• Friday, June 1, 2018
  • In Love and Warcraft

    Alliance Theatre; Photo by Greg Mooney

    Full-length. 3F, 3M

    Evie Malone, a college senior and closet romantic, plays Warcraft with her online boyfriend and fixes other people’s relationships. Sure, she doesn’t have a sex life, but who really needs that… right?

    Buy now on Samuel French

    Winner of the 2013/14 Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Contest.

    Selected Production History:

    Alliance Theatre – Atlanta, GA. February 2014. Director: Laura Kepley
    No Rules Theatre Company, Signature Theatre – Arlington, VA. January 2015. Director: Joshua Morgan
    Halcyon Theatre – Chicago, IL. August 2015. Director: Tlaloc Rivas.
    Artists at Play – Los Angeles: September 2015. Director: Alejandra Cisneros
    Custom Made Theatre – San Francisco: November 2015. Director: James Nelson.


    Reviews:

    Washington Post: “Theater is a confident art form in the hands of dramatist Madhuri Shekar. Her comedy “In Love and Warcraft” pokes fun at the video game industry, chronicling the travails of a college student who’s addicted to online fantasy role-play. […] As seen in a highly entertaining No Rules Theatre Company production, directed by Joshua Morgan, the play is a bona fide romantic comedy, succeeding so blithely in the format that launched innumerable Hugh Grant flicks that you almost can see Hollywood flailing in the rear-view mirror.” – Celia Wren

    Broadway World (Washington, DC): “Like Evie, the emotional center of In Love and Warcraft who is surprised to discover she has a full heart, this new play by Madhuri Shekar at No Rules Theatre Company is full of heart, overflowing with warmth and good humor to balance the challenges of intimacy in a world that does not respond logically to strategy and commands. – Pamela Roberts

    Atlanta Journal Constitution: “The winner of the 2014 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, [the play is] a canny blend of Jane Austen and Cyrano de Bergerac — as viewed through a geeky collegiate lens. Shekar stirs up great comedic shenanigans and one wholly original theatrical interlude. Over 10 years, the Alliance’s playwriting competition has identified the literary stars of the next generation. Shekar is no exception. In Love and Warcraft is a fresh look at the strange social behaviors spawned by Internet culture, where love and loneliness spar like the masters and the monsters of the universe.” – Wendell Brock

    New City Stage: “It’s rare to see a “nerd” character in a play not being treated as a joke or a stereotype, and Evie truly feels like a fully realized human being. In fact, Madhuri Shekar’s script treats each of its characters, including Evie, her sex-addicted roommate Kitty (Claire Reinhart, who owns the stage every time she’s in a scene), and her love interests – Raul (Kroydell Galima) and Ryan (Brian Bradford) like real, fully formed people… some of whom just happen to spend time going on raids with their level thirty-four Night Elf Hunters. […] “In Love and Warcraft” is fun, funny and, by the end, deeply touching.” – Sean Kelley

    DC Metro Theatre Arts: “In Love and Warcraft will be a treat for the curious theater-goer. […] a most tantalizing theater on the cutting-edge of the new. This is good news for DC area theater-goers who hunger for some atypical and distinctive new tastes.” – David Siegel

    DC Theatre Scene: “[T]he first scene of No Rules Theatre Company’s DC premiere is a collision between romance and fantasy combat, heartfelt pleas and argot-filled cacophony, broad sex humor and genuinely human connection. It’s as all-encompassing an introduction to the play you’re about to see as you could ask for – if the title, In Love and Warcraft, wasn’t clear enough – and the more you enjoy its juxtapositions and energy the more you’ll love what follows.” – Brett Steven Abelman

    Atlanta Cultural Arts Review: “The Alliance presents this incredible premiere of this work, which won the 2014 Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. […] The show progresses from real life to WOW in the second act, and when the Avatars show up it is some of best costuming and funniest acting you’ll ever see.”  – RJH

    Reviews, Press & Other Updates

  • Saturday, June 24, 2017
  • Queen makes the Kilroy’s List!

    QUEEN made The Kilroy’s List of most recommended plays by women and trans writers of color this year! Check out the complete list and add them all to your summer reading list 📚 🎭 ☀️ ❤️  thekilroys.org/list-2017

    You can read the full script of QUEEN on the New Play Exchange.

    VarietyBroadway, Take Note: These Female Playwrights of Color Should Be on Your Radar

    This year, the Kilroys opted to focus specifically on works by female or trans writers of color. The move was spurred in part by the ongoing study The Count, which in 2015 found that over a three-year period, 22% of productions at America’s nonprofit theaters were written by women — and of those, less than 4% were penned by writers of color.

  • Thursday, May 4, 2017
  • Press and production photos for QUEEN!

