Alice Eve Cohen

Alice Eve Cohen

Alice Eve Cohen is a playwright, solo theatre artist, and author, whose plays and solo works have been performed for over 200,000 people on four continents. Winner of the 2021 National Jewish Playwriting Contest for her play Oklahoma Samovar. She won the 2019 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award for In the Cervix of Others, which was a featured selection of the 2022 Women Playwrights International Conference...
Alice Eve Cohen is a playwright, solo theatre artist, and author, whose plays and solo works have been performed for over 200,000 people on four continents. Winner of the 2021 National Jewish Playwriting Contest for her play Oklahoma Samovar. She won the 2019 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award for In the Cervix of Others, which was a featured selection of the 2022 Women Playwrights International Conference Montréal. Her solo play What I Thought I Knew, an O’Neill finalist and nominee for 5 regional Broadway World Awards including Best Play, is adapted from her memoir—published by Viking, winner of the Elle Grand Prize for Nonfiction and O Oprah magazine’s 25 Best Books of Summer.

Cohen’s plays have been produced/developed at theatres including: The Kitchen Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop (Just Add Water Festival, O Solo Mio festivals, Mondays@3), New Georges, Six Points Theatre, Dance Theatre Workshop, Here Arts Center, EST, All for One Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Theatre for the New City, 78th Street Theatre Lab, PLAYground Festival, Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility, Ko Festival, Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western NY, The Women’s Project, The Performing Garage, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, LA Women’s Theatre Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Hudson Opera House, KiMo Theatre, Theatre for the New City, RVCC Arts, Artscape, Proctors Theatre, University of Michigan, Barnard, Fordham University, University of Baltimore, Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theatre; and internationally at Galway Theatre Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Trinidad’s Astor Theatre, Jerusalem’s Theatre Bama.

Cohen has written television for Nickelodeon and CBS, her books are published by Penguin, Algonquin, and Simon & Schuster, and a collection of her solo plays is published by NoPassport Press. The founding Editor of Play by Play, Theatre Development Fund’s theatre journal by and for teens, she is on the reading/adjudicating committee for the Bridge Playwriting Contest sponsored by Arts in the Armed Forces. A proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, EST’s Playwrights Unit, New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspects, and Honor Roll!, she has received fellowships and grants from the NY State Council on the Arts, the NEA, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Poets & Writers. Cohen holds an MFA from The New School, a BA from Princeton University, and a screenwriting certificate from the School of Media Studies. She teaches playwriting and creative writing at The New School Creative Writing Program and is a playwriting mentor for the MFA program of Augsburg College. www.AliceEveCohen.com
Selected quotes:
“A little show, but with such a big, embracing heart,” The Guardian (London).
"Gripping..." The New York Times
“So vivid, so immediate, so complex, so full of compassion… This is what theater can be.”—Tompkins Weekly, Ithaca
“This play takes us on a gripping ride."—Minnesota Star Tribune, BEST OF THE WEEK
"While filled with Cohen’s characteristic warmth and humor, What I Thought I Knew indicts the health care system."—Jewish Week
“Joyful, heart-breaking, moving”—Cherry and Spoon, Minneapolis
“Throws the insanity of the American health care system into sharp relief…sobering and thought-provoking.”—City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"Profound… [a] darkly comedic reframing of iconic feminist questions around choice, parenting, and women's health… Challenging, beautiful, and defiantly funny "—Jane Chambers Award judging committee
“Hilarious, heartbreaking, hopeful and devastating all at once.”—Minnesota Post, THE PICKS


Plays

  • Hotel Limbo (full-length play-in-progress)
    HOTEL LIMBO is a family story of love and looming loss, an examination of a neighborhood’s turbulent relationship to homelessness and its responsibility to the unhoused during a pandemic, a talking building, and a deep dive into the history of affordable housing and homelessness – all told through the lens of life at the Hotel Belleclaire. When the Belleclaire – the playwright's longtime home – was...
    HOTEL LIMBO is a family story of love and looming loss, an examination of a neighborhood’s turbulent relationship to homelessness and its responsibility to the unhoused during a pandemic, a talking building, and a deep dive into the history of affordable housing and homelessness – all told through the lens of life at the Hotel Belleclaire. When the Belleclaire – the playwright's longtime home – was transformed into a homeless shelter in 2020, as part of NYC’s plan to move people from overcrowded shelters into vacant hotel rooms to reduce COVID rates, the neighborhood erupted in NIMBY rage. A predominantly white community group tried to kick out the predominantly Black new neighbors. A counter-group showered them with love. The play investigates this episode in the building and neighborhood, as well as the Belleclaire’s history of housing the haves and have-nots since 1903.

