An aging, unstable ruler, an oppressive police state, a restless polarized people seething with paranoia: it’s a dangerous time for poets. Two of them—the already great Kit Marlowe and the up-and-comer Will Shakespeare—meet in the back room of a pub to collaborate on a history play cycle, navigate the perils of art under a totalitarian regime, and flirt like young men with everything to lose. One of them may...
    An aging, unstable ruler, an oppressive police state, a restless polarized people seething with paranoia: it’s a dangerous time for poets. Two of them—the already great Kit Marlowe and the up-and-comer Will Shakespeare—meet in the back room of a pub to collaborate on a history play cycle, navigate the perils of art under a totalitarian regime, and flirt like young men with everything to lose. One of them may well be the death of the other.
  • Dear Alien
    A shambolic, reclusive advice columnist known professionally as Dear Alien is under the gun. They (the character may be played by any sex) have a deadline of yesterday for a collection of their columns; if they don’t turn it in they don’t get the advance, and they will be evicted from their apartment for non-payment of rent. On top of that, their editor is showing alarming signs of romantic interest, online...
    A shambolic, reclusive advice columnist known professionally as Dear Alien is under the gun. They (the character may be played by any sex) have a deadline of yesterday for a collection of their columns; if they don’t turn it in they don’t get the advance, and they will be evicted from their apartment for non-payment of rent. On top of that, their editor is showing alarming signs of romantic interest, online trolls are threatening to doxx them, and the agonizing predictability of readers’ questions is driving them mad. In an attempt to create a passable manuscript, Dear Alien chooses seven unread letters at random and answers them, in a countdown to transcendent meaning or absolute despair. But before they can read the seventh letter, there is a knocking at the door, and Dear Alien has only time for the most fleeting last answer to us, their hapless human audience.
  • The Broken Machine
    A burnt-out coder has become a hermit in the wilderness, nursing a broken arm and making lists from memory—of endangered species, moments of Lost Time, Incorrect States of Mind—in company with her only friend, a gray fox with a bad attitude. When wild fires approach they flee through the wilderness to the sea, pursued by feckless would-be rescuers and threatened by a punk psychopomp. A climate-chaos comi-tragedy.

  • The Salonnières
    In pre-Revolutionary Paris, Madeleine, a girl fresh from the convent, is promised in marriage to an older nobleman to pay off her father’s debts. She flees to the literary salon of her late mother’s friends, aristocratic women who conceal radical politics within reinvented folk tales. When her promised husband shows up too, the women must use their wits to save Madeleine. But in the end, the maid Françoise is...
    In pre-Revolutionary Paris, Madeleine, a girl fresh from the convent, is promised in marriage to an older nobleman to pay off her father’s debts. She flees to the literary salon of her late mother’s friends, aristocratic women who conceal radical politics within reinvented folk tales. When her promised husband shows up too, the women must use their wits to save Madeleine. But in the end, the maid Françoise is revealed as the real hero of a story they didn’t realize they were in.
  • Asterion
    Asterion, the half-bull Minotaur of Greek legend, is trapped in the labyrinth his sister Ariadne designed, alone except for the angry ghosts of the young sacrifices he has devoured. Now Ariadne and her borrowed hero, Theseus, are coming to kill him – unless he kills them instead. A play about the monster in us all.
  • Wonders Of The Invisible World
    Ten years after Abigail Williams, instigator of the witch trials, disappeared from Salem, she turns up at the frontier tavern of fellow witch-hunter Mercy Lewis. About to leave the colonies forever, it’s her last chance to understand the madness that overtook them. But with war threatening northern New England yet again, Mercy and her fellow townspeople are in no mood for Abigail’s doubts, which suggest to them...
    Ten years after Abigail Williams, instigator of the witch trials, disappeared from Salem, she turns up at the frontier tavern of fellow witch-hunter Mercy Lewis. About to leave the colonies forever, it’s her last chance to understand the madness that overtook them. But with war threatening northern New England yet again, Mercy and her fellow townspeople are in no mood for Abigail’s doubts, which suggest to them complicity with the devil. And just when everything is at its most dangerously tense – the devil himself shows up.
    NOTE: The play has been revised since the first two productions.
  • Or,
    The neo-Restoration play Or, takes place (mostly) during one night in the life of Aphra Behn, poet, spy, and soon to be first professional female playwright. Sprung from debtors’ prison after a disastrous overseas mission, Aphra is desperate to get out of the spy trade. She has a shot at a production at one of only two London companies, if she can only finish her play by morning despite interruptions from...
    The neo-Restoration play Or, takes place (mostly) during one night in the life of Aphra Behn, poet, spy, and soon to be first professional female playwright. Sprung from debtors’ prison after a disastrous overseas mission, Aphra is desperate to get out of the spy trade. She has a shot at a production at one of only two London companies, if she can only finish her play by morning despite interruptions from sudden new love, actress Nell Gwynne; complicated royal love, King Charles II; and very dodgy ex-love, double-agent William Scott—who may be in on a plot to murder the king in the morning. Can Aphra save Charles’ life, win William a pardon, resist Nell’s charms, and launch her career, all in one night?

