Benjamin Benne

Benjamin Benne

Benjamin Benne’s plays include: at the very bottom of a body of water, q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits, and #nowall. He’s been a recipient of the 2017-18 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and 2016-17 Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center, as well as the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award. His work has been produced by Annex Theatre (Terra Incognita,...
Benjamin Benne’s plays include: at the very bottom of a body of water, q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits, and #nowall. He’s been a recipient of the 2017-18 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and 2016-17 Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center, as well as the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award. His work has been produced by Annex Theatre (Terra Incognita, 2016), Forward Flux (las mariposas Y los muertos, 2017), and Pillsbury House Theatre (The Great Divide: Plays for a Broken Nation, 2017), as well as developed by The Playwrights Realm's Scratchpad Series, The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week, Two River Theater's Crossing Borders Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre's The Other Season, A Contemporary Theatre's Construction Zone, Teatro Milagro, Umbrella Project, Parley, The Joust Theatre Company, Upstream Artists Collective, Wild Atlas, and The Playwrights’ Center, among others. His plays have been finalists for the Princess Grace Award, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Ingram New Works Lab, Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Headwaters New Play Festival, and Austin Playhouse Festival of New American Plays, as well as runner-up for the National Latino Playwriting Award and semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship. Most recently, Benjamin's work was featured on 50 Playwrights Project's Best Unproduced Latin@/x Plays 2018 list. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. This fall, he will begin pursuing an MFA in Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.

Plays

  • at the very bottom of a body of water
    Marina is being haunted. Every night, she dreams about drowning. Every week, she makes catfish soup. But when this ritual meal is disrupted by the disappearance of her fishmonger, she can no longer swim in the routine circle of her solitary life. She embarks on a surreal quest--all the way down to the darkest place she can imagine--to confront the ghost that is holding her captive...or rather, the ghost that she's been holding captive.
  • q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits
    What's a boy to do when his favorite fruit is banana in a world that says he's gotta love mangoes? "q u e r e n c i a" (a Spanish word having to do with the longing to find or return to a place that feels like home) is a magical coming-of-age story about a young boy named Milo’s search for belonging as he grapples with friends, family, and his sexual identity, guided by a mysterious character called La Bruja.
  • #nowall
    Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it’s December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But since the election, Alma has been having haunting nightmares about elephants and spider webs. And on the eve before Angel’s test, Trump’s...
    Nearly 18 years ago, Alma crossed the border between Mexico and the United States pregnant with a child and great dreams for the life ahead of them. Now it’s December 2, 2016, Alma has been studying for her citizenship test while her daughter, Angel, studies for her SATs. But since the election, Alma has been having haunting nightmares about elephants and spider webs. And on the eve before Angel’s test, Trump’s voice is blaring from the television when Alma comes home early to discover that Angel isn’t at home studying.

Recommended by Benjamin Benne

  • good friday
    17 Jan. 2018
    I'm a huge fan of Kristiana's poetic and unrelenting voice. Also, as a reader, I appreciate how she embraces the plasticity of the page in a way that is entirely her own. This play in particular gripped me from the start and I couldn't look away. The stakes start high and keep escalating through reveals and reversals that are sure to keep anyone on their toes. It unfolds in a frenetic yet organic way that makes it impossible to know what will happen next.
  • No More Sad Things
    4 Jan. 2018
    A play full of remarkable images and gorgeous language. The device of the GUIDEBOOK as a narrator allows this piece to move fluidly in unexpected directions; the play's structure is one of the most innovative and exciting that I've encountered. It's also one of those rare plays that is so masterfully paced that it pulled me right through every twist and turn from beginning to end without a single lull in its action. Also, the Black Rock image reversal in the latter half of the play is pure genius.
  • Cost of Living
    3 Jan. 2018
    I don't say this lightly: this is one of the most stunning plays I've read. It's characters and situations are so clear and seemingly simple - but are revealed to have true emotional depth and complexity. There's a striking sensitivity and sensuality to the writing. I particularly love the scenes where Jess is shaving John and Eddie is "playing piano" on Ani. Also, that bathtub scene between Eddie and Ani made me audibly gasp; it's one of the most brilliant scenes I've encountered...like, ever. It's a breathtaking work that left me thinking about it for days after.
  • "Daddy"
    15 Apr. 2017
    This play is seriously next level. Set infinity poolside, Harris uses it as a symbol of decadence and desire but then morphs it into a place of baptism and exorcism. Over the course of the play, we track Franklin's descent to an infantile state as he goes from doing blow to sucking on a Blow Pop to the comfort of his thumb (all with effective innuendo at play, as well). But the play dives even deeper into questions of identity: racial, sexual, familial. It's a daring work of rare beauty. Few plays have stayed with me like this one has.