    Merging real events with magic realism, a cast of five (3W, 2M) plays multiple roles, including: Abigail and her family; Kelvin, a Belleclaire shelter resident and housing rights activist; The Building – the hotel itself is a central speaking character; Belleclaire architect Emery Roth; Maxim Gorky, a Belleclaire guest in 1906 whose play, The Lower Depths, was written from his experience as a homeless teenager in Russia; and The Facebook Greek Chorus, which brings to life verbatim social media comments about the hotel shelters during the pandemic. Based on the playwright's experience living in the Belleclaire while it was a homeless shelter.

    full-length play, cast of 5 (3F, 2M)
  • Oklahoma Samovar
    In 1887, two Latvian teenagers flee the Russian Army and become the only Jews in the Oklahoma Land Run. One hundred years later, twenty-year-old Emily tries to decipher her late mother’s mysterious request to have her ashes spread on Sylvia’s farm. In the process, Emily discovers her long-lost ninety-year-old Great Aunt Sylvia in rural Oklahoma. In tandem with their ancestors, Sylvia and Emily reinvent their...
    In 1887, two Latvian teenagers flee the Russian Army and become the only Jews in the Oklahoma Land Run. One hundred years later, twenty-year-old Emily tries to decipher her late mother’s mysterious request to have her ashes spread on Sylvia’s farm. In the process, Emily discovers her long-lost ninety-year-old Great Aunt Sylvia in rural Oklahoma. In tandem with their ancestors, Sylvia and Emily reinvent their family history. Traveling through time in a story that covers a century, five generations move East to West and then West to East, staking their claims in Oklahoma and in Brooklyn. Along the way, they put down roots and dig graves, embodying their own Jewish variations on the turbulent and mythologized American Dream.

    It is a play about storytelling: stories that change with every teller and each new telling; stories that are joyfully told and embellished; and hidden family stories filled with shame and despair. Secret stories have a life of their own; they survive, carried from one generation to the next, through ineffable ancestral memories, sometimes with the help of ghosts.

    Driven by the very different perspectives of a young woman and an old woman, Alice Eve Cohen’s personal and thought-provoking play examines the identity, traditions, and culture clashes that shape one Jewish family’s immigrant experience. Merging real events with magic realism, the play is performed by a cast of six, along with puppets and animated objects. Based on the playwright's family history, OKLAHOMA SAMOVAR is an utterly human and absolutely unique American story.


  • What I Thought I Knew
    Everything 44-year-old Alice thought she knew is turned upside-down when an emergency CAT scan reveals that she’s six months pregnant. A dark comedy performed by one actress playing forty roles, Alice faces the most wrenching decision a woman can make, in her odyssey through doubt, a broken health-care system, the complexities of reproductive rights, and the infinite unpredictability of parenthood. An O’Neill...
    Everything 44-year-old Alice thought she knew is turned upside-down when an emergency CAT scan reveals that she’s six months pregnant. A dark comedy performed by one actress playing forty roles, Alice faces the most wrenching decision a woman can make, in her odyssey through doubt, a broken health-care system, the complexities of reproductive rights, and the infinite unpredictability of parenthood. An O’Neill finalist and Jane Chambers Award Honorable Mention, What I Thought I Knew is adapted from Cohen's acclaimed memoir—winner of Oprah magazine’s 25 Best Books of Summer and Elle Literary Grand Prize for Nonfiction.
    Selected quotes, What I Thought I Knew:
    “Hilarious, heartbreaking, hopeful and devastating all at once.”
    —Minnesota Post, THE PICKS
    “So vivid, so immediate, so complex, so full of compassion… This is what theater can be.”—Tompkins Weekly, Ithaca

