Calamity West

Calamity West

Calamity is a Chicago-based, award-winning playwright. Her plays have appeared at The Roundabout, The Goodman, Jackalope Theatre Company, Sideshow Theatre Company, Steep Theatre Company, and TimeLine Theatre Company. Her newest play, CHRISTMAS AT HOME, is currently in development at Sideshow. Additional plays by Calamity include: GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW! A LOVE STORY (2018); IN THE CANYON (2018); HINTER (2018);...
Calamity is a Chicago-based, award-winning playwright. Her plays have appeared at The Roundabout, The Goodman, Jackalope Theatre Company, Sideshow Theatre Company, Steep Theatre Company, and TimeLine Theatre Company. Her newest play, CHRISTMAS AT HOME, is currently in development at Sideshow. Additional plays by Calamity include: GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW! A LOVE STORY (2018); IN THE CANYON (2018); HINTER (2018); ENGINES AND INSTRUMENTS OF FLIGHT (2016); GIVE IT ALL BACK (2016); ROLLING (2016); IBSEN IS DEAD (2014); THE PEACOCK (2013); THE GACY PLAY (2012); and COMMON HATRED (2012). In 2014 Calamity was recipient of the 3Arts Award. She teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago and Webster University, is a company member at Jackalope Theatre, and an artistic associate of Sideshow Theatre Company. Calamity holds a BA in dramatic writing from Webster University and an MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts. She is represented by ICM Partners. In August 2019 her critically acclaimed play IN THE CANYON will be presented in a staged reading at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Plays

  • CHRISTMAS AT HOME
    This is the first Christmas Mark, Luke, and Darla will be celebrating together since becoming orphans. Drinks will be had, sing-alongs will be impromptu, and ghosts of mothers past may be conjured. Meanwhile, not far from their childhood home, a man faces the ultimate penalty in the American justice system. Playwright Calamity West examines the spectrum of white privilege and its beginnings in the American home.
  • GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW: A Love Story
    Chronicling the brief courtship and marriage of actor Olga Knipper and playwright Anton Chekhov, GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW is a love story for the ages. A fantasy set in the backdrop of a rising Moscow Art scene in the 20th century and the sprawling vacuum of rural Russia, this play is a love letter to the dreamers, the lovers, and the magic of life and death.
  • IN THE CANYON
    IN THE CANYON is a new American saga by Calamity West spanning from 2007 to 2067. In an exploration on the present attack on abortion, this world-premier imagines a broken society rapidly declining into a future world set in the rocks and walls of a canyon where a story of resistance is birthed.
  • HINTER
    Whispers and rumors had been swirling around the Gruber family farm long before the bodies were discovered on that cold March day. It's 1922, and a remote community in Bavaria is reeling in the aftermath of World War I: gender roles are shifting, a generation gap is emerging, and farmers are battling poverty in the shadow of a growing urban Intelligentsia. Inspired by a chilling and true unsolved crime,...
    Whispers and rumors had been swirling around the Gruber family farm long before the bodies were discovered on that cold March day. It's 1922, and a remote community in Bavaria is reeling in the aftermath of World War I: gender roles are shifting, a generation gap is emerging, and farmers are battling poverty in the shadow of a growing urban Intelligentsia. Inspired by a chilling and true unsolved crime, HINTER is a darkly comic thriller.
  • ENGINES AND INSTRUMENTS OF FLIGHT: A Fantasia by Calamity West
    Calamity West is thinking about writing a new play. A fantasia. She imagines that it's 1986, and The Playwright is writing his next play. Or, rather, struggling to write it. Or, rather, struggling to start it. After an ugly breakup with his boyfriend, The Playwright is left to face his own creative inertia as his best friends grapple with freshly-exposed feelings of romance, sexuality, and heartbreak....
    Calamity West is thinking about writing a new play. A fantasia. She imagines that it's 1986, and The Playwright is writing his next play. Or, rather, struggling to write it. Or, rather, struggling to start it. After an ugly breakup with his boyfriend, The Playwright is left to face his own creative inertia as his best friends grapple with freshly-exposed feelings of romance, sexuality, and heartbreak. Caught inside a maelstrom of secrets, lies, and ghostly premonitions, he begins to find inspiration for his new work ... but his own "gay fantasia on national themes" starts to look a little too familiar for his friends' tastes. In writing a play that might just make it big, The Playwright must untangle the conflicting responsibilities that come with being an artist and being a friend.

  • ROLLING
    When her groundbreaking story about a sexual assault is revealed to be a possible fraud, renowned journalist Valerie returns to her small-town childhood home to hide from the relentless spotlight of the media - only to find the scrutiny of home to be just as sinister. Stuck with her overbearing mother, addict sister, and an unexpected visitor whose motives are unclear, Valerie is forced to disconnect from the...
    When her groundbreaking story about a sexual assault is revealed to be a possible fraud, renowned journalist Valerie returns to her small-town childhood home to hide from the relentless spotlight of the media - only to find the scrutiny of home to be just as sinister. Stuck with her overbearing mother, addict sister, and an unexpected visitor whose motives are unclear, Valerie is forced to disconnect from the outside world. This dark comedy by Calamity shatters the boundary between public and private misogyny and asks where can you run when you're not welcome home?
  • GIVE IT ALL BACK
    In a swank French hotel room in the mid-1960s, an artist hides out from a world that's turned on him. He smokes, talks, drinks, and tries not to think about acoustic versus electric. Calamity West delivers a funny, sardonic and theatrical examination of how you hold on to your art when everyone else thinks that it's theirs.
  • THE PEACOCK
    The Peacock transports us to December 1946, where the fiction-writing workshop at an American university is in session. Consisting of young veterans of World War II, and sons of upper class - the workshop possesses but one woman: Nan. A one-legged wunderkind who is forced by her peers to re-examine her violent fiction as a result of the recent suicide of their classmate Eleanor. Based in a world where...
    The Peacock transports us to December 1946, where the fiction-writing workshop at an American university is in session. Consisting of young veterans of World War II, and sons of upper class - the workshop possesses but one woman: Nan. A one-legged wunderkind who is forced by her peers to re-examine her violent fiction as a result of the recent suicide of their classmate Eleanor. Based in a world where intellectual prowess is currency, Calamity West brings us this uniquely American exploration of violence, authorial intent, and gender.
  • THE GACY PLAY
    It’s Christmas, 1975, and the crawlspace is open in suburban Chicago. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. is a man with secrets beneath his floor, but when his wife and friends start asking questions, he withdraws into his own world and his late-night conversations with the smoking, swaggering Duke who shares his name. As ghosts begin crowding the household, the divide between dream and reality vanishes, and the smell just...
    It’s Christmas, 1975, and the crawlspace is open in suburban Chicago. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. is a man with secrets beneath his floor, but when his wife and friends start asking questions, he withdraws into his own world and his late-night conversations with the smoking, swaggering Duke who shares his name. As ghosts begin crowding the household, the divide between dream and reality vanishes, and the smell just keeps on getting worse. Calamity West delves deep into the mind of one of America’s most notorious killers and unearth an otherworldly meditation on masculinity and violence that hits all too close to home, even now.