Program Type: 
The Wooster Group/New York City Players

Early Plays

February 14, 2013 - February 16, 2013
YBCA Forum


West Coast Premiere
The Wooster Group/New York City Players
Early Plays
Based on the Glencairn Plays by Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Richard Maxwell
Produced by The Wooster Group
With performers from both companies

Thu, Feb 14–Sat, Feb 16  •  8 pm  •  YBCA Forum
Advance tickets: $25 Regular  •  $20 students, teachers and seniors
At the door: $30 Regular  •  $25 students, teachers and seniors
$20 YBCA members and students

Thrifty Thursday, Feb 14: All seats $10
Post-show Q&A on Fri, Feb 15 with Richard Maxwell and members of The Wooster Group and the New York City Players, moderated by Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of A.C.T.

“A rare collaboration between two avant-garde powerhouses: The Wooster Group and Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players.”

Scott Brown, New York Magazine

[Richard Maxwell is] “One of the most innovative and essential artists to emerge from American experimental theater in the past decade."

Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Essentially what Maxwell has done is transform O’Neill into Beckett.”

Andy Horowitz, CultureBot

It’s not every day that two of America’s most renowned experimental theater companies share the same stage. The Wooster Group and New York City Players bring their much heralded, award-winning collaboration, Early Plays, to San Francisco for three nights only. A reprise of three one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill known collectively as the “Glencairn plays” — Bound East for Cardiff (1914), The Long Voyage Home (1917), and The Moon of the Caribbees (1918) — Early Plays recounts the tales of a group of sailors on a tramp steamer, exposing the under belly of turn-of-the-century maritime life and the longing and loneliness of life at sea. The episodes are threaded together with haunting melodies, composed and written by director Richard Maxwell, and staged with a simplicity and grace that allow these simple stories to resonate deeply and emotionally.

Since its inception in 1975, the Wooster Group has been celebrated as one of the most vibrant and vital voices in contemporary American theater. Known for their pioneering explorations with new technology and multidisciplinary art forms, they have left an indelible mark on contemporary performance. New York City Players, under the direction of Richard Maxwell, is a company known for its original productions rigorously stripped of theatrical artifice. The collaboration of these two companies created a ripple of excitement in the New York theater establishment and resulted in an Obie Award for direction for Richard Maxwell.

New videos from The Wooster Group Dailies blog

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  • Early Plays
    Feb 14, 2013 7:00pm
    Feb 15, 2013 7:00pm
    Feb 16, 2013 7:00pm
    YBCA Forum
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Related Programs

February 3, 2013 - 2:00pm - February 17, 2013 - 2:00pm
Screening Room

In conjunction with The Wooster Group/New York City Players performances of Early Plays on Feb 14 – 16 in the YBCA Forum, we present this three-part program of rare TWG films.

February 14, 2013 - February 16, 2013

If a YBCA performance is dinner, then Smart Night Out is the appetizer and the dessert. Smart Night Out is part workshop, part happy hour date, and part backstage sneak peek. This month features The Wooster Group/New York City Players production of Early Plays.

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Artist Bio


The Wooster Group is a company of experimental theatre artists led by founding member and director Elizabeth LeCompte. Since 1975, the Group has made more than 30 works for theater, dance, film and video, including Sakonnet Point (1975), Rumstick Road (1977), Nayatt School (1978), Point Judith (1979), Route 1&9 (1981), L.S.D. (…Just the High Points…) (1984), Frank Dell’s The Temptation of St. Antony (1988), North Atlantic (1984, 1999, 2010), Brace Up! (1991, 2003), The Emperor Jones (1993, 2006), Fish Story (1994), The Hairy Ape (1996), House/Lights (1998, 2005), To You, The Birdie! (Phèdre) (2002), Poor Theater (2004), Who’s Your Dada?! (2006), Hamlet (2007), La Didone (2009), Vieux Carré (2011), and Troilus & Cressida (2012). Those works have toured in the U.S. and to Europe, Russia, Canada, South America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The Performing Garage at 33 Wooster Street in lower Manhattan is the company's permanent home, which they own and operate as a shareholder in the Grand Street Artists Co-op, originally established as part of the Fluxus art movement. The daily life and work of The Wooster Group can be followed at the Dailies at


New York City Players is a theater company founded in 1999 under the artistic direction of playwright and director Richard Maxwell. The company has toured extensively in North and South America, Europe, and Australia, producing twenty-five projects in over twenty countries. Recent projects include Neutral Hero, a musical play written and directed by Richard Maxwell (The Kitchen, NYC, 2012; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; Vienna Festwochen; Festival D’Automne à Paris, among others, 2011); Devotion, a dance by Sarah Michelson with text by Richard Maxwell (The Kitchen, 2011), Ads, a video play conceived by Richard Maxwell and produced in New York (2010), Salzburg (2010), Evry (2011), Toulouse (2011), Marseille (2011), Bonn (2012), and Santarcangelo di Romagna (2012), and Dreamless Land, a play written and directed by Julia Jarcho (Abrons Arts Center, 2011). Richard Maxwell and New York City Players have appeared in the 2012 Whitney Biennial. The company’s work has been selected for national and international recognition, including 4 Obie Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award. Richard Maxwell is a member of the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists.


 From YBCA Curator Marc Bamuthi Joseph on Twitter:

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Early Plays is made possible with funding from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Pilot, with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Abundance Foundation
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Lam Research

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.

YBCA Performance 12-13 is made possible in part by:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Additional Funding for YBCA Performance 12-13:
Zellerbach Family Foundation
Panta Rhea Foundation
New England Foundation for the Arts
and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

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