    “This play takes us on a gripping ride."—Minnesota Star Tribune, BEST OF THE WEEK
    "While filled with Cohen’s characteristic warmth and humor, What I Thought I Knew indicts the health care system."—Jewish Week

    “Joyful, heart-breaking, moving”—Cherry and Spoon, Minneapolis

    “Throws the insanity of the American health care system into sharp relief…sobering and thought-provoking.”—City Pages, Minneapolis/​St. Paul

    "Profound… [a] darkly comedic reframing of iconic feminist questions around choice, parenting, and women's health… Challenging, beautiful, and defiantly funny "—Jane Chambers Award, Honorable Mention for new feminist plays
  • The Year My Mother Came Back
    Thirty years after her death, Alice’s mother appears to her, and continues to do so, during the hardest year Alice has had to face. A love story. A ghost story. This play will speak to anybody who has ever loved their mother, struggled with their mother, lost their mother, or dreamt of reconciling with their mother.

    Adapted from Cohen's acclaimed memoir, The Year My Mother Came Back (...
    Thirty years after her death, Alice’s mother appears to her, and continues to do so, during the hardest year Alice has had to face. A love story. A ghost story. This play will speak to anybody who has ever loved their mother, struggled with their mother, lost their mother, or dreamt of reconciling with their mother.

    Adapted from Cohen's acclaimed memoir, The Year My Mother Came Back (published by Algonquin Books)

    Selected quotes:
    "I was deeply moved by Alice-Eve’s play. She captures not only the fear of illness nor the pain of loss, not just of a death, but more poignantly, the pain of all the never-had conversations between parent and child so precisely that my breath caught. With humor and deep sensitivity Alice-Eve navigates the tricky path of forgiveness and understanding."
    Johanna Gruenhut, Associate Artistic Director, Theater J

    “I watched the play last night and wanted to let you know how much I loved it. Your play does such an excellent job of underscoring what's specific to the relationships between Jewish mothers and daughters, as well as how that's unique within a Jewish family and a part of the larger family dynamic.”
    Will Steinberger, Artistic Producer, Jewish Plays Project

    “Alice Eve Cohen has an almost magical touch in the way she introduces her audience to a character... unexplored emotional territory full of fresh questions, surprising revelations and sometimes uncomfortable insights... she does it again in The Year My Mother Came Back.”
    Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY

    Selected quotes, memoir:
    “A wry, magical memoir about the transcendent power of mother-daughter love.”
    —Elle magazine.
    “Fiercely brave and unflinchingly honest, Alice Eve Cohen takes the reader on an astonishing journey.”
    —The Brooklyn Rail
  • In the Cervix of Others
    Jessica is at her gynecological exam in 2018, during the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing, and simultaneously in 1991, during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearing. Woven into this time-traveling dark comedy is a mother-daughter tale of recrimination and forgiveness, an older woman reconciling with her younger self, a true story of pharmaceutical corruption, and the journey of a woman urgently trying to find her voice....
    Jessica is at her gynecological exam in 2018, during the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing, and simultaneously in 1991, during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearing. Woven into this time-traveling dark comedy is a mother-daughter tale of recrimination and forgiveness, an older woman reconciling with her younger self, a true story of pharmaceutical corruption, and the journey of a woman urgently trying to find her voice. Jessica’s cervix is being filmed for a training video. While Dr. Cooperman narrates her cervix’s perilous prenatal history, Jessica floats off the examining table and performs a stand-up routine on the ceiling. Her out-of-body storytelling launches her on an odyssey, during which she befriends the mythological Philomela from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, whose ancient story has powerful contemporary resonance. Against the backdrop of the Kavanaugh and Thomas hearings, which play out on screens throughout the action of the play, Jessica finds a window into her past and reunites with her late mother. Their relationship is a stormy mix of ambivalence and love, filled with recriminations for events of the past over which they had no control. With emotional force and hilarious wit, the play explores the many ways women are silenced, the misogyny that taints women’s healthcare, and the transcendent power of mother-daughter love. IN THE CERVIX OF OTHERS is a riveting journey, funny, painful and absurd.
    To inquire about reading or producing the play, contact the playwright or literary agent, Elaine Devlin at Edevlinlit@aol.com
  • Mrs. Satan and the Nasty Woman
    Victoria Woodhull, the very first woman to run for president, is arrested and jailed right before the election of 1872. On the eve of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton is having a hard time sleeping. Her mind is racing. Insomnia rules. Every time she thinks she has awakened, she finds herself in the Ludlow Street Jail in NYC, sharing a cell with Victoria Woodhull. Almost erased from the history books, Victoria...
    Victoria Woodhull, the very first woman to run for president, is arrested and jailed right before the election of 1872. On the eve of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton is having a hard time sleeping. Her mind is racing. Insomnia rules. Every time she thinks she has awakened, she finds herself in the Ludlow Street Jail in NYC, sharing a cell with Victoria Woodhull. Almost erased from the history books, Victoria was a clairvoyant, free-thinker, radical activist, stockbroker, and suffrage fighter. Will Hillary be radicalized by Victoria’s foresight and revolutionary politics? Will she finally have a night’s rest? Playwright Alice Eve Cohen examines two women's roles in the long path to a woman President in MRS. SATAN AND THE NASTY WOMAN.

