Kristen Palmer

Kristen Palmer

Kristen Palmer’s plays include ONCE UPON A BRIDE THERE WAS A FOREST, THINGS YOU CAN DO, LOCAL STORY, DEPARTURES and ALL THE GIRLS LOVE BOBBY KENNEDY. Her plays have been produced and/or developed by Live Girls! Theater, FLUX Theater Ensemble, Women’s Project, New Georges, Circle X, Soho Rep, Capital Rep, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, The Brick, and others. Awards include a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights...
Kristen Palmer’s plays include ONCE UPON A BRIDE THERE WAS A FOREST, THINGS YOU CAN DO, LOCAL STORY, DEPARTURES and ALL THE GIRLS LOVE BOBBY KENNEDY. Her plays have been produced and/or developed by Live Girls! Theater, FLUX Theater Ensemble, Women’s Project, New Georges, Circle X, Soho Rep, Capital Rep, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, The Brick, and others. Awards include a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights Center, a CT State Artist Award, and the Goldberg and Zarkower Prizes at Hunter College. She is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College, an MA from the Gallatin School at NYU and a BA from Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds. kristenpalmerplaywright.com

Plays

  • Things You Can Do
    The over-achieving daughter, Stevie, returns home and falls through the ice. Her PhD has stalled as she witnesses its subject, the Cryosphere, disappear due to our warming climate. Coming home to the suburbs of Washington DC seeking a respite, she finds instead her mother and younger sister frozen in their own isolation. Overwhelmed by her sense of impotence to change anything globally Stevie's...
    The over-achieving daughter, Stevie, returns home and falls through the ice. Her PhD has stalled as she witnesses its subject, the Cryosphere, disappear due to our warming climate. Coming home to the suburbs of Washington DC seeking a respite, she finds instead her mother and younger sister frozen in their own isolation. Overwhelmed by her sense of impotence to change anything globally Stevie's attempts to impact her world locally seem equally unmanageable - until actions are taken - a kiss, a swim, a gun-shot - a connection.
  • Once Upon A Bride There Was A Forest
    After Warren proposes to Josie, she decides she must make one last attempt to find her long-lost father before she walks down the aisle. What she finds instead is a dangerous, seductive world of secrets and magic from which she may not want to escape. Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest is a lyrical, haunting, and surprisingly funny fairy tale about children and parents, forgetting and remembering, and the...
    After Warren proposes to Josie, she decides she must make one last attempt to find her long-lost father before she walks down the aisle. What she finds instead is a dangerous, seductive world of secrets and magic from which she may not want to escape. Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest is a lyrical, haunting, and surprisingly funny fairy tale about children and parents, forgetting and remembering, and the power of a good story to capture us or set us free.

    "Playwright Kristen Palmer crafts a contemporary fairytale that feels timeless. She gives us a classic hero’s journey and a variation on princess tales while subtly subverting and exploring classic tropes of the genre. Evil queens, magic spells, true love quests: Palmer touches on all these without patting herself on the back or spelling things out for the audience. She gives Once Upon A Bride... a dream-like feeling that weaves its own lyrical spell." Amanda LaPergola, Theatre is Easy
  • Midsouthern Night's Dream
    In the woods the most unlikely of worlds collide - Christian Youth, Radical Queer Faeries, Burners and Artists - Jack shall have Jill and naught shall go ill.

    Come. Meet by moonlight.
  • Mysteries of the Unknown (an analog comedy)
    In the year 2000, in New York City, Suze and Charlie answer phones at the TimeLife Books office. They fill orders for CD sets, Groovy Sounds of the 70s, Moody by Moonlight and other compilations. They process requests for books of general knowledge, including Folklore in America, The Sciences, History. They are being phased out, these easy to read summaries of the world’s information, and a new digital age...
    In the year 2000, in New York City, Suze and Charlie answer phones at the TimeLife Books office. They fill orders for CD sets, Groovy Sounds of the 70s, Moody by Moonlight and other compilations. They process requests for books of general knowledge, including Folklore in America, The Sciences, History. They are being phased out, these easy to read summaries of the world’s information, and a new digital age is on the horizon.

    All the rules have changed and yet, the cute white guy always ends up winning.

