photo credit: Lisa Jane Persky

photo credit: Lisa Jane Persky

Jason Grote is a playwright, screenwriter, and television writer based
in Los Angeles. His plays include 1001, Civilization (all you can
eat), Shostakovich, Maria/Stuart, Hamilton Township, Darwin’s
Challenge, Box Americana, and This Storm Is What We Call Progress.
His devised theatre work includes adapting the script for En Garde
Arts' Basetrack (2014 BAM Next Wave Festival and national tour, NYT
Top Ten of 2014); David Levine's HABIT (PS122, Luminato Festival, 2013
OBIE Award), and Radiohole's Tarzana (Mass Live Arts Festival).  He is
adapting 1001 into a musical, Scheherazade, with original music by
composer Marisa Michelson.  Film and television work includes "Mad
Men," "Hannibal," and "Smash," and an adaptation of John Cheever's
short story "Goodbye, My Brother" for Water's End Productions.

His work has been produced and developed at and with ACT, Baltimore
Centerstage, The Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Circle X,
The Civilians, Clubbed Thumb, Collaboraction, The Contemporary
American Theater Festival, CUNY's Prelude Festival, The Denver Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Foundry, The Gammage Stage, The Glej Theater (Slovenia), HERE, The Lark, The Lied Center, The Luminato Festival (Toronto, Canada), Mass MoCA, Montclair State University's New Works Initiative, The Museum of Modern Art, New York Theater Workshop, The O’Neill National Playwrights' Conference, Page 73, Playwrights Horizons, Portland Center Stage, PS122's/Alliance Francaise's Crossing The Line Festival, REDEYE, Salvage Vanguard, Soho Rep, Son of Semele Ensemble, The Sundance Theater Lab, Texas Performing Arts at UT, The TCG Conference, Theater @ Boston Court, TheatreWorks, Voices of Change – Festival for New American Plays (Theater Bielefeld, Germany), The Watermill Center, The Weston Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth, The York Theatre, and elsewhere. He is an alumni of New Dramatists, was the 2006 P73 Playwriting Fellow, was nominated for a 2013 Writers' Guild of America Award, and was the recipient of ACT's 2014 New Play Prize. His plays have been published by Samuel French and Playscripts Inc., and in The Back Stage Book of New American Short Plays 2005 (edited by Craig Lucas).

He teaches writing in the MFA programs at UC San Diego and Point Park University (Pittsburgh), and at Primary Stages' ESPA, and has previously taught at Rutgers University, Hollins University, The National Theater Institute, and Queens College/CUNY.

PLAYS

SHOSTAKOVICH
A biographical play about the great Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich, covering the composition of his opera Lady MacBeth of Mtensk, his 7th (Leningrad) Symphony, and his 15th (and final) Symphony.
Commissioned by ACT Seattle. 

CIVILIZATION (ALL YOU CAN EAT)
5F, 2M
Available in German.
The filming of an ironically racist TV commercial kicks off this burlesque of America’s love/hate obsession with food. A feral pig on a rampage, mass choreography, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson using hip-hop to sell snacks, auto-erotic asphyxiation, chaos theory, and the search for love, meaning and hope during the 2008 presidential election – all braided together to devastating effect.
Commissioned and developed by Clubbed Thumb at Summerworks 2011, with additional development support from Sundance Theatre Lab and The Denver Center Theater Company. Supported by the NY State Council on the Arts and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Produced at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, DC (2012). Subsequent productions at Salvage Vanguard (2012), Son of Semele (2013).

