When starting a play, I ask myself, "What's the last play in the world I would ever want to write?" Then I force myself to write it. I do this because I've found that the best way to make theater that unsettles and challenges my audience is to do things that make me uncomfortable. I work with stories that I find trite and embarrassing, I keep the development of the text as open and unstable as possible throughout the rehearsal and performance process, and I emphasize rather than hide problems in the text and production. I'm constantly trying to find value in unexpected places. My work is about struggling to achieve something in the face of failure and incompetence and not-knowing. The discomfort and awkwardness involved in watching this struggle reflects the truth of my experience.
-Young Jean Lee (From Young Jean Lee's Theatre Company Website)
For More on Young Jean Lee and her company, visit http://www.youngjeanlee.org/
YOUNG JEAN LEE was named by American Theatre magazine as one of the 25 artist who will shape the American theater over the next 25 years. She was born in Korea in 1974 and moved to the United States when she was two years old. She grew up in Pullman, WA and attended college at UC Berkeley, where she majored in English. Immediately after college, she entered Berkeley’s English PhD program, where she studied Shakespeare for six years before moving to New York to become a playwright in 2002. Since then, she has directed her plays at Soho Rep (LEAR; THE APPEAL), The Kitchen (THE SHIPMENT), The Public Theater (CHURCH), P.S. 122 (CHURCH; PULLMAN, WA), HERE Arts Center (SONGS OF THE DRAGONS FLYING TO HEAVEN), and the Ontological-Hysteric Theater (GROUNDWORK OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS). She has worked with Radiohole and the National Theater of the United States of America. She is a member of New Dramatists and 13P, has done residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and Hedgebrook, and has an MFA from Mac Wellman's playwriting program at Brooklyn College.
Her plays have been published in New Downtown Now (an anthology edited by Mac Wellman and herself), in Three Plays by Young Jean Lee (Samuel French), American Theatre magazine (September 2007), a collection of all of her plays entitled Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven and Other Plays (Theatre Communications Group), and THE SHIPMENT and LEAR (Theatre Communications Group, June 2010). She and her company have been the recipients of grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MAP / Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Creative Exploration Fund, Tobin Foundation for Theater Arts Grant, Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation, Arts Presenters/Ford Foundation Creative Capacity Grant, New York State Council on the Arts, the MAP Fund, the Greenwall Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Her work has been invited to tour to venues in London, Paris, Vienna, Hannover, Berlin, Zurich, Brussels, Budapest, Sydney, Bergen, Oslo, Trondheim, Rotterdam, Salamanca, Toulouse, Chicago, Chapel Hill, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Boston, Williamstown, and Minneapolis. Young Jean is currently under commission from Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is the artistic director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, was a finalist for the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for THE SHIPMENT, a recipient of the 2009 Brooklyn College Young Alumni Award, the ZKB Patronage Prize 2007 of the Zurich Theater Spektakel, a 2007 Emerging Playwright OBIE Award, a 2010 fellowship in playwriting from NYFA, and a 2010 Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Church and Pullman, Wa run Jan 27 -Mar 5 at Red Tape Theatre.