Neal Bell is a recipient of grants from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations and the NEA, and received an OBIE Award for sustained excellence in playwriting. His plays - including Two Small Bodies, Somewhere in The Pacific, On The Bum, and Cold Sweat - have appeared at Playwrights Horizons in New York, and in regional theaters including South Coast Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Mark Taper Forum. Mr. Bell’s theater adaptations of classic novels include Monster (a version of Frankenstein), Therese Raquin (after the Zola novel, and filmed as In Secret (2013), and McTeague (based on the Frank Norris novel and commissioned by Berkeley Rep). His play Spatter Pattern won an Edgar Award for best mystery play (2005), and his most recent book, published by Routledge in 2020, is How to Write A Horror Movie. Mr. Bell has taught at Yale, Princeton, NYU, the New School and Boston University, and currently teaches play and screen writing at Duke University, where he’s been a member of the Theater Studies Department since 2006.
NEW PLAYS BY
In the shadow of defining events of the 2000s like 9/11 and Abu Ghraib, a group of young actors in New York struggle with issues of identity and purpose—"How do we create meaningful art, in a world that seems increasingly chaotic?" As they negotiate final projects for grad school, first professional jobs and their tangled personal relationships, their hopes and fears begin to manifest in a Presence in an abandoned floor of their school—a creature from folklore, who has either come to help them or to do something much more sinister."
CARRY ME BACK
In the autumn of his life, a professor of color, Ben Traynor, is starting to fall apart.His dead white lover Jake has come back to haunt him... a grad student of color is turning to Ben for help, as he wrestles with his sexuality... and Ben's department is doing a problematic adaptation of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson (a novel dealing with the corrosive effects of slavery, but in disturbingly ambiguous ways.) Scenes from Ben's life alternate with the Twain adaptation—as Ben attempts to make sense of the death (long ago) of his partner, his ongoing responsibilities to his students, and the troublesome Twain adaptation (as it becomes clearer who the pseudonymous author of the adaptation really is.)