Susan Bernfield

Susan Bernfield

Susan Bernfield's plays and solo performance works have been presented or developed by New Harmony Project, People's Light & Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Ensemble Studio Theatre/First Light Festival, Lark Play Development Center, Jewish Plays Project, undergroundzero festival, Chrysalis Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Adirondack...
Susan Bernfield's plays and solo performance works have been presented or developed by New Harmony Project, People's Light & Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Ensemble Studio Theatre/First Light Festival, Lark Play Development Center, Jewish Plays Project, undergroundzero festival, Chrysalis Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Soho Think Tank’s Ice Factory Festival, FringeNYC, Magic Theatre, Vital Theatre Company, HB Playwrights, HERE Arts Center, Peculiar Works Project, Dixon Place and New Georges, among others. Her plays have been finalists for the National New Play Network's National Showcase of New Plays, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayLabs at the Playwrights Center and Mill Mountain Theater's New Play Competition, and published (in whole or in part) by Playscripts, Smith & Kraus and Indie Theatre Now. She is the recipient of a 2015 EST/Sloan Project new play commission.

Susan is also the founder and producing artistic director of New Georges, an award-winning nonprofit theater company that has produced and developed adventurous new plays (by women) in New York City since 1992. In this capacity, she serves as president of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (ART/New York), on the boards of The Indie Theatre Fund, 3LD Art & Technology Center and The Assembly; has appeared on countless panels and The American Theatre Wing’s Working in the Theatre series; and is the recipient of an OBIE Award for artistic achievement and the Lilly Award for producing.

She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and trained as an actor at Circle in the Square.

Plays

  • TANIA IN THE GETAWAY VAN
    A play about a mom caught up, a girl in retreat, POWER & time.

    It's the fall of 1975 in the San Francisco Bay Area, and 11-year-old Laura's on the floor of the hall closet, pretending to be Patty Hearst. Her mom, Diane, is getting ready to head back to school, gonna get a job, gonna make Laura her companion in new-found liberation, openness, possibility! If, by quirk of history,...
    A play about a mom caught up, a girl in retreat, POWER & time.

    It's the fall of 1975 in the San Francisco Bay Area, and 11-year-old Laura's on the floor of the hall closet, pretending to be Patty Hearst. Her mom, Diane, is getting ready to head back to school, gonna get a job, gonna make Laura her companion in new-found liberation, openness, possibility! If, by quirk of history, Laura is supposed to come of age at the same time as her mom... well, she's not gonna play, no way. Flash forward to today: is Laura a model product of the women’s movement, or just of Diane’s expectations?

    This is a play with a few very casual songs... which composer Rachel Peters has set for it.
  • SIZZLE SIZZLE FLY
    The former computress sits her mini-skirted self down in a regulation Mission Control swivel chair, swings her impeccable long blonde hair, and becomes the first woman to slip on the black headset, a NASA engineer. It’s December 1968, Apollo 8 has gone behind the moon, and Poppy Northcutt holds her breath as the world changes faster than her return-to-earth trajectories can splash those dudes back down....
    The former computress sits her mini-skirted self down in a regulation Mission Control swivel chair, swings her impeccable long blonde hair, and becomes the first woman to slip on the black headset, a NASA engineer. It’s December 1968, Apollo 8 has gone behind the moon, and Poppy Northcutt holds her breath as the world changes faster than her return-to-earth trajectories can splash those dudes back down.

    From the EST blog: "It’s a very visual play. It started with an image, it repeats that image and builds in more. I see just a few iconic items on stage, and I’ve tried to activate them: the swivel chairs, for example, produce a kind of dance. In addition to establishing the world, for me these items are a clue to the theatricality, it’s a memory play and a non-naturalistic play, and picking a few iconic items and images lets me pull ideas into focus. At some point I started inserting pictures of objects into the text on the page: “it looks like this.” Having them right there inspired me, once I could see the chair or the lamp I could inhabit what was happening around it. Then I decided I wanted EVERY reader to see them. It put me right in it, wouldn’t it be the same for others? I had such a great time writing this play, I felt freer than I ever had before, so I just figured, why not, and I loved how it made my page come alive."
  • THICKETED
    Clare and Will buy a country house in the Hudson Valley, nice to get out of Manhattan for the weekend. It needs some outfitting, so Clare goes on buying, she buys and buys and buys. And explores a little, sure, and pays some attention to their neighbors. And reads, and dreams, and looks at the many many trees. When will someone visit them here, and enjoy all the things the UPS guy has delivered? Will it be...
    Clare and Will buy a country house in the Hudson Valley, nice to get out of Manhattan for the weekend. It needs some outfitting, so Clare goes on buying, she buys and buys and buys. And explores a little, sure, and pays some attention to their neighbors. And reads, and dreams, and looks at the many many trees. When will someone visit them here, and enjoy all the things the UPS guy has delivered? Will it be satisfying when they do? And when will that voice go away, the one that tells her to keep the trees at bay?
  • STRETCH (a fantasia)
    IN WHICH President Nixon's longtime secretary, Rose Mary Woods, observes the presidential election of 2004 from her swing-state nursing home. Thinks about power, loyalty and lying. And has some very strange dreams.
  • BARKING GIRL
    Rae sees herself as capable, independent, wistful, romantic. So when motherhood confers a strange new identity upon her, she fights it with every fiber of her being. Until adventure hits in all the wrong ways, and she must construct her own kind of connection with her child.
  • BIG HUNGRY WORLD
    A play about 2 billionaires, a movie star, the philanthropic impulse & how we value work.

    Catherine is a Silicon Valley billionaire who wants to use her wealth to save the world. Peter’s one, too, but he’s young, and he doesn’t. Howard is a movie star who really wants to direct… with time off for philanthropic jaunts to Africa. It’s a global society, largely of their making, but does...
    A play about 2 billionaires, a movie star, the philanthropic impulse & how we value work.

    Catherine is a Silicon Valley billionaire who wants to use her wealth to save the world. Peter’s one, too, but he’s young, and he doesn’t. Howard is a movie star who really wants to direct… with time off for philanthropic jaunts to Africa. It’s a global society, largely of their making, but does that mean they have to trot all over the globe trying to solve its problems? Can good really be done from platforms of such great privilege? And is their do-gooder work really of more value than the work they did to heave themselves into privilege in the first place?