Eliza Bent is a Brookline, Mass. born and Brooklyn-based performer and playwright. Writing credits include The Hotel Colors (Bushwick Starr, May ‘13), Toilet Time with Eliza Bent (performances at Catch!, the Great Plains Theatre Conference and “Little Theatre” at Dixon Place), and Blue Dress Reduction(undergroundzero festival at PS 122); adaptations of Hari Kunzru’s short story “Magda Mandela” with She of the Voice(undergroundzero festival at PS 122) and Daniil Kharms’ collection “Today I Wrote Nothing” with Karma Kharms (Or Yarns by Kharms) (Target Margin Lab at the Bushwick Starr); international collaborations/performances include Pen Pals Meet (Iranian Theatre Festival at the Brick, Brooklyn/Tehran) and Parallel Borgarfjordur Estri (Dionysia residency in Borgarfjörður Eystri, Iceland).
Bent is a MacDowell Colony fellow, a Bay Area Playwrights Finalist, a New Georges affiliated artist and the recipient of a U.S. Embassy grant for her work in Iceland. She is a founding company member of (and frequent performer with) the OBIE-award winning ensemble Half Straddle. Bent holds a BA in philosophy from Boston College and MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College where she studied with Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. Bent is a senior editor at American Theatre magazine and likes to speak Italian.
BONNIE'S LAST FLIGHT
BONNIE'S LAST FLIGHT is set on an airplane and takes on flight attendants, retirement, and regret. In flight beverages and snacks get served. Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is heard. Mark Twain explains over champagne.
ON A CLEAR DAY I CAN SEE TO ELBA
Poetic, personal, and chock full of puns, ON A CLEAR DAY I CAN SEE TO ELBA takes on the solipsism of love, the maddening aspects of intimacy, and the curious nature of self-hood within a relationship. Lambrusco, Queen, and geraniums populate the ongoings in Bent’s two-hander. ELBA ultimately asks: What is the nature of self-actualization within a couple?
Premiered at the New Ohio as part of Ice Factory 2016.
THE HOTEL COLORS
3F, 3M (suggested)
Welcome to the Hotel Colors, where six travelers spend one night in a rundown hostel in the outskirts of Rome. Speaking in direct translation from Italian into English the eccentric voyagers form a temporary community and unexpected friendships as they fail–and flail–in their attempts to communicate. Would Formal You like to take a coffee with me? Can I control my email now? I ask excuse of you! Love, philosophy and games of “ever, ever have I never” abound.
Premiered at the Bushwick Starr (2013).
“In using the distancing effects of language as a blunt instrument simultaneously to create strangeness and cut more deeply to the heart of human experience, Ms. Bent follows a long tradition of adventuresome playwrights…[she] captures the desultory passage of hours, taking her time to reveal the characters’ inner worlds, which are no less deeply felt for being unremarkable.” – The New York Times
“…delightful…Bent’s formal conceit—first very droll, then more and more moving—is that her characters do all this in dialogue literally translated from Italian…the choppy syntax and orphaned proverbs become figures for the dislocation and yearning of Bent’s characters—and our own. The characters have trouble communicating with each other and with us, but that only makes their flailing attempts at connection more heroic.” – Village Voice
TOILET FIRE: RECTUMS IN THE RECTORY
TOILET FIRE: Rectums in the Rectory uses the structure of ancient religious ritual to talk about matters of digestion, philosophy, and faith. It explodes with song, audience participation, and unexpected textual twists.
World premiere at Abrons Arts Center. Previous production at JACK NY (May 2015). Workshopped and developed at New Georges, Catch!, Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Dixon Place.
"(4 out of 5 stars) Both as a performance artist and a wry confessor, Bent makes an impression. She's this generation's answer to Amy Sedaris: frank, weird and immensely likable." - Time Out New York
"a cheeky and big hearted meditation on religious identity and human communion that will make you feel completely at home...a religious ceremony [that] sends up Catholic and Jewish rituals and comes off sounding nearly indistinguishable from the real things." - New York Theatre Review, November 2015
"A charmingly sincere one-woman show, Eliza Bent entertains with potty puns, delightfully wacky characters, and a celebration of having to do number 2...Her stream of consciousness potty-centric word play spin puns into art. And her dialect-driven characters are just as fun." - New York Theatre Review, May 2015
An adaptation of Chekhov's short story "The Fiance", a young woman’s engagement to a wealthy young man leaves much to be desired. Nadia’s search for her authentic self and purpose in a small town set her at odds with the community around her, and she must struggle to find her own truthful destiny. In Bent's re-imagined Chekhovian universe pot bellies, burps, and ridiculous ascots mingle with Weight Watchers Wednesdays and plates full of tacos. As casual one liners are lobbed back and forth, heart wrenching decisions about self-discovery and the nature of family resonate with Chekhov’s delicate humor and poetic meditation on existence.
Commissioned by Breaking String. Premiered at Breaking String in Austin, TX (2014). Received the 2014 Payne Award for Outstanding Theatrical Event.
ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
Marissa is stuck in a rut. She's underpaid at her not-for-profit dead-end job, Her soul is slowly being sucked away and everyone around her just might be a little bit insane. Mashing up comedy of errors, comedy of office-manners, satire and parody, Asleep at the Wheel peers into the underbelly of a theatre magazine whose staff is a mélange of Millennial ennui, entry-level excitement, mid-management apathy and executive blindness.
Premiered at Brooklyn College (April 2014).