    Commissioned by the Kitchen Theatre Company, Ithaca, NY

  • HANNAH AND THE HOLLOW CHALLAH (a play for family audiences
    Hannah and the Hollow Challah is a comic play for 2-10 actors playing dozens of roles (and rolls.) Hannah goes berserk over challah, her favorite bread. One day she eats the inside of an entire loaf. The next instant, she finds herself inside the hollow challah, which flies out Hannah’s kitchen window and all the way to Bread Land, where the inhabitants are all… bread! Hilarious, hi-carb complications ensue....
    Hannah and the Hollow Challah is a comic play for 2-10 actors playing dozens of roles (and rolls.) Hannah goes berserk over challah, her favorite bread. One day she eats the inside of an entire loaf. The next instant, she finds herself inside the hollow challah, which flies out Hannah’s kitchen window and all the way to Bread Land, where the inhabitants are all… bread! Hilarious, hi-carb complications ensue. Hannah’s journey of personal discovery gives depth to the wild escapades of the show’s human and doughy characters. She learns to use her courage and creativity to overcome monumental challenges. By journey’s end, she accepts her artistic instincts and realizes that she needs to reshape tradition in order to be her authentic self.
    SELECTED QUOTES:
    "Alice travels down a rabbit hole, Dorothy journeys in a tornado-propelled house, and Hannah—well, Hannah goes to another world in a hollowed-out loaf of challah. In this new comedy for ages 4 to 12 by Alice Eve Cohen, Hannah's trip takes her to Bread Land."
    --The New York Times

    “It was probably the funniest show I have ever seen!”
    —Daniel, age 7

    “About a girl discovering her hidden gifts. 'Hannah' [has] relevance to the world of contemporary Jewish artists, who rework Jewish themes to create new artistic styles...Even Hannah’s mother...needs to bend and reshape Jewish tradition in order to be her authentic self."
    - The Jewish Week

    "A delicious adventure through Bread Land. Our heroine, Hannah, uses courage, creativity and a bright, spunky spirit to overcome monumental challenges. A smart and adorable show. I highly recommend it."
    —Marianna Houston, Education Director, TDF (Theatre Development Fund)

    “Hannah and the Hollow Challah is a great play for the whole family. I brought my family, and they loved it. It is filled with witty humor the adults will enjoy, and eye-catching props and wonderful acting which keeps children engaged. As a 3rd teacher, I would highly recommend this play for school groups and families.”
    —Chris Miller, 3rd grade teacher, PS 199, New York City

    "Hannah and the Hollow Challah celebrates the imagination, something Lesley Greene, the associate producing director of the Kitchen Theatre Company, appreciates. "We picked this play because we were familiar with and love Alice Eve Cohen’s work, and because the script was so much fun to read!" Greene said in an e-mail interview. "It is a sweet story told in a very clever way. It has lessons about consequences of being naughty, about bravery and helping friends, and about following your heart, but all these lessons are shared in such a way that kids won’t feel they are being lectured. It’s fun through and through." She noted, that while the play is aimed at children ages four and older, their parents should love it too."
    - The Reporter Group.org http://www.thereportergroup.org/article.aspx?aid=684