Tyler Rivenbark

Tyler Rivenbark

Born and raised in North Carolina, Tyler Rivenbark received his MFA in Playwriting from the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY in 2010. Select plays include Soldier/Woman (New Ohio, NYC), hand(s) (Bushwick Starr, Puppets & Poets Festival, Brooklyn, 2014) This Woman Must Be My Wife (Gantry Plaza, Long Island City, 2014), Monosyllabic (Mellow Pages, Brooklyn, 2013...
Born and raised in North Carolina, Tyler Rivenbark received his MFA in Playwriting from the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY in 2010. Select plays include Soldier/Woman (New Ohio, NYC), hand(s) (Bushwick Starr, Puppets & Poets Festival, Brooklyn, 2014) This Woman Must Be My Wife (Gantry Plaza, Long Island City, 2014), Monosyllabic (Mellow Pages, Brooklyn, 2013), Inside the Rain (Dixon Place, NYC, 2012), Silence (Dixon Place, NYC; Artists’ Bloc, Washington, DC, 2011). He has co-curated and co-created such site-specific events as The Wild Papers (Flushing, 2015) and Unstaged (LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, 2014). He has been a finalist for Playwrights Realm fellowship and Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Festival. In 2012 he was commissioned by the Poetry Society of America to adapt Rita Dove’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of poems, Thomas and Beulah, for the stage. He was a participant in the 2012 and 2014 instillation Write Out Front: A Playwright Happening. In 2009 he was a writer-in-residence at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, a residency he now oversees. He is a member of the Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Writer’s Lab and the Dramatists Guild. He is the co-founder of The Hammer & Pick Collective and the Queens Writers’ Collective.

Plays

  • By the Grace of Fireflies
    After the suicide of her ex, Michelle notices the arrival of fireflies at her home. As she reconciles her ex's death, and the raising of their child, Michelle becomes consumed by the fireflies and the potential warning they may bring. (5th play of cycle.)
  • Jesus Plays Basketball on a Hot Night in Iraq
    Mom and Dad recently buried their son, Stephen, after he committed suicide in his childhood home shortly after his return home from Iraq.

    With their son’s death still fresh they attempt to move on: Dad reads pamphlets and works on a broken lawnmower, Mom suggests a trip to Dollywood. They both greet a never-ending line of people who wish to mourn with them – or in spite of them.

    ...
    Mom and Dad recently buried their son, Stephen, after he committed suicide in his childhood home shortly after his return home from Iraq.

    With their son’s death still fresh they attempt to move on: Dad reads pamphlets and works on a broken lawnmower, Mom suggests a trip to Dollywood. They both greet a never-ending line of people who wish to mourn with them – or in spite of them.

    They ignore and dwell on and dance around the issues, fighting to stay connected.

    The further they get away from their son’s death – and at times each other - the closer they get to selling their home and setting out for Dollywood, simultaneously reliving the last trip with their son and forging the first trip on their own.

    Whether they ever make it to Dollywood, or whether Dollywood holds any salvation is unclear.

    (Fourth play of cycle.)
  • The Hydra: a play with puppets
    The Hydra utilizes an amalgamation of Greek and American folk tales to tell the third and final episode of Private First Class Stephen Ajax's (after)life. Ajax has awoken in a netherworld inhabited by Gods, Goddesses, and puppets after committing suicide in his childhood bedroom. Forced by The Hydra, Ajax is forced to face the aftermath of his former life and determine whether he will do what it takes to...
    The Hydra utilizes an amalgamation of Greek and American folk tales to tell the third and final episode of Private First Class Stephen Ajax's (after)life. Ajax has awoken in a netherworld inhabited by Gods, Goddesses, and puppets after committing suicide in his childhood bedroom. Forced by The Hydra, Ajax is forced to face the aftermath of his former life and determine whether he will do what it takes to return to that life and his child or sink deeper into his current hellscape. (Third play of cycle.)
  • The Ostrich
    Private First Class Stephen Ajax has recently returned home from Iraq a hero. Though he has survived active duty, and finds himself in the comfort of his childhood home, his existence has become fragmented. Ajax finds himself straddling the line between war and home, between dream and reality. (Second play of cycle.)
  • The Suck
    The Suck finds Stephen Ajax as a newly enlisted Marine. With the news that his girlfriend is pregnant he prepares for his first tour of duty in Iraq. After having freshly arrived in Iraq, Ajax receives news that his son has been born. He celebrates the news with his new brothers – all fears momentarily vanquished. But soon his fears converge and splinter after a harrowing encounter that sends him into a fugue...
    The Suck finds Stephen Ajax as a newly enlisted Marine. With the news that his girlfriend is pregnant he prepares for his first tour of duty in Iraq. After having freshly arrived in Iraq, Ajax receives news that his son has been born. He celebrates the news with his new brothers – all fears momentarily vanquished. But soon his fears converge and splinter after a harrowing encounter that sends him into a fugue state and redefines who he is. The first chronologically in the Iraq War trilogy, though the last to be written. (First play of cycle.)
  • Horn
    In the 1950s Louis Armstrong is one of the most famous musicians in the world. Everyone hangs on his every word and he has everything he could ever want. Except no one wants to hear him speak about Civil Rights, other than his friend Sammy, and he doesn’t have the child he’s always longed for. But in the blink of an eye - with the integration of schools in Arkansas and the prospect that he might actually become...
    In the 1950s Louis Armstrong is one of the most famous musicians in the world. Everyone hangs on his every word and he has everything he could ever want. Except no one wants to hear him speak about Civil Rights, other than his friend Sammy, and he doesn’t have the child he’s always longed for. But in the blink of an eye - with the integration of schools in Arkansas and the prospect that he might actually become a father - his life is upended.