All Articles
March 15, 2018

Playwright’s Perspective: Adam Bock


Four years ago my parents died. First my mother and then, seven weeks later, my father. He was always a gentleman, and he loved her and she loved him, and I tell people he held the door for her and then followed her through it.

It was sudden and shocking and heartbreaking and incomprehensible. Thrown around by the noisy emotion following their deaths I remember feeling untethered from the world, wondering how were things possibly continuing as before? Why was nothing changed?

As time went on I realized that I’d changed. Or was changing. Without parents I could no longer be a child. Or when I was childish, I felt odd and slightly fraudulent. At this very late date it was time to grow up.

What does it take to change? Does disaster have to strike a loud clanging bell before we wake up?

What does it take to change?

In Quaker meetings, Quakers sit quietly. They stop the chatter of the world, hoping to hear the voice of God. I love that they do it together, that they go against the noisy current of the rushing world, that they wait, that they hope.

I love that in the theater we sit together, that we sit in a small room that seems to float somewhere above the hurdy-gurdy of New York, that we listen carefully, and that we hope.

I think we hope to see something that will shock us out of our steady lives, to see something that will encourage us to make the changes we secretly know we need to make. God or no god maybe, or Dionysus, or maybe even some small god we don’t know at all singing and encouraging us as the actors play out the possibility of something new.

This is reprinted with permission from Playwrights Horizons.

To purchase a copy of Adam Bock’s A Life, click here, and to learn more about licensing a production, click here.