Adam Seelig

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Adam Seelig
Adam Seelig, Toronto, August 2014.jpg
OccupationPoet, playwright, theatre director

Adam Seelig (born 1975) is a Canadian and American poet, playwright, director, composer and Artistic Director of One Little Goat Theatre Company in Toronto.[1]


Seelig founded One Little Goat Theatre Company in New York City and Toronto in the early 2000's.[2][3] With the company, he has directed dramatic works by poet-playwrights Yehuda Amichai,[4] Thomas Bernhard,[5] Jon Fosse,[6] Claude Gauvreau,[2] Luigi Pirandello,[7] as well as his own plays, which include reinterpretations of classic material.[8][9]

Seelig stages "poetic theatre."[10][11] This involves "charactor" (combining an actor's onstage persona with their offstage nature), the "prism/gap" (between actor and audience), and ambiguity.[12][13][14] His direction "avoids naturalism."[15]


Beginning with the 2010 publication of Every Day in the Morning (slow),[16] a work of "concrete lyric fiction,"[17] Seelig's writing combines aspects of the contemporary lyric with the appearance of concrete poetry.[18] Written largely in the second person, Every Day in the Morning (slow) eschews punctuation, forming a single sentence that is at the same time a "continuous concrete-lyric-drop-poem novella."[19][20]

The plays Seelig has written since 2010 employ the same drop-poem technique through which "words often align vertically, configured spatially."[12] The format has been described by critics as "a musical score,"[18] a "poetry trick,"[21] and "eye hockey."[22] The concrete lyric, drop-poem format allows actors to "pace and emphasize the text" as they see fit.[23][24]


For Ubu Mayor, "a play with music," Seelig wrote eight songs and played piano in the band for the production premiere.[25][26][27] The play has been referred to as an "anti-musical."[28] For Music Music Life Death Music: An Absurdical, Seelig wrote seven songs and played a Fender Rhodes electric piano in the band for the production premiere.[29] The sheet music for both of these plays is included in their print and electronic publications.

Music is foregrounded (rather than assigned to the background) in Seelig's productions.[30] Music also plays a key role in Seelig's "drop-poem novella" Every Day in the Morning (slow), with particular emphasis on minimalist composers such as Steve Reich.[22][31]



From the Hebrew, Seelig has translated works by modern Israeli poets Yehuda Amichai,[41] Dan Pagis[42] and contemporary poet Navit Barel.[43] With Harry Lane, he translated Someone is Going to Come by Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse.[44][45]


As an undergraduate at Stanford University, Seelig studied English Literature with John Felstiner, Marjorie Perloff and Gilbert Sorrentino, and Theatre with Carl Weber, completing a BA in 1998 with a thesis on Samuel Beckett's original manuscripts[46] in addition to writing and directing an early play entitled Inside the Whale (named after the essay by George Orwell).[47] Seelig founded a "nebulous, unofficial organization" known as the "Silly Society of Stanford"[48] and seems to represent the university's "stoners and poets" in a New Yorker article that recounts his inability to identify classmate and celebrated golfer Tiger Woods.[49]


Seelig's early years in theatre include directorial apprenticeships at the Arts Club in Vancouver and the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.[50] An early poem was published in Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford's The Republic of Letters.[51]

Born in Vancouver,[52][53] Seelig is the son of an Israeli father and American mother.[50][54]

Selected Plays and Publications[edit]

  • Music Music Life Death Music: An Absurdical. Toronto: One Little Goat, 2018. (Play with music)
    • One Little Goat publication. ISBN 9781775325505 print. ISBN 9781775325512 e-book.
    • Production details.
  • Smyth/Williams: An All-Female Staging of the Police Transcript. Toronto, 2017. (Play adaptation)
  • PLAY: A (Mini) History of Theatre for Kids. Toronto, 2016. (Play for children)
  • Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit of Fun. Toronto: BookThug, 2014. (Play with music)
  • Parts to Whole. Toronto: BookThug, 2014. (Play)
  • Like the First Time. Toronto: BookThug, 2011. (Play)
  • Every Day in the Morning (slow). Vancouver: New Star Books, 2010. (Poetry/Fiction)
  • Talking Masks (Oedipussy). Toronto: BookThug, 2009. (Play)
  • Antigone:Insurgency. (Play)
  • All Is Almost Still. (Play)
  • H A N D S F A C E. Toronto: Bathurst Street Press (George Murray, publisher), 2003. (Chapbook)


