Fund for New American Plays

An Imaginary Life

Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY

In An Imaginary Life, Matt Abelman, a divorced, middle-aged playwright, comes face to face with his own mortality when he discovers a lump in his leg. Overwhelmed with thoughts of death, Matt retreats to his typewriter, spinning fantasies and searching for a fictional exit out of his very real problems. In the face of death, the positive philosophy of carpe diem—"Seize the Day"—is an affirmation of the joys of life, simultaneously poignant and uplifting.

Peter Parnell has written The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket, Romance Language, Hyde in Hollywood, Flaubert's Latest, Sorrows of Stephen, and Scooter Thomas Makes it to the Top of the World. These have been workshopped, premiered, and/or produced by the Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons in New York, the Mark Taper Forum and LATC, the Old Globe, Center Stage, and the Denver Center Theatre Company. In addition, two of his plays were also produced on PBS' American Playhouse. He has been the recipient of two NEA fellowships, as well as grants from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill, and Lecomte de Nouey Foundations. Mr. Parnell received a 1995 Roger L. Stevens Award for The Cider House Rules, Part One. He is currently at work on a two-part stage adaptation of John Irving's novel The Cider House Rules, with co-conceivers and directors Tom Hulce and Jane Jones. The Cider House Rules, Part One was produced by the Seattle Repertory Theatre in its 1995-96 season. The Cider House Rules, Part Two will open in January 1997 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, to be performed in rep with Part One. Mr. Parnell is also at work on a stage musical version of Romance Language with composer/lyricist Michael John LaChiusa.

Director: Don Scardino
Set Designer: Loren Sherman
Lighting Designer: Phil Monat
Costume Designer: Jess Goldstein
Sound Designer: Raymond D. Schilke
Featured Performers: Caroline Aaron, Reed Birney, Christopher Collet,
Merwin Goldsmith, Tim Blake Nelson, Jonathan Walker, Chip Zein
Running Dates: October 29-December 12, 1993

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