    For acting editions or production rights, contact Dramatists Play Service.
  • Dog Act
    Zetta Stone, a traveling performer, and her companion, Dog (a young man undergoing a voluntary species demotion), meet another couple of lost vaudevillians and join forces in their quest for an audience, stalked all the while through the post-apocalyptic wilderness by a pair of ferocious and hungry Lost Boys. A future-mythic comedy with music. For acting editions or production rights, contact Playscripts.com.
  • Wet or, Isabella the Pirate Queen Enters the Horse Latitudes
    Four survivors of a storm-sunken pirate ship — the legendary Isabella, Neptune’s bastard daughter; pirates Jenny (a runaway whore) and Sally (an electrified girl); and the Viscountess Marlene, a drag queen — seize a half-wrecked ship manned only by Captain Joppa and two sailors, Jack the cabin boy and ex-slave Horatio. Joppa is determined to get back to the war. Isabella has other plans. Amidst time lurches,...
    Four survivors of a storm-sunken pirate ship — the legendary Isabella, Neptune’s bastard daughter; pirates Jenny (a runaway whore) and Sally (an electrified girl); and the Viscountess Marlene, a drag queen — seize a half-wrecked ship manned only by Captain Joppa and two sailors, Jack the cabin boy and ex-slave Horatio. Joppa is determined to get back to the war. Isabella has other plans. Amidst time lurches, shifting loyalties, story-telling and sudden violence, hearts lost and secrets revealed, the seven souls find themselves without wind or current on a slowly sinking ship—until an unexpected event offers either hope or doom.
  • Becalmed: a short play
    A brief sequel to The Tempest, in which Ariel and Caliban, unable to embrace their freedom, squabble over Prospero's broken staff and take turns lording it over the other – until Miranda comes back, exiled once more.
  • Off the Clock
    In a ruined mill town, two estranged sisters and their estranged mother get unstuck in time, roaming through the history of their town while a radio DJ talks all night and an Artist of the Criminal Class wreaks havoc. A interstitial fantasia about the past, present, and future of work and what we’re working for.
  • One Big Lie
    In this musical epic spanning centuries — from the ancient world to our near future — LuLu the God of Lies is banished from the celestial realm and makes her way among humans to plot revolution against her fellow gods. Meanwhile a young woman sets out to rescue her sister from the lustful god who has abducted her. Robert Hurwitt in the San Francisco Chronicle called it a “savvy, tantalizing, funny… and...
    In this musical epic spanning centuries — from the ancient world to our near future — LuLu the God of Lies is banished from the celestial realm and makes her way among humans to plot revolution against her fellow gods. Meanwhile a young woman sets out to rescue her sister from the lustful god who has abducted her. Robert Hurwitt in the San Francisco Chronicle called it a “savvy, tantalizing, funny… and beguiling dance with the problem of evil… As penetrating as it is entertaining.” Composer: David Rhodes
  • Buccaneers
    Young Enid Arabella longs for adventure and an escape from her family’s anxious descent into poverty. She gets her chance when she is captured by a wicked pirate king and his crew of kidnapped child pirates. With too much spirit to submit to tyranny, Enid Arabella must summon all her courage and wits to defeat the pirate king, free her fellow captives, save her parents, institute a new democracy, and sail on to...
    Young Enid Arabella longs for adventure and an escape from her family’s anxious descent into poverty. She gets her chance when she is captured by a wicked pirate king and his crew of kidnapped child pirates. With too much spirit to submit to tyranny, Enid Arabella must summon all her courage and wits to defeat the pirate king, free her fellow captives, save her parents, institute a new democracy, and sail on to fresh adventures! With a brilliant score by Ellen Maddow inspired by sea shanties and world music.
  • The Listener of Junk City
    An alt-rock musical adaptation of THE LISTENER (also by Adams), with music by John Hodian. Generations after most of humanity has discarded a ruined Earth for a shiny new moon colony, the Listener spends her life alone with a sacred radio, calling out to hoped-for fellow survivors and harboring a vision for the future of Earth. Her fellow Junk City citizens have their own roles to play in a fragile, cobbled-...
    An alt-rock musical adaptation of THE LISTENER (also by Adams), with music by John Hodian. Generations after most of humanity has discarded a ruined Earth for a shiny new moon colony, the Listener spends her life alone with a sacred radio, calling out to hoped-for fellow survivors and harboring a vision for the future of Earth. Her fellow Junk City citizens have their own roles to play in a fragile, cobbled-together new culture—a culture threatened by the arrival of John, an emissary from the moon, who talks of rescue but is regarded as an alien demon. The Listener risks everything to help him, but not for mercy. Will John learn to listen? Will Listener hear? Will Junk City survive?
  • The Listener
    Generations after most of humanity has discarded a ruined Earth for a shiny new moon colony, the Listener spends her life alone with a sacred radio, calling out to hoped-for fellow survivors and harboring a vision for the future of Earth. Her fellow Junk City citizens have their own roles to play in a fragile, cobbled-together new culture—a culture threatened by the arrival of John, an emissary from the moon,...
    Generations after most of humanity has discarded a ruined Earth for a shiny new moon colony, the Listener spends her life alone with a sacred radio, calling out to hoped-for fellow survivors and harboring a vision for the future of Earth. Her fellow Junk City citizens have their own roles to play in a fragile, cobbled-together new culture—a culture threatened by the arrival of John, an emissary from the moon, who talks of rescue but is regarded as an alien demon. The Listener risks everything to help him, but not for mercy. Will John learn to listen? Will Listener hear? Will Junk City survive?
  • Sa Charge Féroce Fatale Brutale, Ou Le Train
    French translation by Adelaide Pralon of Adams' "The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It Or, The Train Play:"

