Martyna Majok

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Martyna Majok
Pulitzer2018-portraits-martyna-majok-2676.jpg
Born1985 (age 33–34)
EducationUniversity of Chicago (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
Juilliard School (GrDip)

Martyna Majok is a Polish-American playwright who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Cost of Living.

Early life[edit]

Majok was born in Bytom, Poland. She was 5 the first time she went to the United States with her single mother.[1]

As a child, she experienced teeth issues due to the Chernobyl explosion: "When I was two, living in Poland, my teeth disintegrated because of exposure to Chernobyl radiation."[2]

She immigrated to New Jersey then moved to Chicago.[3] When speaking about moving to America, she recalls:

I came to the country young and grew up in a largely immigrant neighborhood. My mother began learning English when she came over. Everybody was working similar jobs. They had factory jobs together; they were cleaning houses, and taking care of the elderly.[4]

She attended the University of Chicago (BA English Literature, 2007), the Yale School of Drama (MFA Playwriting, 2012) and the Juilliard School (GrDip Playwriting, 2017). She received the Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Award.[1] Other awards include The Dramatists Guild's Lanford Wilson Prize, The Lilly Awards' Stacey Mindich Prize, The Greenfield Prize (first female recipient in drama), Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, and The Merage Foundation Fellowship for the American Dream.

Career[edit]

Majok is known for giving the voiceless a voice in her plays, which include stories of people who are immigrants, women, and disabled.[1]

Full-Length Plays[edit]

Ironbound[edit]

Ironbound is the story of a Polish immigrant, Darja, living in New Jersey working as a cleaner and examines the American Dream from her eyes. It premiered at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland in the fall of 2015 as part of the Women's Voices Theatre Festival, then went on to an Off-Broadway run at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. It started previews March 3, 2016, opened March 16, and closed April 24. It featured direction by Daniella Topol, sets and lighting by Justin Townsend, costumes by Kaye Voyce, and sound by Jane Shaw. The cast included Marin Ireland as Darja, Josiah Bania as Maks, Shiloh Fernandez as Vic and Morgan Spector as Tommy.[5]

Darja, as Majok's mother used to do, works at a factory and cleans houses. When asked how much Darja is like her mom she said: "A lot of the circumstances are hers, but the personality is more mine".[1]

In 2013, Ironbound won the Smith Prize for Political Theater, a joint commission/award supported and administered by the National New Play Network, and it has won The Global Age Project Prize, The David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, and The Charles McArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical at the 2016 Helen Hayes Awards.

Cost of Living[edit]

Cost of Living, which won her the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club, then showed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2017. The drama includes Eddie and Ani, an ex-truck driver and his wife who is quadriplegic; John, a man with cerebral palsy; and Jess, his caregiver.[6] Both performances featured Katy Sullivan as Ani, who was nominated for a 2018 Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance, and Gregg Mozgala, who portrayed John. Gregg Mozgala was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award and won a Lucille Lortel Award for his performance.[7] Jo Bonney was nominated for Outstanding Director of a Play at the 2018 Outer Critics Circle Awards. Cost of Living was nominated for the 2018 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and won Outstanding New Play at the 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards, tied with Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls: Or, The African Mean Girls Play.

Queens[edit]

On March 5, 2018 Majok's production of Queens premiered at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater's Claire Tow Theater. The story centers around a group of immigrant women that live in an apartment in Queens, New York. It featured direction by Dayna Taymor, scenic design by Laura Jellinek, costumes by Kaye Voyce, lighting by Matt Frey, and sound by Stowe Nelson. It closed on March 25, 2018.[8] The cast included Jessica Love, Nadine Malouf, Ana Reeder, Andrea Syglowski, Zuzanna Szadkowski, Sarah Tolan-Mee and Nicole Villamil.

Before its premiere, the play spent two summers in development workshops. The first summer (2016) at the Texas Tech University School of Theatre and Dance WildWind Performance Lab. The second summer (2017) at Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep and at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference.[9]

The play received its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in July 2018, in a new two-act version.

Sanctuary City[edit]

Sanctuary City, a play "that blends the personal and political in its depiction of a newly naturalized teenager who decides to marry her undocumented best friend so he can remain in the country", will premiere at New York Theatre Workshop in 2019.[10]

One Acts and Shorts[edit]

John, who's here from Cambridge[edit]

It premiered at the Ensemble Studio Theater's 35th Marathon of One-Act Plays: Series B in 2015.[11] Majok later developed it into the full-length Pulitzer-winning play Cost of Living.[12]

Personal life[edit]

She's married to actor Josiah Bania.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Collins-Hughes, Laura (17 February 2016). "Q. and A.: Martyna Majok, Putting Immigrant Lives on Center Stage". New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  2. ^ "5 Questions with Martyna Majok", Writers Theatre of New Jersey.
  3. ^ Playscripts, Inc. "Martyna Majok Biography"
  4. ^ Hayley Finn, "An Interview with Martyna Majok", Playwright's Center, 2017.
  5. ^ "Review: 'Ironbound' Stars Marin Ireland as a Struggling Immigrant". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  6. ^ Ryan McPhee, "Martyna Majok’s 'Cost of Living' Wins 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama", Playbill, April 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Gordon Cox, "‘KPOP’ Tops the 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards Nominations (Full List)", Variety, April 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Olivia Clement, "Martyna Majoks queens Begins Previews Off-Broadway", Playbill, March 5th, 2018
  9. ^ "Review: In 'queens,' 11 Immigrant Women and What They Left Behind". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  10. ^ "New York Theater Workshop Unveils 2018-19 Season". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Review: At Ensemble Studio Theater, Men and Women Chatting Privately". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Martyna Majok's 'Cost of Living': Scrambling to Survive, Together". Retrieved 17 August 2018.

External links[edit]