MJ Kaufman

MJ Kaufman

MJ Kaufman is a playwright and television writer working in New York and Los Angeles. Their work has been seen at the Public Theater, Huntington Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Page73, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theater, Crowded Fire, Fresh Ink Theatre, InterAct Theater, New Harmony Project...
MJ Kaufman is a playwright and television writer working in New York and Los Angeles. Their work has been seen at the Public Theater, Huntington Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Page73, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theater, Crowded Fire, Fresh Ink Theatre, InterAct Theater, New Harmony Project and performed in Russian in Moscow.

MJ has received awards and commissions from the Public Theater, WP Theater, the Program for Women in Theater, the Playwrights Foundation, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Young Playwrights Inc., and the Huntington Theatre, where they are also a playwriting fellow. MJ received the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre.

MJ has been a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers’ Group, WP Theater Lab, a core playwright at InterAct Theatre, and is currently a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ attended Wesleyan University and received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.

MJ has taught playwriting at Fordham University, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, the University of the Arts and as a teaching fellow at Yale College. They curated the 2016 and 2017 seasons of Trans Theater Fest at The Brick and founded Trans Lab Fellowship at WP Theater.

They are currently a staff writer on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to be released on Netflix October 2018.

Plays

  • Galatea
    A trans love story set against the backdrop of a climate crisis. Loosely based on John Lyly’s 1585 play, Galatea tells the story of two young women from a village threatened with flooding who escape to the nearby woods disguised as boys and fall in love.
  • Masculinity Max
    Max has just transitioned into being a man, and to celebrate, the men of his family decide to throw him a big Super Bowl party, complete with drinking games and push-up challenges. But what if the guys in his family aren’t the kind of men he wants to be? An irreverent comedy that follows Max as he stumbles through dating, navigates trouble with roommates, and boosts his career at the bike cooperative, all while...
    Max has just transitioned into being a man, and to celebrate, the men of his family decide to throw him a big Super Bowl party, complete with drinking games and push-up challenges. But what if the guys in his family aren’t the kind of men he wants to be? An irreverent comedy that follows Max as he stumbles through dating, navigates trouble with roommates, and boosts his career at the bike cooperative, all while struggling with the gender traps he once fought against.
  • Sensitive Guys
    Will is a freshman at Watson college. Jordan is a senior film major. Tyler is writing a novel for his thesis. They are all members of the Men’s Peer Education group. At meetings they spend hours unpacking questions like: “what is male privilege? And what can we do about it?” They love each other and the group. Until some accusatory posters start appearing around campus suggesting that a member of the group...
    Will is a freshman at Watson college. Jordan is a senior film major. Tyler is writing a novel for his thesis. They are all members of the Men’s Peer Education group. At meetings they spend hours unpacking questions like: “what is male privilege? And what can we do about it?” They love each other and the group. Until some accusatory posters start appearing around campus suggesting that a member of the group committed sexual assault. Could it be that even sensitive guys, guys working on their privilege sometimes turn violent or aggressive? In this play women and gender non-conforming people play men trying to understand the intricacies of masculinity and violence.
  • eat and you belong to us
    Grands is a trans grandparent. Jaime is their genderqueer grandchild. They are both obsessed with Joan of Arc. Grands wakes up from gender affirmative surgery speaking French and claiming they survived a fire. The same day, Jaime, who has been pretending to be Joan of Arc for weeks, goes missing.
  • How to Live on Earth
    Four individuals will be chosen for the mission of a lifetime. The only catch: they can’t come back. As applicants compete, they wrestle with what this means for their families, partners, and finally, themselves. What does it mean to leave Earth forever and what happens if you don’t get to go after you’ve already said goodbye?

    How to Live on Earth is a haunting new play about our unrelenting...
    Four individuals will be chosen for the mission of a lifetime. The only catch: they can’t come back. As applicants compete, they wrestle with what this means for their families, partners, and finally, themselves. What does it mean to leave Earth forever and what happens if you don’t get to go after you’ve already said goodbye?

    How to Live on Earth is a haunting new play about our unrelenting obsession with the next frontier and the desire to give your life for something greater than yourself. Inspired in part by the Mars One project to colonize Mars by 2025, this piece is a funny, wry, and deeply truthful portrait of the fears and hopes that drive us towards exploration and expansion.
  • Wolves Eat Elk
    Alex has just finished a summer of dissertation research in the Minnesota woods and is eager to get back on the road to his boyfriend at school back east when he finds himself trapped in the surreal world of Elk Kingdom. The Elk need him to complete a strange and specific task before he can leave: tame the wolf that is threatening their herd. Alex wrestles with what the Elk ask of him and the implications for...
    Alex has just finished a summer of dissertation research in the Minnesota woods and is eager to get back on the road to his boyfriend at school back east when he finds himself trapped in the surreal world of Elk Kingdom. The Elk need him to complete a strange and specific task before he can leave: tame the wolf that is threatening their herd. Alex wrestles with what the Elk ask of him and the implications for both the ecosystem and his journey home.
  • Murmur Rock
    An American family is determined to have a fun vacation reconnecting with their roots in a small German village, but it's hard to have fun when nothing goes as expected. Grandfather's house is gone and the family graves aren't in the cemetary. Why are all the tour guides so weird? Is this even the right town?
  • Sagittarius Ponderosa
    Archer (still Angela to his family) doesn’t want to move back to his childhood home in eastern Oregon when his father falls ill. But at night under the oldest Ponderosa Pine, he meets a stranger who knows the history of the forests and the sadness of losing endangered things. As Archer accepts big changes in his family he discovers the power of names and the histories they make and mask.