Plays written by Lydia Stryk
THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT
THE LAST STANDING PROTESTOR
THE GLAMOUR HOUSE
THE HOUSE OF LILY
SAFE HOUSE /THE CULTURAL ATTACHE
THE SECRET LIFE OF DESIREE VON WERTHEIMSTEIN
A SHORT STORY
An Accident – (1M 1W) A woman is run over and critically injured. The driver appears at her bedside. There are encounters in life that take you somewhere you’ve never been and never meant to go.
The Glamour House – (1M 4W) The Glamour House is set in 1947 in New York City and describes the mysterious, obsessive relationship between the owner of a dress shop and the young woman from Germany who comes to work for her. It’s an immigrant world and contains both the lightness of the world of fashion and the darkness of the history behind this particular pair. It’s a kind of riff on a ‘well-made play’ with a secret and revelation.
Lady Lay – (1-2M 3W) It’s is 1989. MariAnne is a frustrated, career clerk in a West Berlin Employment Office. Then she hears Bob Dylan for the first time on the radio, and the Berlin Wall collapses. She takes a journey, both joyful and terrifying, into Dylan’s rebellious realm. Lady Lay asks: what is freedom? And can Bob Dylan take us there?
Monte Carlo – (1-2M 4W) Daisy, now approaching retirement, has lived with her mother, Lottie, while working in a factory, her entire adult life. Nothing seems set to change until she wins the football pools and becomes a millionaire, and her world is turned upside down. But with the riches and the fulfilment of life-long unspoken dreams, comes a realization about her long relationship with her mother which will change her life in far more unexpected ways.
Peace – The play is set in the meeting room of a peace group of a kind that are found in much of the western world and takes the new drone wars as its starting point. A young man with radical ideas joins a peace group, shaking its foundations. The play is drawn from my ambiguous feelings about my own (admittedly limited) involvement in the peace movement as well as my fascination with the motivation and dynamics of peace groups. It is darkly comical but ultimately, hopefully, provocative in a good way. The play is not without controversy as it challenges liberal minded pieties.
A Short Story – (2M 3W) Two men and their wives share a life in the arts and other passions at the cusp of the sexual revolution. But they are caught in the moment in which they have come of age. The older couple are a gay man and lesbian, the younger pair, their heterosexual best friends whose daughter will evolve in a new era.
Lydia Stryk was born in DeKalb, Illinois, birthplace of barbed wire and flying ears of corn. She grew up between DeKalb and London, England, and as a child also lived in Japan where she studied Kabuki and performed on the stage, and in Iran. After high school, she trained to be an actress at the Drama Centre, London–a career she pursued in New York for exactly one year before going back to school to study history, education and later, journalism. She has a BA in History from Hunter College, an MA in Journalism from NYU and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York. Her dissertation, “Acting Hysteria: An Analysis of the Actress and her Part” was in part an attempt to understand why her own short-lived experience acting the woman’s part on stage felt pathological. It was while interning at the weekly journal, The Nation, that she wrote a first play, coming full circle back to the theatre, but this time as a writer — inspired by the feminist idea circulating at the time that women might have other stories to tell and other ways of telling them. She is the author of over a dozen full-length plays and a few short ones, including Monte Carlo, The House of Lily, The Glamour House, American Tet, An Accident and Lady Lay which have been produced around the United States and also in Germany and Canada. US productions include those at Denver Center Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, HB Studios, The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre and 7 Stages. In Germany her work has been produced at Schauspiel Essen, Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Hoftheater Dresden and the English Theater Berlin where she is an artistic associate. Scenes and monologues have been anthologized in collections by Heinemann, Applause and Smith and Kraus. Her play, American Tet, appears in “Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays” from Northwestern University Press. The End of Civilization as we Know It appears in the anthology, “Here Come the Brides!” from Seal Press. Individual plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing and Dramatists Play Service and translated into German by Per Lauke Verlag, Hamburg. She has been commissioned by Pittsburgh Public Theatre and Geva Theatre, Rochester and is the recipient of a Berrilla Kerr Playwright Award and a Rella Lossy Playwriting Award. She lives mostly in Berlin.