Bob Bartlett

Bob Bartlett

Bob Bartlett is a Washington, DC based dramatist whose plays include The Orbit of Mercury, Swimming with Whales, happiness (and other reasons to die), Bareback Ink, The Accident Bear, Falwell, Kuchu Uganda, Greetings from Youngstown, and Kansas. His work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Lark New Play Development Center, Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage...
Bob Bartlett is a Washington, DC based dramatist whose plays include The Orbit of Mercury, Swimming with Whales, happiness (and other reasons to die), Bareback Ink, The Accident Bear, Falwell, Kuchu Uganda, Greetings from Youngstown, and Kansas. His work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Lark New Play Development Center, Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival, Theater Alliance, Source Festival, First Draft, Active Cultures, Rorschach Theatre, Iron Crow Theatre Company, The DC Queer Theatre Festival, the Edinburgh and Capital Fringe Festivals, and The Welders. Swimming with Whales was one of the recipients of ACTF’s Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting and David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award and was a finalist for the Kendeda Playwriting Competition at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater. He is a two-time recipient of the Individual Artists Award in Playwriting from the Maryland State Arts Council, an affiliated artist with the National New Play Network, a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, and a founding member of The Welders. Bartlett coordinates the theatre program at Bowie State University, where he teaches playwriting, directing, and devising, and lives in historic Davidsonville, Maryland in a 135-year-old farmhouse. He earned his MFA in Playwriting at Catholic University of America.

Plays

  • Bareback Ink
    "A raging narcissist, drunk on authority, pulls the supernatural strings in Bob Bartlett’s unapologetically queer neo-noir about desire, possession, and the perversion of power." The Rape and Abduction of Ganymede - in all its celebrated and problematic forms - has been the subject of artists, writers, and thinkers since antiquity, and remains emblematic of the treatment of generations of men and...
    "A raging narcissist, drunk on authority, pulls the supernatural strings in Bob Bartlett’s unapologetically queer neo-noir about desire, possession, and the perversion of power." The Rape and Abduction of Ganymede - in all its celebrated and problematic forms - has been the subject of artists, writers, and thinkers since antiquity, and remains emblematic of the treatment of generations of men and boys at the hands of powerful and sometimes corrupt systems. Commanded by a mysterious patron, a young man enters a noirish, purgatory-like tattoo shop where an isolated and withdrawn artist inks the boy’s back over the course of several months. Both men are prisoners, one stolen as a boy and ascended to the heavens, the other cast out and fallen to earth. In this erotic tale of desire and possession, Bartlett’s modern-day Ganymede - rejected by family, community, and culture - subverts our oldest gay myth by fighting back.
  • The Orbit of Mercury
    Mercury's future is bright. He's the star player on his prep school basketball team and is being recruited by the best colleges in the country as much for his ball handling skills and blazing speed as for his talent in the sciences and passion for astronomy. But lately Mercury's orbit is behaving oddly, and sometimes it even feels as if he's moving backwards. He's come home to a...
    Mercury's future is bright. He's the star player on his prep school basketball team and is being recruited by the best colleges in the country as much for his ball handling skills and blazing speed as for his talent in the sciences and passion for astronomy. But lately Mercury's orbit is behaving oddly, and sometimes it even feels as if he's moving backwards. He's come home to a place he doesn't remember, a girl who remembers everything about his past that he's forgotten, and a changing relationship with the man who raised him, a retired cop who does everything he can to help a forgotten Baltimore neighborhood, even buying and restoring an historic corner diner. And then he dies. And sees the universe for what it is.
  • The Fourth of April
    In early April of 1968, two hundred and twenty seven Bowie State College undergraduates travel by bus to the State House in Annapolis, Maryland to protest deplorable conditions on campus and the lack of support from state government. Written to commemorate Bowie State University's Sesquicentennial.
  • happiness (and other reasons to die)
    Ella wrecks a perfectly good suicide pact by jumping the gun, leaving her three pact-mates to deal with a lifetime of hoarded belongings, Bob Dylan memorabilia, and an immortal dog. An unlikely comedy about living, dying, and trying to find really good reasons for both. "Planning a decent demise turns out to be more than a little tricky in “happiness (and other reasons to die),” a suspenseful, dark and...
    Ella wrecks a perfectly good suicide pact by jumping the gun, leaving her three pact-mates to deal with a lifetime of hoarded belongings, Bob Dylan memorabilia, and an immortal dog. An unlikely comedy about living, dying, and trying to find really good reasons for both. "Planning a decent demise turns out to be more than a little tricky in “happiness (and other reasons to die),” a suspenseful, dark and funny new play by local playwright Bob Bartlett. Now on view in a winningly acted production from the Welders, a collective of D.C.-based playwrights, “happiness” turns what sounds like a gimmicky premise into an absorbing chronicle of unpredictable human behavior." Celia Wren, The Washington Post
  • Falwell
    It’s been over eight years since Harlan has left his tiny apartment. But when his hateful dog, Falwell, an obese black labrador retriever, unexpectedly expires and twenty-something newlywed interns Stephen and Sarah move in next door, the outside world like never before beckons – and Harlan hears.
  • Kansas
    An army vet and his thirteen-year-old daughter set out on a drive from our nation’s capital to Wichita to murder an abortionist in this piercing snapshot of radicalized America.
  • The Accident Bear
    Bear has accidents. One a month, every month, without fail. Fender benders, broken ankles, a busted this or that - abrasions, lacerations, punctures, a broken heart. Try as he might, he can’t shake the accident bug until Chance, an unemployed paramedic living in her 1978 Volkswagen Beetle, wanders into his lonely world.
  • Kuchu Uganda
    Set in the spring of 2009 and shortly before Uganda’s legislature passed a bill making homosexuality punishable by death, the violence of homophobia destroys two households – one in Kampala and the other in an average American city.
  • Swimming with Whales
    While visiting his family's secluded cottage on the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina, Owen, a typically urban fifteen-year-old boy, and his fisherman father clash until an unlikely and healing communion with an injured whale awakens in Owen a forgotten boyhood and connection with the sea.