A scene of three people acting onstage.

Ken Urban

Artist in Residence, 2015

A portrait of a person near a window.

Artist Statement

I make cruel theater. Cruelty is at the heart of every piece of theatre that has ever truly moved me. I don’t mean “cruelty” in the pedestrian sense, as something “bloody” or “violent,” but rather cruelty as that which forces us to see what we would rather not see, an impetus for personal insight. As Artaud taught us in his powerful essays collected in Theatre And Its Double, cruelty is the force that awakens consciousness to a horror that remained unseen and unspoken, or willfully repressed. Artaud wrote convincingly that cruelty’s unmasking of those painful truths makes a space for ethical change, even joy, but such possibility does not allow for escape, easy answers or simplistic hope. Cruelty is not redemptive; it scars.

While At Headlands

During my time at Headlands, I will complete revisions of two full-length plays, The Absence of Weather and A Guide for the Homesick. These two plays are both almost ready for production and the time at Headlands will give me the time and focus to think deeply about the difficult final revisions. If time permits, I would also like to begin work on a new play about a security guard at a high school who befriends a physically disabled student. The joy of a residency is having the opportunity to see where my ideas take me.

Selected Video

from THE HAPPY SAD from Ken Urban on Vimeo.

from THE HAPPY SAD from Ken Urban on Vimeo.

THE HAPPY SAD exclusive clip #2-Stan&Annie-AnArrangement-7-15-13 from Rodney Evans on Vimeo.

TheAwakeEdit 121014 720p from Samovar Film Productions on Vimeo.

Selected Sound