“…our culture is freefalling into the kind of chaos that leads to this tingle, this entropy that lingers far beyond rage, somewhere between sadness and tragedy. How does a play get to the heart of all this? I don’t quite know, except to say that Jason Grote’s new work does just that…it’s about as melancholy a comedy as any play by Chekhov, whose works also somehow, remarkably, captured the heart of a changing era through the minutiae of human interactions…It’s the kind of comedy during which you find yourself unable to laugh — which is entirely as it should be.” – LA Weekly

They say that the truth hurts, but it doesn’t. It feels good…Grote is an honest playwright who appears to prize truth. And it’s the truth that he tells which is the reason I like this play so much, I guess. He’s not telling us that we’re pigs. He’s telling us that pigs are what we’re trying to become. And that, brothers and sisters, is Civilization.” – DC Theatre Scene

They say that the truth hurts, but it doesn’t. It feels good…Grote is an honest playwright who appears to prize truth. And it’s the truth that he tells which is the reason I like this play so much, I guess. He’s not telling us that we’re pigs. He’s telling us that pigs are what we’re trying to become. And that, brothers and sisters, is Civilization.” – DC Theatre Scene

1001
2F, 4M
A postmodernist take on The Arabian Nights, by way of Edward Said, Azar Nafisi, Borges, Hitchcock, Calvino, and Monty Python, among many others.
Premiered at The Denver Center Theater (2007). Subsequent productions at The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Page 73, Theater @ Boston Court, Mixed Blood, Rorschach Theater, and others. Developed at the Soho Rep Writer/Director and Phase 2 Labs, The O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, and Colorado New Play Summit.
Winner of the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award for ‘Best Original Script’ in the Under 99 seat category in 2011.

MARIA/STUART
5F, 1M
An adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s MARIA STUART. Contains elements of Kaufman & Hart, and Chekhov.
Premiered at Woolly Mammoth (2008). Subsequent productions at Theater Schmeater, REDEYE, Sideshow Theatre. Developed with Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab.

“Savage, hysterical and often repulsive, MARIA/STUART takes the suburban family drama to grotesque extremes.” – Time Out Chicago

“… quirky, intriguing, funny, creepy, and affecting all at once.” – Chicago Reader

“…exists with tense believability, as though the satellite dish accidentally picked up an alien planet’s soap opera—or sitcom…as funky as it is macabre…[MARIA/STUART] has the most distinct of identities blending classic American dramas with science fiction and horror.” – New City

BOX AMERICANA 
3F, 3M

A commission from The Working Theater, this play is a surreal vision of the Wal-Martization America. Inspired by the largest class-action suit in history (a sex discrimination suit against Wal-Mart), this play follows a group of hapless American women and their encounters with the Ghost of Sam Walton (who seems to be channeling Jean Baudrillard).
Developed at The Lark, The Playwrights’ Foundation’s “In The Rough” Series, Portland Center Stage’s JAW/West Festival, and The O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference.

DARWIN’S CHALLENGE 
3F, 3M
A broad farce in which the young Charles Darwin winds up on a 21st-century reality show, said show based on a total mangling of Darwinism. A Sloan Commission from Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Developed at The Lark.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP
2F, 2M
Based on a true story, this play chronicles Grote’s own history with murder, resurrection, and environmental catastrophe in suburban New Jersey. Guest-starring the Jersey Devil, or someone a lot like him.
Premiered at Salvage Vanguard (2008). Developed in Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab and Phase 2 Labs.

THIS STORM IS WHAT WE CALL PROGRESS
3F, 2M
Grote’s Jewish identity play, about heresy, the Kabbalah, the price of power, and schizophrenia. Also featuring the historically inaccurate Yiddishized ghosts of Hannah Arendt and Walter Benjamin.
Premiered at Rorschach Theater (2008). Developed with Soho Rep, The Lark, Theater J, and Page 73.

MOLOCH AND OTHER DEMONS
Cast flexible, not too many if you use a lot of puppets.
‘MOLOCH…’ tells of an invasion of hell by heaven, which turns out pretty much like the Iraq War did. Heavily inspired by the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and Francis Bacon.
Developed with HERE, Salvage Vanguard, The Brick, and Circle X.

(ANTI)GONE
2F, 2M, 2F/M (5-22 actors possible: 2-10 females, 3-12 males)
A dark comedy. Antigone is charged with the crime of burying her brothers — even though the war left no bodies for her to bury. Haemon could take over the kingdom if he ever stops playing video games and trying to kill his father. And airline pretzels and huge corporate deals cannot satisfy Erisycthon’s hunger. In this take on Antigone, daily life becomes mythic in the urban non-landscape of malls, highways, and airports.