Tanya O'Debra

Tanya O'Debra

Tanya O'Debra is a Brooklyn-based Boston-born playwright and performer. She is a graduate of Smith College where she won The Denis Johnston Playwriting Award, The Elizabeth Wanning Harries Prize, and The Elizabeth Drew Prize. Her play Shut UP, Emily Dickinson won the Jill Cummins MacLean Prize, the Ada Comstock Magic Grant for $25,000, and was presented by the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA. Co-...
Tanya O'Debra is a Brooklyn-based Boston-born playwright and performer. She is a graduate of Smith College where she won The Denis Johnston Playwriting Award, The Elizabeth Wanning Harries Prize, and The Elizabeth Drew Prize. Her play Shut UP, Emily Dickinson won the Jill Cummins MacLean Prize, the Ada Comstock Magic Grant for $25,000, and was presented by the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA. Co-written with Diane O'Debra, The Secrets of Avondale Falls was presented by the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Published by Original Works, her play Radio Star has been produced all over the world, receiving numerous awards and accolades. Other theater credits include Patrice O’Debra in Straight Up Vampire (Joe’s Pub), The Evil Queen in Snow White (The New Acting Company). Amanda McCloud in The Ultimate Stimulus (Dixon Place), as well as being one half of the long-time comedic sister duo, The O'Debra Twins.

Plays

  • Apartment Play #2: You will Receive a Phone Call
    Here is the second installment of the Apartment Plays.

    If you miss live theater as much as I do, I have a little gift for you. It’s not a Zoom, it’s not on YouTube, it’s not livestreamed, or even deadstreamed. It’s live from your own home. Friends, I give you the simulated neighbor fight. Neighbor fights are my number one all-time favorite genre of performance, and they are a salve in this...
    Here is the second installment of the Apartment Plays.

    If you miss live theater as much as I do, I have a little gift for you. It’s not a Zoom, it’s not on YouTube, it’s not livestreamed, or even deadstreamed. It’s live from your own home. Friends, I give you the simulated neighbor fight. Neighbor fights are my number one all-time favorite genre of performance, and they are a salve in this wretched time. I'm working on a series of 10-minute neighbor fight plays for you to perform in your own humble abodes. They are nothing but salacious trash, and I hope you have a ball screaming them through the walls, out the windows, and into the air shafts.

    Apartment Play #2: You Will Receive a Phone Call

    Father has a secret. In fact, he has a whole secret family. Can his child ever forgive this duplicitous daddy? Perform this as a monologue or as a scene over the phone.
  • Apartment Play #1: Who the Fuck is Parker?
    What is theater in the age of COVID-19? Is it foolish to try to cater to this moment? Is it foolish not to? As in any time, artists should only make what they feel is necessary and what they are interested in making – not what other people or institutions think they should make. As for me, serious times call for silly measures, and necessity is the fairy godmother of invention. So, how can I make theater in a...
    What is theater in the age of COVID-19? Is it foolish to try to cater to this moment? Is it foolish not to? As in any time, artists should only make what they feel is necessary and what they are interested in making – not what other people or institutions think they should make. As for me, serious times call for silly measures, and necessity is the fairy godmother of invention. So, how can I make theater in a world where no one is allowed to gather? Then I remembered the absolute best, most dramatic performance genre of all time: the neighbor fight. And just like that, the Apartment Plays were born.

    Friends, I wrote these short plays, these neighbor fights, for you to perform in your homes for an audience of your unsuspecting neighbors. They should not be streamed on the internet. Your audience should not know a play will be happening. These plays rely on the energy of their live-ness. For ten blessed minutes, your neighbors’ cups will runneth over with enough juice to drink for a lifetime.

    I'll continue to update this page as I write new plays. I'm hoping to come up with stories for different cast sizes to suit a variety of households. Be patient as I try to fight the brain fog that is slowing me down during this strange period. These plays are free to read and to perform, so please enjoy them.

    Apartment Play #1: Who the Fuck is Parker?
    Spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week with your partner has a way of rolling up the rugs on a relationship. A slip with a cell phone exposes an emotional affair. This little dust-up magnifies problems the couple had thought were long since settled. Will their relationship survive this pause?
  • Them What Brung You
    Set in West Virginia, Them What Brung You is a full-length southern gothic horror story. Ruby and Alex are on their way to the hospital when their car breaks down, so Ruby gives birth in a nearby pond. When the baby is not what they expected, they must deal with the consequences of this unusual child as well as the problems that arise when they finally get to the hospital. Ruby is faced with parallel realities...
    Set in West Virginia, Them What Brung You is a full-length southern gothic horror story. Ruby and Alex are on their way to the hospital when their car breaks down, so Ruby gives birth in a nearby pond. When the baby is not what they expected, they must deal with the consequences of this unusual child as well as the problems that arise when they finally get to the hospital. Ruby is faced with parallel realities: a nightmare scenario too terrible to be real, or the perfectly reasonable explanation.
  • Whatever Happened to Baby Jessica
    Baby Jessica, now all grown up, grapples with the national attention her personal tragedy garnered.
  • Cogito Ergo Sum Bullshit
    A brief and bitchy hate letter to René Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.
  • Shut UP, Emily Dickinson
    Emily Dickinson: poet, recluse, a**hole. Loosely based on her Master Letters, Shut UP, Emily Dickinson! is a pseudo-historical, quasi-biographical, hysterically existential, sadomasochistic psycho-romance about America's most brilliant and annoying poetess. Holed up for all eternity in the bedroom of our minds, the “woman in white” stretches into a projection screen for truths, half-truths, truthiness, and...
    Emily Dickinson: poet, recluse, a**hole. Loosely based on her Master Letters, Shut UP, Emily Dickinson! is a pseudo-historical, quasi-biographical, hysterically existential, sadomasochistic psycho-romance about America's most brilliant and annoying poetess. Holed up for all eternity in the bedroom of our minds, the “woman in white” stretches into a projection screen for truths, half-truths, truthiness, and truth-less-ness. She’s whatever you want her to be and nothing you imagined. Emily Dickinson is the definition of a difficult woman.