    “RECOMMENDED
    Brainy & Entertaining. This timely story about the interplay of science, conscience and the heart offers a most winning test case.”
    -Chicago Sun-Times

    “Awesome! Two powerhouse women fighting convention. QUEEN lifts up women in a way that’s intellectual and passionate.”
    -PerformInk

    “Intriguing, funny, and highly relevant. A cerebral version of the sexual cat-and-mouse games.”
    -TheaterJones

    “Engrossing. An excellent quartet of players… who give performances of conviction and realism. QUEEN should go forth into the regional theatre world as a popular selection.”/
    -ChicagolandTheaterReviews.com

    Priya Mohanty is a scientist, and she plays one in QUEEN at Victory Gardens Theater
    Chicago Tribune

    Victory Gardens Theater Hosts Special Earth Day Celebration Surrounding the World Premiere of QUEEN
    BroadwayWorld

    To Bee Or Not to Bee Friends? Scientists Question Their Working Relationship In ‘Queen’
    Rebellious Magazine

    ‘Queen’ Premiere at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater (VIDEO)
    Playwright Madhuri Shekar visits CBS 2 to discuss the world premiere of ‘Queen.’
    CBS Chicago

    Drama! Music! Dissident Art! Aerialists! The Best Events in Chicago (Week of 4/13)
    Crain’s Chicago Business

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017
  • Early press for QUEEN!

    We are nearing the end of previews for QUEEN at Victory Gardens – here’s a round-up of early press before we open tomorrow night!

    Chicago Tribune: Priya Mohanty is a scientist, and she plays one in ‘Queen’ at Victory Gardens Theater

    Mohanty says she’s received more rejections in the last two years of acting than she has, cumulatively, in the rest of her entire life. Throughout “Queen,” Sanam faces similar uncertainty. There’s her imperfect model, friendship and potential romance, all progressing and regressing on their own time. But she finds the humor in all its unpredictability.

    “I saw Priya’s audition tapes and I was like, oh my God, she’s so funny,” says playwright Shekar. “And immediately I was like yes, yes, yes, this character’s very funny. An utterly guileless but very confident woman. There’s something about that combination that’s endearing.”


    CBS 2 Morning News: ‘Queen’ Premiere At Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater

    I did a morning show interview about the play! My first Live TV thing. 


    Rebellious Magazine:  To Bee Or Not to Bee Friends? Scientists Question Their Working Relationship In ‘Queen’

    While the fictional camaraderie on stage is at risk, real life bonds have formed off stage. [Director Joanie] Schultz describes her experience with Madhuri as “so much fun because we’ve been able to share stories about the friendships we’ve had. Then there’s our fantastic female actors…[and] Chelsea Warren (scenic design), Heather Gilbert (lighting design), and Janice Pytel (costume design)…Their perspective has been vital to how we’ve conceived the onstage life of this play…Madhuri does a beautiful job fleshing out the unique friendship between women who work together.”


    QUEEN runs at Victory Gardens till May 14!

  • Friday, December 9, 2016
  • What Can Theatre Do? A Post-Election Colloquy

    I was very happy to contribute to Part 2 of American Theatre Magazine’s round-up. It forced be to reckon with my feelings and organize my thoughts – i.e., yay writing.

    My as-of-now fiance (eee!) Seamus Sullivan helped a lot with writing this piece.

    http://www.americantheatre.org/2016/11/30/what-can-theatre-do-a-post-election-colloquy-part-2/


    I worry that we can continue to do what we do, we can continue to create and produce the best art we can, but without a fundamental shift in the economic accessibility and social inclusivity of theatre, we’ll continue just talking to ourselves.

    The forces that shaped the election are systemic and deeply complex, and the problems that assail theatre are similar in nature. Theatre in the U.S. is fundamentally elitist because the only people who can access it—both as audiences and artists—require time, capital (financial and social), and education to feel like they belong. That has to change. A lot of smart people have been trying to change this for a long time, and now it’s more vital than ever to listen, learn, and push forward.

    After the election, I wondered if one possible short-term solution was for a billionaire to fund community theatres across the country with enough money and resources to produce free theatre for the next five years. I floated this idea to Chicago playwright Dawn Renee Jones, and her response was that it would be better to use that money to train and hire arts educators instead, in communities that are underserved for arts education. Empower as many people as possible to be artists, then support local theatres in producing local art. I love that idea, so if anyone reading this has a billionaire friend, let’s talk.

    But on an individual level, we do have to continue doing what we do. The morning after the election, I thought my writing career was over, because it just seemed too painful to continue engaging with the world. Luckily, that feeling passed. As scared and worried as I may be, I am excited for the art that we are going to create. Let’s continue. Let’s challenge ourselves to expand our understanding of the world, illuminate its complexity, and open our hearts to different lives and experiences. Let’s try and make each other laugh.

    While a benevolent billionaire might be nice, there are still things we can do, like going to bat for artists without MFAs or college degrees, vouching for future artistic leaders from underrepresented backgrounds, and volunteering our time, if possible, as teaching artists in our local communities (organizations like Young Storytellers in L.A. are a great place to start).

    And finally, theatre alone is not going to save our country or the fate of our planet. But it can better prepare us to be responsible citizens. We’re all doing this for a reason: because making and consuming theatre brings us joy and meaning. So let’s use theatre to help us survive the next few years, but also channel that energy and force of community to protest and fight. Staying engaged with our world is hard and painful, but as theatremakers, that’s part of the job description already. We just have to take it to the next level—and be there for each other as we do.

  • Saturday, February 20, 2016
  • Alliance Theatre Delivers ‘Bucket Of Blessings’ To Schools

    Alliance Theatre Delivers ‘Bucket Of Blessings’ To Schools

  • Wednesday, February 17, 2016
  • Emerging Playwrights Get a Boost From the Kendeda Competition

    Emerging Playwrights Get a Boost From the Kendeda Competition

  • Thursday, January 21, 2016
  • Beyond ‘culture in a silo’

    Beyond ‘culture in a silo’