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Mac Wellman


Celebrated for his dizzying linguistic inventions, his experimental narratives, his biting social and political critiques, and his absurdist sense of humor, Mac Wellman has become one of America’s leading avant-garde playwrights.


In “Cellophane”, Wellman offers the eleven plays that he considers his most important: “Albanian Softshoe”, “Mister Original Bugg”, “Cleveland”, “Bad Penny”, “Cellophane”, “Threee Americanisms”, “Fnu Lnu”, “Gisl Gone”, “Hypatia”, “The Sandalwood Box”, and “Cat’s Paw”.


Written between 1983 and 1998, they showcase Wellman’s ongoing exploration of the limits of language and the consequences of humanity in the post-modern world. “These plays,” Wellman writes, “are about the heroism ordinary people must employ every day to keep on functioning with any certainty, with any pleasure or satisfaction, in an order of Being that has become unknowable, remote, a context of at best theoretical plausibility.”


Also included in this volume is his acclaimed essay on the theater, “A Chrestomathy of 22 Answers to 22 Wholly Unaskable and Unrelated Questions Concerning Political and Poetic Theater.”

The John Hopkins University Press


Mac Wellman

Mac Wellman, born John McDowell Wellman on March 7th, 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio. His recent work includes “The Offending Gesture”, directed by Meghan Finn at the Connelly Theater in 2016; “Horrocks (and Toutatis Too) Woo World Wu” at Emerson College in Boston in 2013 (with Erin Mallon & Tim Sirgusa); “Muazzez at the Chocolate Factory” (PS122’s COIL Festival) with Steve Mellor, in 2014; “3 2’s; or AFAR” at Dixon Place in October 2011, “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field” (with composer David Lang) at Montclair in the fall of 2006 (and elsewhere more recently); and “1965 UU” for performer Paul Lazar, and directed by Stephen Mellor at the Chocolate Factory in the fall of 2008. He has received numerous honours, including NEA, Guggenheim, and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowships.


In 2003 he received his third Obie, for Lifetime Achievement. In 2006 his third novel, “Q’s Q”, was published by Green Integer, in 2008 a volume of stories, “A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds”, was published by Trip Street Press, and a new collection of plays, “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field”, by Minnesota Press. His books of poetry include “Miniature” (2002), “Strange Elegies” (2006), “Split the Stick” (2012) from Roof Books, and “Left Glove” (2011), from Solid Objects Press. His novel “Linda Perdido” won the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction.


He is Distinguished Professor of Playwriting at Brooklyn College. His Curriculum Vitae is available online with more detailed information.


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