    A comedy about privilege in a world before smart phones.
  • The Heart In Your Chest
    The play opens in the parking lot of a disintegrating motel on the outskirt of the district. A group of agents put a plan in motion to locate Milla, a daughter of a dissident, reported to be dead. In one of the rooms she is being secretly kept by Clyde, one of the agents now charged with finding her. She is often addled from drug use, but is kindling the will to ask the questions no one is asking - why, who...
    The play opens in the parking lot of a disintegrating motel on the outskirt of the district. A group of agents put a plan in motion to locate Milla, a daughter of a dissident, reported to be dead. In one of the rooms she is being secretly kept by Clyde, one of the agents now charged with finding her. She is often addled from drug use, but is kindling the will to ask the questions no one is asking - why, who's orders, and where else could they go? The play pits coarse dialogue, familiar archetypes, and slapstick violence against heightened language and moments of serenity to ask serious questions about violence, individual agency and belief.
  • Local Story
    D’lady returns home after years of wandering and expects everyone to greet her with open arms, instead her arrival is met with closed doors and accusations and she must figure out where she fits in the new landscape.

    "Hometown is a metaphor for the relationships that have made us who we are. Palmer's exploration of her characters' reasons for clinging to one another is like a...
    D’lady returns home after years of wandering and expects everyone to greet her with open arms, instead her arrival is met with closed doors and accusations and she must figure out where she fits in the new landscape.

    "Hometown is a metaphor for the relationships that have made us who we are. Palmer's exploration of her characters' reasons for clinging to one another is like a treasure map, giving up one clue at a time and concealing the reward till near the end. This map is well worth following, for it illuminates the mysteries of ordinary life and our hopes for happiness." Kat Chamberlain, ITN Review
  • Departures
    For Cara and Andrew it is the end of summer, the end of college, and the beginning of everything else but first they must say goodbye.


    "It's the oldest story in the world—boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl—but it feels new again every time it happens to you. And as an audience member at Kristen Palmer's play Departures, you feel like it's happening to you...
    For Cara and Andrew it is the end of summer, the end of college, and the beginning of everything else but first they must say goodbye.


    "It's the oldest story in the world—boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl—but it feels new again every time it happens to you. And as an audience member at Kristen Palmer's play Departures, you feel like it's happening to you all over again, because director Kyle Ancowitz's visceral production puts the audience in such intimate contact with the stage that you're (literally) trapped in the bedroom with a couple as they work out their relationship. The production makes physical the play's emotional subtext, its structural metaphors, in rich and powerful ways." - Loren Noveck, nytheater.com

    "These two may speak less poetically than those star-crossed lovers, but there's something more immediate in their contemporarily beautiful words. By staying simple and true, with a fine cast and focused direction, Departures is a quiet marvel on its own; not meant to be compared with Shakespeare, but of fine caliber all the same." Aaron Riccio, Theater Talk's New Theater Corps
  • PERSEPHONE (a new myth for a hotter world)
    Persephone leans into a cave and is kidnapped by Hades. Maybe though she was seduced, she may have been ready to grow up, to run off with a lover. Demeter was so miserable that she stopped nourishing the earth, crops failed and people starved. Demeter pleads for the return of her daughter, Zeus agrees, but she’s already eaten food from the underworld. Zeus decrees her time will be spent. Six months above, six...
    Persephone leans into a cave and is kidnapped by Hades. Maybe though she was seduced, she may have been ready to grow up, to run off with a lover. Demeter was so miserable that she stopped nourishing the earth, crops failed and people starved. Demeter pleads for the return of her daughter, Zeus agrees, but she’s already eaten food from the underworld. Zeus decrees her time will be spent. Six months above, six months below, and the Earth finds a balance of the seasons.

    Demeter, not satisfied with a mere half a year, pursues Hades. She instigates her followers to mine the earth of its riches, its minerals and its fuel. The more they release, the more her power grows, the longer she can keep Persephone with her - and the longer summer reigns. Persephone, after centuries, was happy with her life, half the year with her doting husband, half with her mother. She pleads with her mother to relax - to let her go, she has a family down there with Hades. Demeter refuses. She spurs on developments to extract whatever can be extracted from the depths of the earth to wring the life from the rival for her daughter’s love. She succeeds. Oil, gas, fracking, her efforts destroy Hades and return Persephone to her mother. Demeter will keep the earth warm all year round - she will defy the gods and she will have her daughter with her forever.

