Emily Acker

Emily Acker

Emily is a founding member of Orbiter 3 Philadelphia Playwrights Collective, a Core Playwright at InterAct Theater Company and a third year member of The Foundry, a Philadelphia playwrights lab. Her plays include Milk and Honey, The Matter of Nadiyah Hassan, Will Work For Silence, I Am Not My Motherland (semi-finalist Eugene O'Neill National Playrights Conference) and Safe Space which was co-written with...
Emily is a founding member of Orbiter 3 Philadelphia Playwrights Collective, a Core Playwright at InterAct Theater Company and a third year member of The Foundry, a Philadelphia playwrights lab. Her plays include Milk and Honey, The Matter of Nadiyah Hassan, Will Work For Silence, I Am Not My Motherland (semi-finalist Eugene O'Neill National Playrights Conference) and Safe Space which was co-written with playwrights Emma Goidel and Douglas Williams and produced in the 2014 Philadelphia FringeArts Festival. She also contributed to the final season of All My Children on Hulu+. She is the winner of the Young Playwrights Inc. National Playwriting Competition, Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Annual Playwriting Competition, and Northwestern University’s Agnes Nixon New Work Festival. Her work has been developed by Act II Playhouse, Azuka Theatre, InterAct Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Philadelphia New Play Initiative, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Young Playwrights Inc., Temple University and Northwestern University. She is the literary manager for Philadelphia Young Playwrights Paula Vogel Mentors Project and an Artistic Associate at Azuka Theatre. She received her B.S. from Northwestern University. www.emilyacker.com

Plays

  • Brute-ish
    BRUTE-ISH takes place in an upside-down world where gender roles are bluntly switched to resemble our American patriarchy helmed by women. The linear narrative illustrates the unraveling of a marriage, from its happy years to the inception of an affair to years after the divorce. But vaudevillian-like interludes fracture the central storyline, illuminating the female-patriarchy in which this particular...
    BRUTE-ISH takes place in an upside-down world where gender roles are bluntly switched to resemble our American patriarchy helmed by women. The linear narrative illustrates the unraveling of a marriage, from its happy years to the inception of an affair to years after the divorce. But vaudevillian-like interludes fracture the central storyline, illuminating the female-patriarchy in which this particular household lives, and in turn, forces a new perspective on our collective understanding of the classic family drama. FULL SYNOPSIS BELOW: A brief prologue depicts a day in the life of Charlotte’s pregnancy. She, an up and coming family and sex therapist, and Anthony, her husband, and stay-at-home dad to be, have recently moved into his dream house. Charlotte plans to begin seeing patients in her new at-home office in order to maximize her productivity during her maternity leave. The play then picks up almost two decades later. America has just nominated its first man for the presidency of the United States which means more to Anthony than Charlotte realizes. Their son, Charlie, now in high school, is the only boy on the all-girls football team; for this and other reasons, both Charlotte and Anthony begin to wonder if he might be gay. Charlotte is now a renowned sex therapist with a cutting-edge study utilizing life-size sex dolls to help heal sexual disorders. Ironically, Anthony has lost his sex drive and despite both their best efforts, their marriage is beginning to fall apart.  Charlotte’s new client, Steele, a history teacher at Charlie’s school, comes to her desperate to fix a long-time problem; he has never had an orgasm. Reluctantly, Steele employs Charlotte’s sex doll therapy. After only a few meaningful sessions fighting off mutual romantic feelings, both Steele and Charlotte’s relationship becomes much more than professional. They sleep together for the first time on election day when the first male candidate for president loses the race; Anthony is devastated by the results. The epilogue picks up again after another two decades have passed. Charlie, now openly gay and an accomplished political scientist, is being honored with an esteemed award in civic engagement. And the former first-male candidate for president will be the one presenting him with the honor. When Charlie tells his father of the accomplishment, Anthony, now divorced, is overcome by the news and the prospect of meeting one of his heroes. Charlotte and Steele, now happily married, look back on the beginning of their relationship with some regret, but ultimately, in a world where men are constantly deferring to women, Charlotte finds solace in the message her affair sent to her son: value your own happiness and fulfilment, without sacrifice. Interwoven throughout the narrative sections, short interludes build a hodgepodge picture of what this female-patriarchy looks like outside of this specific family. These interludes are played by a two-actor chorus that are made up to look like life-size sex dolls, similar to those in Charlotte’s study. In the narrative sections, the chorus play alternate characters— friends of the family, classmates, colleagues— still resembling life-size sex dolls. These actors are barely clothed, painted to heteronormative perfection so that an audience is consistently confronted by society’s ideal standard of the human form to further comment on how we consider sex and the expectations of gender. Each interlude places a spotlight on both the history and the present of this female-patriarchy. What does Wall Street frat-culture look like perpetuated by women? What did the suffrage movement look like helmed by men? How would we listen to Hip Hop objectifying male bodies instead of female? These moments open up the play’s imagined world in order to further push the thought-exercise at hand: what does it look like to put men in a woman’s role (and vice versa), and can this illuminate gendered micro-aggressions that modern gender politics have become numb to?
  • Kill Me Softly, Lower Merion
    All Billie wants is a meaningful, respectable job, but it’s hard to self-motivate when you’re a privileged girl from the suburbs, there are so many cool things on the Internet, and the dogs next-door won’t. stop. barking. If the pressure from her crazy, self-made mother weren’t enough, now her new Cuban-immigrant housekeeper is proving that millennials can work hard, and Billie’s [f]unemployment just got...
    All Billie wants is a meaningful, respectable job, but it’s hard to self-motivate when you’re a privileged girl from the suburbs, there are so many cool things on the Internet, and the dogs next-door won’t. stop. barking. If the pressure from her crazy, self-made mother weren’t enough, now her new Cuban-immigrant housekeeper is proving that millennials can work hard, and Billie’s [f]unemployment just got desperate. A fast-paced comedy about what people do with their free time, what sort of people have free time, and how and why each generation climbs the ladder until they’ve made it in America.
  • I Am Not My Motherland
    A hotshot Palestinian-American surgeon and her fledgling Israeli-American resident botch a life-saving operation; as the story unravels in repeated scenes, I AM NOT MY MOTHERLAND retells stories of collective grief and collective possibility.
  • The Matter of Nadiyah Hassan
    When the only black, Muslim student at an all girls Catholic school finds herself in a compromising position, the administration must decide whether she stays or goes. The question is: what criteria will determine her fate? Emily Acker's explosive new drama evaluates race, religion, education and our collective understanding of the American dream.