Gordon Dahlquist has been a member of New Dramatists, and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. His works include: VENICE SAVED (PS122, New York), MESSALINA (Evidence Room, Los Angeles; SPF, New York), BABYLON IS EVERYWHERE: A COURT MASQUE [text] (CINE, Schaeberle Theatre; Theatre Magazine), DELIRIUM PALACE (Evidence Room, Los Angeles; published in Breaking Ground), THE SECRET MACHINE (Walker Space), VORTEX DU PLAISIR (Ohio Theatre), and ISLAND OF DOGS (4th Street Theatre). He has been an artist in residence at ASK Theatre Projects, Dartmouth College, Vassar College, and the Hotchkiss School. He was a guest lecturer at ECLA (Berlin), and a plenary speaker for the 2004 Ohio Shakespeare Conference. His first novel, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, was a NY Times bestseller and has been published in 30 countries. His second novel, The Dark Volume, was published in the USA in March 2009.
In life Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione met once, at a party where Hefner was unaware that Guccione would be attending. The men shook hands, Hefner excused himself. When he later invited the host to a movie night at the Mansion, he had an assistant call back to make clear the invitation didn't include Guccione. In contrast, H/G presents a never-happened, entirely theatrical conversation between the two titans of late-20th century "publishing for men" in the VIP room of a Williamsburg night spot. Despite their hostility, H and G nevertheless find common ground debating censorship, civil rights, free speech, and feminism, portraying themselves as tireless advocates of women. Deeply researched and completely invented, the play ultimately becomes a meditation on loss - what it means to outlive your achievements, the merciless nature of cultural memory, and the encroachment of time.
TOMORROW COME TODAY
Set in a not-too-distant future, technological advances have enabled the wealthy to cheat death, the members of the elite have the ability to switch from one body to a newer, healthier, sexier body at will, living for hundreds of years. But the planet’s climate clock is running out. Dahlquist’s futuristic thriller takes us on a shape-shifting ride into a world all-too familiar to our own.
Premiered at the Undermain Theatre, Dallas (September 2014). Recipient of the 2015 James Tait Black Prize for Drama.
"deep and nuanced…When the lights go down, that exquisite confusion that we began with settles then resonates far beyond today’s immediate viewing of this meditative and contemplative piece of theater into many tomorrows." - Theater Jones
"a marvel of ingenuity with a message" - Dallas Morning News
TEA PARTY twists our perceptions of time and space to explore the shady, and very present political terror hovering on the edges of America’s very near future. A story of insurrection, civil unrest, sectarian violence, divided government, and foreign interference – which just happens to be set in Colorado.
Developed at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, 2012
Read an article Gordon wrote about about TEA PARTY here.
VELAZQUEZ takes as premise a historical meeting of Art and Power, the 40 year relationship between baroque painter Diego Velázquez and Philip IV, a king doomed to preside over the decline of the Spanish empire. Using the facts of the 17th century – religious and racial intolerance, ruinous foreign wars, spiraling debt, the birth of propaganda, the chimera of real reform – Velázquez tells the story in contemporary, and highly theatrical, terms. Unfolding in three bravura acts, the play presents the struggle of both art and politics as uniquely social, where the meticulously rendered vagaries of a court (whether it’s a crowd in an artist’s studio, or a palace, or a theatre, or a boardroom) truly determine where and how the world gets made. The play’s insistence on spectacle, on density of experience, creates an exhilarating dramaturgy where the audience is seduced by the immediate details of plot and protocol while, as if glimpsed through an open door, the momentous issues of the day – of our days – pass with a tantalizing nearness. The tension between them generates a palpable sense of what is possible – what might have happened then, what could still happen now, of all we hold at stake – that underscores how Velázquez is an intimate portrait of individuals – that history, our own included, exists as a succession of human moments.
An amnesiac is held against her will, interrogated, hypnotized, abused. Her handlers, subject to doubts and distrust, operate in the shadow of an imminent, dreadful arrival. Then that person arrives, and dreadful things occur. DELIRIUM PALACE is a morality play where our sense of justice continually shifts, as each character attempts to make sense of what they’ve done, and why, and whether they can escape or be forced to answer.
Two women find themselves waiting to undergo the same obscure medical procedure at a mysterious clinic, at 3am, with neither a doctor or nurse in sight. An exuberant and dark-hearted farce about unquenchable desire in an age of loneliness and despair.
MESSALINA explores the decline and fall of an empire. With references to ancient Rome, the play presents an image of contemporary New York revealed in its most emblematic and sophisticated form – the dinner at eight.