    A new myth for a hotter world.
  • All The Girls Love Bobby Kennedy
    In the Spring of 1968 on a rural college campus in the mid-west, Gracie dreams of Bobby Kennedy and he dreams back at her. A play that looks at a moment that shook america through the eyes of one young woman and wonders how her choices ripple out to the present day.
  • Best Intentions
    Meg's yoga studio is barely getting by, though she's committed to the local neighborhood and to the community she's gathered at her studio. Her partner, Frida wants to add Spin and maybe some of that car-pulling or whatever they do at the garage down the road. Meg creates a position for Amira, a young Syrian refugee, at the studio.

    The convergence of worlds; the attempt to...
    Meg's yoga studio is barely getting by, though she's committed to the local neighborhood and to the community she's gathered at her studio. Her partner, Frida wants to add Spin and maybe some of that car-pulling or whatever they do at the garage down the road. Meg creates a position for Amira, a young Syrian refugee, at the studio.

    The convergence of worlds; the attempt to create a safe space; the dream of community and fulfilling lives and the limits of good intentions.
  • westward mutations
    A man receives a terminal diagnosis. The Doctor sends him to Spence. Spence is a specialist, not in the direct treatment of the disease, but in the oblique caring for the person. The man feels that he knows when the disease began, when the cells turned against him and he starts a journey west to try to correct his mistake.

    Along the way he chokes on a sandwich.

    He is saved by...
    A man receives a terminal diagnosis. The Doctor sends him to Spence. Spence is a specialist, not in the direct treatment of the disease, but in the oblique caring for the person. The man feels that he knows when the disease began, when the cells turned against him and he starts a journey west to try to correct his mistake.

    Along the way he chokes on a sandwich.

    He is saved by Bickie and Jess, teenagers running from a very bad thing. They decide to travel together.

    A play about who saves who and how.

    About the unrelenting movement of lives and the death that ends it.

    About going west by any means necessary.
  • After Image
    A visual artist grieves her deceased mother by drinking with her family, but the life she’s avoiding follows her home.

    Mai, a talented grad student, drops out of school suddenly after her mother’s death. She leaves behind a fellowship, all her paintings and her long-term boyfriend, Fischer. Fischer seeks her out at her family’s home to find them drinking their sorrows away and Mai avoiding him...
    A visual artist grieves her deceased mother by drinking with her family, but the life she’s avoiding follows her home.

    Mai, a talented grad student, drops out of school suddenly after her mother’s death. She leaves behind a fellowship, all her paintings and her long-term boyfriend, Fischer. Fischer seeks her out at her family’s home to find them drinking their sorrows away and Mai avoiding him and everything else from her former life.

    The play develops through his visit, the family is fraying at the seams. Stressed by the loss of their mother who kept everyone in line and the financial pressures of her medical bills that Bill, Mai’s father, is refusing to pay on principle. This is putting their home at risk and driving a wedge between Mai and her sister Shelly, long jealous of her artist sisters status as the talented one. Bill’s drinking increases and Mai matches him as Fischer tries to move ahead with his life and Shelly fails to replace her mother as the voice of reason.

    Bill’s drinking leads to a tragic accident which causes him to lose his home and forces a re-orientation of everyone in the family.
  • The Stray Dog
    To be performed in a small space, ideally a basement, a backroom. Someplace safe. THE STRAY DOG takes its inspiration from the St. Petersburg cabaret of the same name where Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandlestam, Mayakovsky and others read their poetry in the early 1900s. This play takes place in the present, amidst the ceremonies of a group devoted to the adoration of these poets on a night when their priestess is...
    To be performed in a small space, ideally a basement, a backroom. Someplace safe. THE STRAY DOG takes its inspiration from the St. Petersburg cabaret of the same name where Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandlestam, Mayakovsky and others read their poetry in the early 1900s. This play takes place in the present, amidst the ceremonies of a group devoted to the adoration of these poets on a night when their priestess is teetering on the brink. A theatrical event balanced between the real and the imagined about what makes the heart sing - and what makes that stop.
  • Sacrifice
    Set in rural Iowa, Sacrifice is a play about the broken heart of the mid-west. About a young girl named Emmie who is looking at the state of things and figuring out what must be done. About a corporate mentor with other motives. About how to get a mother back. About what needs to be sacrificed.
  • Dumb Bones
    Beth and Daniel used to be in love, young artists ready to take on the world. And then, he became successful and she got married and had a son.

    Now he's calling her at night and she's sneaking to the city for a visit, creating a dream of an affair - intoxicating and hang-over inducing.

    What love remains when there is nowhere left to go?