  1. ^ Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine, Vol.92 No.4, Chicago, July 2008, pp.428-9
  2. ^ a b Martin Morrow, "The Charge of the Expormidable Moose: A terrific introduction to an unjustly neglected work," Globe and Mail, 13 May 2013.
  3. ^ Omar Mosleh, "Giving Scripts Some Poetic Justice," Town Crier, 13 Oct 2011.
  4. ^ "Killing Him: A Radio Play" by Yehuda Amichai, Poetry Foundation, Summer 2008.
  5. ^ Adam Kirsch, "The Darkest Comedian," The New York Review of Books, 10 Feb 2011.
  6. ^ Christopher Hoile, "Review of Someone is Going to Come," Stage Door, 17 March 2009. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  7. ^ J. Kelly Nestruck, "One Character in Search of an Identity," Globe and Mail, 31 Oct 2011.
  8. ^ Dongshin Chang, "Democracy at War: Antigone:Insurgency in Toronto," Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage, edited by Erin Mee Helene Foley. Oxford University Press, 2011. Pages 267–285. Cf. Marianne Apostolides, "A Review of Antigone:Insurgency, Canadian Theatre Review, Issue 137, University of Toronto Press, Winter 2009. Also Cf. Jon Kaplan, "Timely Tragedy," NOW Magazine, November 15, 2007.
  9. ^ Jon Kaplan, "Mythic Masks," NOW Magazine, 18 Nov 2009. Cf. Brian Joseph Davis, "Review of Talking Masks," Eye Weekly, August 26, 2009. "Riffing on Sophocles' biggest hit, Seelig's new book Talking Masks (subtitled "Oedipussy") uses strident debate and bawdy humour to take on the idea of character. His source material is classical and his formal concerns are dyed-in-the-wool modernism, but his swagger is old-fashioned postmodern."
  10. ^ "Adam Seelig: Ritter, Dene, Voss - an interview," Archived March 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, September 22, 2010. Web. Accessed October 23, 2015.
  11. ^ J. Kelly Nestruck, "She, He and the Man make for a Seussian tale," Globe and Mail, 16 March 2009.
  12. ^ a b c "EMERGENSEE: GET HEAD OUT OF ASS: 'Charactor' and Poetic Theatre," The Capilano Review, "Poets Theatre" issue, Spring 2010, pp.32-52. Complete essay online.
  13. ^ Talking Masks (Oedipussy): A Play by Adam Seelig. Toronto: BookThug, 2009. Google Books page.
  14. ^ Valerie Johnson, "Histrionic Perversity: The work of Austrian Thomas Bernhard finally comes to Chicago," Newcity Chicago, 6 Dec 2007.
  15. ^ Rachel Saltz, "Three Irritable Siblings, Ready to Pounce," New York Times, 1 Oct 2010. Also characterized as "idiosyncratically avant-garde" by J. Kelly Nestruck, "The Rob Ford Musicals," Globe and Mail, 19 Sep 2014.
  16. ^ Every Day in the Morning (slow). Vancouver: New Star Books, 2010. Google Books page.
  17. ^ Kevin Chong, Joyland Magazine, July 7, 2011.
  18. ^ a b Nikki Reimer, "Just Twelve Bars: On Adam Seelig's Every Day in the Morning (slow)," Lemon Hound, 29 Nov 2010. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  19. ^ Ed Park, "The Art of the Very Long Sentence," New York Times, 3 Jan 2011. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  20. ^ The Puritan Magazine, Issue 23, Fall 2013.
  21. ^ Jacob McArthur Mooney, "Sam Is a Person: An electronic conversation with poet and playwright Adam Seelig," The Walrus Magazine, 18 Feb 2011. Web. Accessed 21 Feb 2011.
  22. ^ a b Camille Martin, "he-you-i: Who's thinking, anyway," Rogue Embryo, 24 Jan 2011. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  23. ^ "Like the First Time. Toronto: BookThug, 2011, p.3". Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  24. ^ Parts to Whole. Toronto: BookThug, 2014, p.107.
  25. ^ Charlotte Dupon, "Ubu Maire: Un Classique Remanié aux couleurs de la vie politique Torontoise" ("Ubu Mayor: A Classic Remodelled…," — article in French), L'Express, 9 Sep 2014.
  26. ^ J. Kelly Nestruck, "The Rob Ford Musicals," Globe and Mail, 19 Sep 2014.
