Lauren Gunderson

Lauren Gunderson

Lauren is a playwright, screenwriter and short story author from Atlanta, GA. She received her BA in English/Creative Writing at Emory University, and her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch, where she was also a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. She was awarded the prestigious Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for her play, I AND YOU (also a Susan Smith Blackburn Blackburn finalist). That play was...
Lauren is a playwright, screenwriter and short story author from Atlanta, GA. She received her BA in English/Creative Writing at Emory University, and her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch, where she was also a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. She was awarded the prestigious Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for her play, I AND YOU (also a Susan Smith Blackburn Blackburn finalist). That play was an NNPN Rolling World Premiere that started at Marin Theatre Company and heads to 3 cities in 2014. BAUER, commissioned by San Francisco Playhouse, will premiere there and in NYC at 59E59 in 2014. Her play SILENT SKY (Jane Chambers Award finalist) premiered at South Coast Rep in 2011 and was further developed and rewritten for TheatreWorks, which opened to raves calling it “sheer magic”. Her 2011 3-city rolling world premiere of EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR, was featured in American Theatre Magazine and The Week, and has reached 20 communities across the US winning “Best Comedy” accolades. Bear is now published by Playscripts, as is her comedy, TOIL AND TROUBLE, after premiering in Berkeley to raves. Her first musical, THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DR. WONDERFUL AND HER DOG! commissioned by The Kennedy Center, opened last fall to rave reviews and continues its life in a state-wide tour in Florida this summer. Dr. Wonderful is becoming a series of children’s books published by Amazon. EMILIE: LA MARQUISE DU CHATELET DEFENDS HER LIFE TONIGHT (published by Samuel French) was commissioned and premiered at South Coast Rep in 2009, and has run across the country and in England. BY AND BY premiered at Shotgun Players in Berkeley. FIRE WORK was developed at The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and is a 2011 winner for Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project, and will premiere at Theatre First in 2014. She has developed plays with Second Stage, Red Bull, and Primary Stages in NYC; New Rep in Boston; Playwrights Foundation, Crowded Fire, TheatreWorks, Aurora Theatre, and The Magic Theatre in San Francisco; Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas; Synchronicity, Actor Express and Horizon Theatre in Atlanta; JAW at Portland Center Stage in Portland; WORDBridge, Brave New Works, and others. Her work has received national praise and awards including being a Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award winner, a Susan Smith Blackburn finalist, a Jane Chambers Award finalist, and winner of the Berrilla Kerr Award for American Theatre, Global Age Project, Young Playwright’s Award, Eric Bentley New Play Award and Essential Theatre Prize. She has been commissioned by South Coast Rep (3 times), Crowded Fire, The Alliance Theatre’s Collision Project, Marin Theatre Company, Actors Express Theatre, Dad’s Garage Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, City University of New York and Synchronicity Performance Group. Leap was published with Theatre Emory’s Playwriting Center (2004), and her first collection of plays, Deepen The Mystery: Science and the South Onstage, is published with iUniverse (2006). She has developed plays with Second Stage and Primary Stages in NYC, New Rep in Boston, Playwrights Foundation, Crowded Fire, Aurora Theatre, and The Magic Theatre in San Francisco, Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas, Actor Express and Horizon Theatre in Atlanta, JAW/West in Portland, WORDBridge, Brave New Works, and others. She received a Sloan Science Script Award (2008) for her screenplay Grand Unification. Leap was published with Theatre Emory’s Playwriting Center (2004), and her short story, “The Ascending Life”, won the Norembega Short Fiction Award and was published in the anthology, The Shape of Content; her science play Background was published in ISOTOPE: A Journal of Nature and Science Writing. Her string theory poem “Hook of a Number” was published in the anthology Riffing On Strings. She has spoken nationally and internationally on the intersection of science and theatre and Arts Activism, and teaches playwriting in San Francisco. She is a Playwright in Resident at The Playwrights Foundation, a Dramatists Guild member, and was a member of Just Theatre’s New Play Lab. She writes for The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, tweets @LalaTellsAStory, and curates HowToPlaywright.com.