    Late at night on a train hurtling towards infinity, eight strangers meet. A twelve-year-old with the powers of a comic book heroine manipulates time and the lives of a jaded Earth Goddess, an unraveling physicist, an Irishman fleeing predatory angels, a reluctant travel...
    French translation by Adelaide Pralon of Adams' "The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It Or, The Train Play:"

    Late at night on a train hurtling towards infinity, eight strangers meet. A twelve-year-old with the powers of a comic book heroine manipulates time and the lives of a jaded Earth Goddess, an unraveling physicist, an Irishman fleeing predatory angels, a reluctant travel writer and three brothers from Ulyanovsk. While they ride, the destruction of the universe looms. A comi-threnody.
  • The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It Or, The Train Play
    Late at night on a train hurtling towards infinity, eight strangers meet. A twelve-year-old with the powers of a comic book heroine manipulates time and the lives of a jaded Earth Goddess, an unraveling physicist, an Irishman fleeing predatory angels, a reluctant travel writer and three brothers from Ulyanovsk. While they ride, the destruction of the universe looms. A comi-threnody.

    Train is...
    Late at night on a train hurtling towards infinity, eight strangers meet. A twelve-year-old with the powers of a comic book heroine manipulates time and the lives of a jaded Earth Goddess, an unraveling physicist, an Irishman fleeing predatory angels, a reluctant travel writer and three brothers from Ulyanovsk. While they ride, the destruction of the universe looms. A comi-threnody.

    Train is available in a French translation by Adelaide Pralon, as Sa Charge Féroce Fatale Brutale, Ou Le Train. It had a staged reading in Paris at the Théatre des Bouffe du Nord in May 2014, as part of the Des Voix Festival.
  • Poodle With Guitar and Dark Glasses
    Four late nights, five lost souls, one poodle gone Elvis. Above an after-hours club in an urban art slum, a painter loses control of her subject, a romance writer loses control of her heroine, an ESL teacher loses control of the to-be verb — and everybody learns the perils of living by formula. A rhapsodic comedy in one act.
  • Quaked: a ten-minute play
    Written for the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, QUAKED interweaves three women's experiences of that day: Cora fleeing with her sister in their best hats, Annie surviving as a small child and spending the decades afterward seeking that same thrill, Kate confessing her part in the Hayes Valley Fire. The play was commissioned for a Playground Center for New Plays benefit performance, and directed by Mark Routhier.
  • The Last Woman on Earth
    In this ten minute countdown to the end of the world, the oldest living Earthling is resisting mandatory evacuation. A science fiction elegy for everyone who'd rather go down with the ship.