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December 15, 2020

Read More Plays Club: How To Transcend A Happy Marriage by Sarah Ruhl


Welcome to the Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club! This new reading club will focus on recognizing select Concord Theatricals plays as important works of literature. We hope that while live performance is on pause, the Read More Plays Club can unite theatre lovers and create a digital space dedicated to celebrating great artists, good conversation and plays on the page.

Each club session will feature a fantastic Concord Theatricals title and artists connected to the work in an hour-long candid discussion around the creation and history of the play. Readers will have a chance to engage with the artist and learn more about their motivations, their creative process, and the work itself.

When you register in advance, you will also find information about how to purchase the script at a discounted rate of 30% off.

For our first session, we read and discussed…

How to Transcend a Happy Marriage by Sarah Ruhl

December 2020: How to Transcend a Happy Marriage by Sarah Ruhl
(Full-Length Play, Comedy)

At a dinner party in New Jersey, two couples discuss polyamory as brought up by the introduction of a new temp, Pip, in Jane’s office. When they invite Pip and her two male partners, discussion turns to action and the exploration of unexplored desire turns animalistic, and then Jane’s daughter sees it all. How to Transcend a Happy Marriage blurs the lines of monogamy and asks how deeply friends, lovers and strangers connect.

Here’s a highlight from the session, in which Sarah Ruhl explained the origins of How to Transcend a Happy Marriage:

“I was teaching a class on Ovid and transformation at Yale, and I was encouraging my students to think about a dramaturgy of transformation rather than a dramaturgy of conflict. We read Ovid’s Metamorphosis and they had to write a play with one song, one non-human element, one sudden transformation… but I thought, ‘If I am laying down the gauntlet to my students, I should set myself the same tasks.’ I wanted to write a play about polyamory, but also about marriage. I think the play is about polyamory, but it’s also about polyamory in terms of how marriage can feel bigger – how it can feel like it encompasses other people and encompasses a community. I was also just interested in different kinds of love as opposed to a certain kind of romantic love that we see represented over and over again in literature and on stages.”

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Melancholy Play; For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, Stage Kiss, Dear Elizabeth, Eurydice, How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, and a translation of Three Sisters. She has been a two-time Pulitzer prize finalist and a Tony award nominee. Her plays have been produced on and off-Broadway, around the country, and internationally, where they have been translated into over fifteen languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has received the Steinberg award, the Samuel French award, the Susan Smith Blackburn award, the Whiting award, the Lily Award, a PEN award for mid-career playwrights, and the MacArthur award. You can read more about her work on Her new book 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write was a New York Times notable book of the year, and she most recently published Letters from Max with Max Ritvo. She teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and she lives in Brooklyn with her family.

To register for the next session of the Read More Plays Club, click here.