Advisory Board

Richard Foreman, B.A., MFA, Hon D

In the Edge Annual Question What is your dangerous idea?, Richard Foreman said

In my area of the arts and humanities, the most dangerous idea (and the one under who’s influence I have operated throughout my artistic life) is the complete relativity of all positions and styles of procedure. The notion that there are no “absolutes” in art — and in the modern era, each valuable effort has been, in one way or another, the highlighting and glorification of elements previous “off limits” and rejected by the previous “classical” style.
Such a continual “reversal of values” has of course delivered us into the current post-post modern era, in which fragmentation, surface value and the complex weave of “sampling procedure” dominate, and “the center does not hold”.

Richard Foreman, B.A., MFA, Hon D is a playwright and avant-garde theater pioneer. He is the founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater. Books studying his work have been published in New York, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo.
Richard graduated from Brown University (B.A. 1959), and received a MFA in Playwriting from Yale Drama School in 1962. In 1993, Brown presented him with an honorary doctorate. His dramatic works are driven by misunderstanding instead of the more traditional conflict. He describes his works as a “Theatre of Coincidence”. The goal of his performances is a “Disorientation Massage”, in contrast to Aristotle’s goal of catharsis.
He has written, directed and designed fifty-seven of his own plays both in New York City and abroad. Five of his plays have received Obie Awards for Best Play of the Year — and he has received five other Obies for directing and for “sustained achievement”. He has received the annual Literature Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a “Lifetime Achievement in the Theater” award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN American Center Master American Dramatist Award, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and in 2004 was elected officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France. His archives and work materials have recently been acquired by the Bobst Library at New York University (NYU).
His work has been primarily done at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in New York, though he has gained acclaim as director for such productions as Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera at Lincoln Center and the premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus at the Public Theater.
Richard’s plays have been co-produced by such organizations as The New York Shakespeare Festival, La Mama Theatre, The Wooster Group, the Festival d`Automne in Paris, and the Vienna Festival. He has collaborated (as librettist and stage director) with composer Stanley Silverman on 8 music theater pieces produced by The Music Theater Group & The New York City Opera. He wrote and directed the feature film, Strong Medicine.
He has also directed and designed many classical productions with major theaters around the world including, The Threepenny Opera, The Golem and plays by Václav Havel, Botho Strauss, and Suzan-Lori Parks for The New York Shakespeare Festival, Die Fledermaus at the Paris Opera, Don Giovanni at the Opera de Lille, Philip Glass’s Fall of the House of Usher at the American Repertory Theater and The Maggio Musicale in Florence, Woyzeck at Hartford Stage Company, Molière’s Don Juan at the Guthrie Theater and The New York Shakespeare Festival, Kathy Acker’s Birth of the Poet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the RO theater in Rotterdam, and Gertrude Stein’s Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights at the Autumn Festivals in Berlin and Paris.
Richard authored Bad Boy Nietzsche! and Other Plays, Unbalancing Acts : Foundations for a Theater, Richard Foreman (Art + Performance), My Head Was a Sledgehammer : Six Plays, Paradise Hotel, No-body : A Novel in Parts, Love & Science : Selected Music-Theatre Texts, the innovative Amazon download Death. (personal reflections on death) : An article from: Discourse, and edited Lacanian Ink 9. Read the full list of his publications! Read his freely available notebooks!
Read his interview by Eric Bogosian. Read quotes by Richard! Watch him on PBS. Read his PBS interview. Listen to his Charles Bernstein interview.