Matthew Maguire is a multi-disciplinary Theatre artist. He has won an OBIE Award for Acting (1998) and an OBIE Award for Direction (2007) and numerous fellowships and commissions.
As a Playwright
The Tower, about a woman fighting for her life on an operating table dreaming she is secretly rebuilding the Tower of Babel, received its West Coast premiere in 2004 in a production by The Son of Semele Ensemble. It was a Critic’s Choice in the LA Times where David Nicholls described it as “fascinating and challenging” … as it “layers elements of Joseph Chaikin, Pina Bausch, and William S. Burroughs to build an allegorical Babel-rouser of post-Internet import.” It was also a Critics Pick in the LA Weekly, and Jeff Favre of Backstage West said “Maguire’s words are the driving force, and the profound nature of this layered work will not soon be forgotten by anyone who experiences it.”
He wrote with composer Michael Gordon the science fiction opera Chaos. The New York Times described it as an “opera that romanticizes science as successfully as any work since Einstein on the Beach,” and whose “patterns add up brilliantly.”
Phaedra is his response to Racine’s classic. “Mr. Maguire,” wrote Ben Brantley in The New York Times, “has the smart idea of extending the sexual interests of the characters to explore desire as a verb in eternal, fruitless search of an object.” Tom Sellar of Yale Theater wrote, “Maguire writes with a highly stylized sense of this realm. The dialogue alternates between television-like flatness--the sordid banalities of the rich and evil--and dream languages with soaring heights of myth and eroticism: Dynasty meets Marguerite Duras.”
Throwin’ Bones began as a video installation at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels with acclaimed architects Diller + Scofidio.
The Memory Theatre of Giulio Camillo was produced at La Mama, the Walker Art Center, and the Anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge where it won multiple Bessie Awards. Mike Steele in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune called it “one of the densest, richest, most provocatively beautiful theatre events in my memory.” And the New York Times: “a deftly imaginative exploration of memory ... the scenes are so vivid to behold that one feels the shards of a dispersed past trying to reassemble themselves.” It was part of the Diller & Scofidio 2004 retrospective at the Whitney Museum.
Other plays include The Seven Deadly Elements; Eye Figure Fiction; Untitled (The Dark Ages Flat Out); The American Mysteries; Propaganda; Visions of Don Juan; The Window Man, a musical with Bruce Barthol and Greg Pliska; The Desert; and Abandon.
His awards include an NEA Playwriting Fellowship, a Hammerstein Fellowship, a McKnight Fellowship, a Meet the Composer commission for the libretto of The Tower, multiple years of support from Jerome Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund, and commissions from NYSCA, NEA, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
New plays in the works are Luscious Music, Wax Wings (commissioned by Emory University) and a new musical, Laughing Pictures, with composer Daniel Levy. His plays have been published by Sun & Moon Press, Performing Arts Journal, TheatreForum, and Back Stage Books. In 2009 NoPassport Press published Matthew Maguire: Three Plays.
As an Actor
He won an OBIE award for acting in 1998 for his performance in Mac Wellman’s one-man play, I Don’t Know Who He Was and I Don’t Know What He Said, under Mr. Wellman’s direction. About his solo Babel Stories at Primary Stages the Village Voice wrote: “Maguire is a magician. Look for Zen ease and apocalyptic explosiveness.” The Voice listed Creation Production Company’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Embers, in which Maguire played Henry, as one of the highlights of the 2000/01 season, and wrote that Maguire “eloquently embodied this stranded soul.” He performed a solo version of his most recent work, Luscious Music, at the Architecture Museum of Basel. His text for the solo version of Luscious Music is published by TheatreForum. In January 03, he performed in Michael John Garcés’s Customs at Intar. In 2009/10 he began to perform his solo, Wild Man.
As a Director
He won an OBIE Award for his Direction in 2007 for his play Abandon. His work includes the creation with Philip Glass and Molissa Fenley of A Descent Into the Maelström for Australia's Adelaide Festival. Among his directing projects are The Imaginary Invalid for the Long Beach Opera, Manhattan Theatre Club's Downtown Uptown Festival, and three plays by Jeffrey M. Jones.
As an Artistic Director
He is a co-artistic director of Creation Production Company, which he founded with Susan Mosakowski in NYC. The company has produced forty-nine original works for the stage in New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Berlin, Washington, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Seattle, among other places.
As a Teacher
He is the Director of the Theatre Program at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, where he teaches Acting, Playwriting, and Collaboration. He has been a guest for workshops at such universities as Emory, the University of Iowa, and Yale.
As a Member of the Theatre
He is an alumnus of New Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild. He has served as chairman of the Theatre panel of the New York State Council on the Arts, and has been a theatre panelist for the NEA. He has served as a juror for the Princess Grace Foundation, TCG, and New Dramatists.
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