top of page


I can’t say enough about what a wonderful opportunity it was to have my new play, "Wheresoever They Lie," presented recently by the Tent Theater at HERE Arts Center. To have my work as an “Elder” playwright continue to be encouraged, championed even, by fellow artists who know. With a stellar director and actors and fine administrative support, I felt so visible still, so able to continue not only to shape dramatic stories but also to even more importantly see them three-dimensionally. For theater, of course, is “the seeing space” and we playwrights, unlike other writers, need such space in order to be able to complete our work, need those other theater artists, need the rhythms, reactions, interactions of the audience. It’s all a crucial, vital extension of who we are, how we see, how we’re able to consistently, insistently “be.” And we can’t, we shouldn’t, we must not go away quietly under some imagined, tacit end point of a writer’s creative life. We see and see, we write and write as long as we can. And I am so grateful that the Tent Theater is here to encourage us in/on that journey. What a vital company it is!




Recently I received a 2022 Legacy Award from the Legacy Playwright’s Initiative of the Dramatists Guild Foundation to honor and recognize established American Playwrights for their sustained influence on the American theater in hopes of bringing renewed attention to their body of work. The award was appropriately announced at a reading of a new play sponsored by the newly formed TENT Theater whose mission is likewise support and advocacy for American Playwrights of a certain generation, playwrights over the age of 60, who despite our travails, still live as working artists in our maturity, still creating new work. In response to being a recipient of the Award I wrote “For being recognized for one’s full body of work, to be acknowledged and even memorialized for one’s contribution to the theatre, to be encouraged in your twilight, in your third act and supported just when one may be on the cusp of a creative expansion, are the rarest of gifts. As a young man I marveled that Goethe wrote Faust when he was 80. Now, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.” As surprised as I was to receive the Award, I was even more surprised that I had aged enough to receive it. Old age had sneaked up on me. I had come to the age where the inevitable had become inevitable, when you can look back and can see how life has played out, and when you look around you see who’s left. Consequently, being a story-teller, you perceive that out of all of that there are still many more stories to tell. As Robert Frost writes, “But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.” With old age comes responsibility. In the words of the African proverb, “When an old man dies, a library burns.” Write on brothers and sisters, write on. —Carlyle Brown




It’s a shock to be this old. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 38 or 48 or 28, except that I know more. And I’m more at peace. I know who I am. I actually adore being an elder, a mentor, and a grandmother. But I hate having to navigate a society with such disdain for women of a certain age. I wasn’t prepared for fewer job offers. I wasn’t prepared for the eye rolling or the ‘OK, Boomer’ attitudes, and I say this as one of the lucky ones because in fact, my calendar is filled with projects I love, and I am working with two small theater companies whose leadership greatly value my past contributions and want very much to support me in the future. So in no way am I complaining about my personal situation. However, most of my revered colleagues are not so fortunate. They have an enormous amount to contribute and they need support at a time in our industry when youth is the greatest prize and old age the greatest sin. Experience in life and how to live it is in many cultures revered as a community’s greatest treasure. But not in ours. And so, in a youth obsessed industry comes The Tent. Most of us are at the top of our games. And we gather under The Tent to support each other and make sure our contributions will be heard at a time when what we know and what we have to say is needed most. —Emily Mann




The curse of being older, as a playwright, is probably there in why my work isn’t done, but sexism is still the biggest factor. Recently, I read the Variety review of my play Paradise Street and the reviewer’s main issue was one of my two main characters was so unpleasant, unsympathetic, that he couldn’t invest in her and, therefore, in my story. So I thought about negative characters in plays and there are so many MALE characters that are murderous, unlovable, and those characters are necessary, interesting, fun for actors to play. Richard III. Titus Andronicus. Scrooge. So many Sam Shepard characters. Et alia. The problem was that she was female. About age? My age may be a problem. Something is. —Constance Congdon




The Tent is a place where career playwrights gather. We’ve all been at this so long, and we see it as a glorious continuum, one that has been practiced for centuries by the likes of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Edward Albee, August Wilson, Caryl Churchill, all of whose playwriting skills ripened over time like fine wines. When I started writing, I had a lot of promise. Now I’m making promises I can keep. Playwrights who have been at it for a while are finding new depths of power, perspective and wisdom. We're advocating for a vision of the theatre that is broad and deep, ageless and fierce. —Theresa Rebeck

bottom of page