Utility Emily Schwend, Nicholas Wright

Yale Drama Series
Publication date:
06 Nov 2017
Yale University Press
112 pages: 229 x 140 x 8mm
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The tenth winner of the Yale Drama Series centers on a young mother dealing with life’s many trials

Marking the tenth anniversary of the Yale Drama Series for emerging playwrights, Emily Schwend’s powerful work centers on Amber, a young woman struggling to raise a family in East Texas. Amber is juggling two nearly full-time jobs and three kids. Her on-again, off-again husband Chris is eternally optimistic and charming as hell, but rarely employed. The house is falling apart and Amber has an eight-year-old’s birthday party to plan.
Selected from more than 1,600 entries, Schwend’s newest play—produced by the Amoralists Theatre Company at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in 2016—vividly captures the economic hardships and relationship difficulties faced by so many Americans today. “Utility is a remarkable play: beautifully written and effortlessly powerful,” said contest judge Nicholas Wright. “At every moment the happiness of human lives is put at risk: is there any greater dramatic theme?”

Emily Schwend’s previously produced plays include The Other Thing, Take Me Back, and South of Settling. She is a graduate of Juilliard, a 2014 Tow Foundation Fellow with Second Stage, and a 2016–2017 Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard University.

“‘Utility’ is a skillfully constructed . . . domestic drama about struggling simply to make do. . . . Ms. Schwend offers a close, unblinking look at a moment in the life of a woman who’s treading water as fast as she can, trying to keep her family afloat.”—Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times