"Only Write the Good Parts": Playwright Lucas Hnath in Conversation with Jay Malarcher


The keynote address at the 2023 Comparative Drama Conference was a conversation with playwright Lucas Hnath. His plays, known for their striking intellectual-tennis match-style dialogue, include Death Tax (2012), A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney (2013), Red Speedo (2013), Isaac's Eye (2014), The Christians (2015), Hillary and Clinton (2016), Dana H. (2019), The Thin Place (2019), and, most famously, A Doll's House, Part 2 (2017), which received eight 2017 Tony Award nominations, including for Best Play. The recipient of awards that include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Steinberg Playwright award, the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize, and the Obie Award for Playwriting for The Christians, Hnath teaches playwriting and is Head of Performance for the Dramatic Writing program at NYU. In this wide-ranging conversation with scholar Jay Malarcher (West Virginia University), Hnath shares his processes for generating ideas, researching, and teaching playwriting; the origins of several of his plays; and his use of ellipses as percussive beats.

Hnath was introduced by Comparative Drama Conference director William C. Boles (Rollins College).

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.