Plays

  • Ada and the Engine
    As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love,...
    As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age. Original music by The Kilbanes on request. More at: adaplay.tumblr.com
  • Fire Work
    FIRE WORK is a present day romance set in a place where the conflict between social conformity and individual freedom turns deadly serious. Ben meets Ana in her father’s retail fireworks shop and the sparks quickly fly between the two. It's a comedy until it's not. When a bomb goes off in their town, the young lovers wrestle with their chances at freedom and escape, and the tension and secrets that...
    FIRE WORK is a present day romance set in a place where the conflict between social conformity and individual freedom turns deadly serious. Ben meets Ana in her father’s retail fireworks shop and the sparks quickly fly between the two. It's a comedy until it's not. When a bomb goes off in their town, the young lovers wrestle with their chances at freedom and escape, and the tension and secrets that are let loose in their war-torn city.
  • The Revolutionists
    THE REVOLUTIONISTS is a brutal comedic quartet about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-1794). Playwright Olympe De Gouge, assassin Charlotte Corday, and former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, loose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in revolutionary...
    THE REVOLUTIONISTS is a brutal comedic quartet about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-1794). Playwright Olympe De Gouge, assassin Charlotte Corday, and former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, loose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in revolutionary Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, feminism and terrorism, art and how we actually go about changing the world. It a true story. Or total fiction. Or a play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection that ends in a song and a scaffold. more research and info here: therevolutionists.tumblr.com
  • The Taming
    A crackling modern political all-female farce, THE TAMING hilariously takes on America’s overheated political rhetoric and upends historical truths about our founding fathers. When a conservative senatorial aid, a liberal political activist, and a very sparkly GA beauty queen find themselves locked in a hotel room, the political passions of these slightly insane women prove they might just be revolutionary...
    A crackling modern political all-female farce, THE TAMING hilariously takes on America’s overheated political rhetoric and upends historical truths about our founding fathers. When a conservative senatorial aid, a liberal political activist, and a very sparkly GA beauty queen find themselves locked in a hotel room, the political passions of these slightly insane women prove they might just be revolutionary geniuses. Initially inspired by The Taming of The Shrew, THE TAMING grew out of her desire to wrestle with potent elements inside the Bard’s playful and problematic battle of the sexes. Inside the heightened, cheerfully absurd world of THE TAMING the play spanks America’s insidious, sound bite politics with the switch of actual history and proves Shakespeare’s point that true debate is hot. Third in Lauren’s The Shakespeare Cycle and commissioned by Crowded Fire Theatre, THE TAMING takes the sass, sex, and banter from Shakespeare TAMING OF THE SHREW and tags in modern American politics. Chad Jones’s Best of The Bay 2013: “One of the year’s smartest, slyest, most enjoyable evenings.” Sam Hurwitt’s A Year of Living Theatrically: “So many hysterical lines in the play that you’d hardly finish laughing at one before the next hit you.” thetamingplay.tumblr.com Available in full at www.playscripts.com/play/2735
  • I and You
    Winner of the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Playwrighting Prize, I AND YOU is a haunting, shocking music-box of a play about youth, poetry, hope, heart, and the connections between us all. More at: iandyouplay.tumblr.com One afternoon in your town, Anthony arrives at Caroline’s door bearing waffle fries, a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and...
    Winner of the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Playwrighting Prize, I AND YOU is a haunting, shocking music-box of a play about youth, poetry, hope, heart, and the connections between us all. More at: iandyouplay.tumblr.com One afternoon in your town, Anthony arrives at Caroline’s door bearing waffle fries, a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and an urgent assignment from their high school lit teacher. Living most of her life online, Caroline is sick and hasn’t been to school is months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly vanilla poetry assignment unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I AND YOU is a valentine to life, love, and the strange and surprising beauty of human connectedness.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (And Her Dog!)
    Fly through the solar system with Dr. Wonderful and her amazing team of Newton (the dog), Ben (the human), and Mom (the Mom)! Girl-detective-noir meets science-geek-chic in this super cool astronomical musical theater event that will take you across the universe with fun, flair, and science. Music by Brian Lowdermilk.
  • By and By
    BY AND BY is a heavy-on-the-science sci-fi thriller about a father, the edge of technology, and the lengths we go to for love. The play provides a wild and challenging doubled-role for an actress to pull off a bit of a coup-de-theatre at the end. Steven is a nerd of a father who's daughter Denise has just found out that she is very, VERY special. Denise breaks from her father after hearing this news,...
    BY AND BY is a heavy-on-the-science sci-fi thriller about a father, the edge of technology, and the lengths we go to for love. The play provides a wild and challenging doubled-role for an actress to pull off a bit of a coup-de-theatre at the end. Steven is a nerd of a father who's daughter Denise has just found out that she is very, VERY special. Denise breaks from her father after hearing this news, running away to find out for herself who (and how) she is. As Steven chases after his daughter across the northeast he is met/haunted by his wife, the woman he lost all those years ago, the woman who's love he's been trying to recreate. In the end Steven is forced to let go of everything or risk losing both the memory of his wife and the bright future of his daughter. A play about the threat of edgy science turns out to be a play about how even the people we've lost continue to make us better people if we let them.
  • Silent Sky
    Astonishing discoveries await Henrietta Leavitt as she maps distant stars in galaxies beyond our own. But this brilliant, headstrong pioneer must struggle for recognition in the man’s world of turn-of-the-century astronomy. In this musical blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society determined to keep a woman in her place. This...
    Astonishing discoveries await Henrietta Leavitt as she maps distant stars in galaxies beyond our own. But this brilliant, headstrong pioneer must struggle for recognition in the man’s world of turn-of-the-century astronomy. In this musical blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society determined to keep a woman in her place. This true story dives into the romance, wonder and sisterhood of science in the early 20th century female “computers” at Harvard Observatory. Jane Chambers Award top Finalist 2013. See research, pictures, essays, and more about the play: silentskyplay.tumblr.com