  27. ^ Martin Morrow, "Time on his side: Seelig stages Ubu-clever Rob Ford satire," MorrowReviews, 13 Sep 2014. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  28. ^ Steve Fisher, "Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit of Fun," Torontoist, 12 Sep 2014. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  29. ^ "The Sound’s the Thing: One Little Goat Theatre’s Adam Seelig," Jennifer Parr, Wholenote Magazine, 27 April 2018 (retrieved 12 July 2018).
  30. ^ "Flexible Impossibilities: On Claude Gauvreau's The Charge of the Expormidable Moose," Rampike Magazine, University of Windsor, Ontario, Vol.22 No.2, 2014, pp.16-19.
  31. ^ David Olds, "Editor's Corner," Wholenote Magazine, Feb 2011.
  32. ^ Modern Drama, Vol. 43.3, University of Toronto, 2000, pp.376-392.
  33. ^, Ottawa, Summer 2005. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015. Includes examples from works by Maurice Blanchot, David Markson, Rosmarie Waldrop and others.
  34. ^ "Transcending Hyperspecificity: Bill Kennedy’s ‘Apostrophe’ and his collaboration with Darren Wershler-Henry, Apostrophe, as framed by Gerald Creede’s ‘Résumé’ and Steve Venright’s Spiral Agitator." With examples touching on other contemporary Canadian poets including Gregory Betts, Alice Burdick, Donato Mancini, David McFadden, Jay MillAr, Angela Rawlings, Mark Truscott and Rachel Zolf. Open Letter: A Canadian Journal of Writing, University of Western Ontario, Summer 2008, pp.33-53.
  35. ^ Gregory Betts interview by Adam Seelig, Filling Station, Calgary, No.38, 2007, pp.26-9.
  36. ^ "Nerve's Quill: Nerve Squall by Sylvia Legris," Word: Canada's Magazine for Readers + Writers, The Mercury Press, Toronto, Vol.12 Nos.5&6, May/June 2006, p.5.
  37. ^ "Adam Seelig Interviews Donato Mancini," West Coast Line no.60, vol.42 no.4, Vancouver, Winter 2009, pp.24-35.
  38. ^ "A/DRIFT," Review of Lisa Robertson's Rousseau's Boat, Word: Canada's Magazine for Readers + Writers, The Mercury Press, Toronto, Vol.11 Nos.11&12, November/December 2005, p.15-16.
  39. ^ Review of Jordan Scott's Silt, Word: Canada's Magazine for Readers + Writers, The Mercury Press, Toronto, May 2004.
  40. ^ "First person plural: the novel at play - Adam Seelig interviews Sean Dixon," Word: Canada's Magazine for Readers + Writers, The Mercury Press, Toronto, Vol.13 Nos.5&6, May/June 2007, pp.8-9.
  41. ^ "Killing Him: A Radio Play," Poetry Magazine, Vol.92 No.4, Chicago, July 2008, pp.335-368.
  42. ^ "Covenant" and "Diagnosis" by Dan Pagis, translated from the Hebrew, World Literature Today, Oklahoma, May 2004.
  43. ^ Poetry International Rotterdam. Web. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.
  44. ^ online guide to modern playwrights.
  45. ^ Harry Lane bio, Playwrights Canada Press.
  46. ^ Stanford Report, 18 June 1997.
  47. ^ The Stanford Daily, Volume 211, Issue 23, 6 March 1997, pp.6-7.
  48. ^ Kelly Young, "Calling all assassins: Alternative career fair offers some options," The Stanford Daily, Volume 210, Issue 22, 21 Oct 1996, p.1.
  49. ^ Ken Auletta, "Get Rich U," The New Yorker, 30 April 2012, p.38 & p.43.
  50. ^ a b Alex Kliner, Jewish Western Bulletin, 30 Jan 1998, p.26.
  51. ^ "Kafka to Brod (Four Unheard Variations)" by Adam Seelig in News from the Republic of Letters, eds. Saul Bellow & Keith Botsford, Issue no.9, 2001.
  52. ^ Joanne Lavoie, "Leslieville’s Astrid van Wieren performs in Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit of Fun at the Wychwood Theatre," InsideToronto, 11 Sep 2014.
  53. ^ A. M. Segal, "Play about national security, civil rights raises questions," Canadian Jewish News, 8 Nov 2007, p.53.
  54. ^ Michael Seelig, Professor at the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver Sun, July 18, 2014) and Julie Hurwitz, an Urban Planner for Vancouver (Queen's Quarterly, December 22, 1996.).
  55. ^ Rob McLennan, "Toronto, Ontario / New York, New York," on "Hands Face," Rob McLennan's Blogspot, 16 Sep 2004. Accessed 23 Oct 2015.

External links[edit]