(1974- ) Nickname and working name of US playwright David Michael Rogers, who was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. He began his efforts in playwriting and acting at a very early age, eventually studying theatre at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Basing himself in Brooklyn, New York, Rogers formed Gideon Productions in 1999 with college colleagues, Jordana and Sean Williams. Gideon began producing plays in the Fall of 2000 and has produced many – though not all – of Rogers' works.
His earliest plays tended toward extended (and in his own words "excruciating") personal introspection, but he eventually realized that he was more comfortable writing genre material, in particular science fiction. In early September 2001 he began rehearsing his first science fiction play, «Mercurial», which featured a terrorist attack on New York City. After 9/11, it was decided to cancel the production, and Rogers went on to write The Second String (performed 2001) as part of a fundraiser for 9/11 relief.
His other science fiction work includes Universal Robots (performed 2009), a play loosely based on Karel Čapek's R.U.R. (1920; trans 1923). In it Čapek meets a mysterious young woman and a mannequin that moves on its own. The play imagines an Alternate History where the Robot has been invented in 1921, and follows the consequences of its Invention up to the present.
Rogers's most recent work as of 2012 is the Honeycomb Trilogy comprising Advance Man (performed 2012), Blast Radius (performed 2012) and Sovereign (performed 2012). These three plays follow the family of former Mars mission commander Bill Cook, who has brought an Alien lifeform to Earth in order to save humans from themselves. Humanity resists and his two children take opposite sides in the struggle. Each play borrows from a different theatrical templates: realism, dark pastoral comedy, and Greek tragedy.
Of sf in the Theatre Rogers has said:
Science fiction theater needs to be theater. We're used to experiencing science fiction in fiction, film, and television, so the temptation when writing a play in the genre is to mimic the storytelling tools of those media. Don't do this. Theater is its own art form with its own tools, and it's more than earned your respect.... Theater is a great and natural home for science fiction. (Playwright's notes, Sovereign programme)
Because of his combination of innovative and traditional approaches to sf theatre, Rogers is perhaps the most important playwright in the genre in the last ten years. [JGu]
David Michael Rogers
born Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 7 November 1974
- Advance Man [play: first performed January 2012 Secret Theatre, Long Island City, New York: Honeycomb Trilogy]
- Blast Radius [play: first performed March 2012 Secret Theatre, Long Island City, New York: Honeycomb Trilogy]
- Sovereign [play: first performed June 2012 Secret Theatre, Long Island City, New York: Honeycomb Trilogy]
individual titles (selected)
- Dirty Juanita [play: first performed September 2000 Flatiron Playhouse]
- Wine [play: first performed January 2001 Access Theater: part of Wine Women Song]
- Roll [play: first performed June 2001 Access Theater: part of Stop Drop Roll]
- The Second String [play: first performed October 2001 Grove Street Playhouse]
- Happening to Your Body [play: first performed September 2003 Manhattan Theatre Source, Estrogenius Festival]
- The Sky Over Ninevah [play: first performed November 2003 Here Arts Center]
- The Lucretia Jones Mysteries [play: first performed April 2004 The Gershwin Hotel]
- Fleet Week: The Musical with Jordana and Sean Williams [play: first performed August 2005: winner of Outstanding Musical Fringe NYC]
- Hail Satan [play: first performed August 2006 Bleeker Street Theater: winner of Outstanding Playwriting Fringe NYC]
- Universal Robots [play: first performed February 2009 Manhattan Theatre Source: winner of Independent Theater Blogger Award for Best Off-Off Broadway Play]
- Viral [play: first performed August 2009 Soho Playhouse: winner of Outstanding Play Production Fringe NYC and Independent Theater Blogger Award for Best Off-Off Broadway Play]
- Asymmetric [play: first performed May 2011 New City Stage, Philadelphia]
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