About the Playwright

Michael Merino
Last June, Michael received the Holland New Voices Playwright Award at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. His full-length play, Artist and Protector of Children: The Life of Henry Darger, was selected as part of the MainStage Series by a national committee of theater artists. This work was also  a finalist for the Southeast Theatre Conference New Play Project’s Charles M. Getchell Award in 2006.

Directed by Kerri Rambow, Squirrel, or the Origin of a Species played to sold-out houses at the 2011 Capital Fringe and was later invited to participate in fallFRINGE. His 10-minute entry, Maybe, was a winner in the Emerging Voices Playwright Competition and was performed at the historic Lincoln Theatre in 2009.

Two of his short plays, Pompa y Circunstancia and Seat Yourself, were presented at the New Orleans Fringe Festival in November 2008. Seat Yourself was staged earlier at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford, MS as part of Theatre Oxford’s national ten-minute play festival. The work won first place in 2007 and was also performed in Paris, France at l’Ogresse. Pompa y Circunstancia was selected as a semi-finalist at the Ninth Annual Theatre Oxford National Ten-Minute Play Contest. Along with a one-act called Porcupine, the three works were read at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, DC) in 2008.

Under the direction of Kerri Rambow, The Quick Brown Fox Jumped over the Lazy Dogs premiered at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival. The work was named as a semi-finalist at the Playwrights’ Center’s PlayLabs Festival (Minneapolis, MN) and was presented at the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage New Play Festival (Washington, DC).

As a member of the Lower Garden Project Theater in New Orleans, Michael wrote and directed Priests Know More – Papal Command Performance, a Catholic folk Mass parody; Hemispheric Dysfunctionalism and the Cortical Titanic, a multi-media performance piece; Rasputin: The Fall of the Romanovs and the Russian Revolution, an historical epic/farce; and No Wonder, a play about the nuclear family and the arms race. He also adapted and directed No Fatties, No Femmes from a short story by Lorrie Moore and directed an original treatment of Georg Buechner’s Woyzeck.

At the Contemporary Arts Center, Michael directed Ron Tavel’s Screen Test and The Life of Juanita Castro and collaborated on an anti-war performance piece called The Dream of Reason, inspired by the first Gulf War and the paintings of Goya. He wrote a libretto for a children’s opera, Jack and the Beanstalk, for the Metro Pelican Opera Company, and has appeared as an actor and collaborator in productions with The Dog and Pony Theatre Company and Doorika—all in New Orleans. Michael is a member of the Dramatist Guild and formerly a member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s Playwrights PlayGround (Washington, DC).

For an in-depth interview exposing Michael and Kerri’s torrid friendship, please click here.

For an abridged, portable discussion of the playwright’s influences and perspectives on the lively arts, please click here.

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