The Subtext - Brian James Polak

The Subtext. Episode 6: Jonathan Caren

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A podcast where playwrights talk to playwrights about the things usually left unsaid. In a conversation that dives into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires and — ultimately — what makes writers tick. 

In this episode Brian talks to Jonathan Caren, author of the 2014 Ovation Award winning The Recommendation. They discuss how early exposure to art influences life choices, writing for both TV and stage, and the influence of an eccentric uncle, while Brian’s dog watches, hoping to add her two cents.

jonathan carenJONATHAN CAREN‘s plays have been developed at theaters across the country including M.T.C. Roundabout, E.S.T., Rattlestick, New Group, Williamstown, Ars Nova, Pasadena Playhouse, Keen Company, Colt Coeur, Woodshed, Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, Primary Stages, Rogue Machine as well as developmentally at The Lark, New York Stage and Film, The Jewish Plays Project, Partial Comfort and in The Samuel French OOB Festival and The Old Vic in London.

The Recommendation was produced by The Old Globe, The Flea and The IAMA Theater Company amongst others. It won the Craig Noel Award for best new play. His play Need to Know is currently receiving its world premiere at Rogue Machine and was selected as an L.A. Times’ Critics Choice. Catch The Fish won Most Outstanding Play at the NY Fringe. IAMA will premiere his next play, The House That Jake Built, in early 2017.

He is currently a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group at Primary Stages, and is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, New York Stage and Film Founder’s Award Winner, a two time recipient of a Fellowship to SPACE @ Ryder Farm, a two-time Lecomte du Nouy award winner and a recipient of the Theater Publicus Prize for Dramatic Fiction. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award, a nominee for the Otis Guerney New American Playwright’s Award. His feature adaptation of The Morning The Sun Fell Down will be released in 2016.

He is a member of The IAMA Theater Company, Partial Comfort and a graduate of The Juilliard School and Vassar College where he studied mythology and religion.

Reach The Subtext at, or on Twitter @SubtextPodcast.

Brian James Polak

Brian James Polak

Brian is originally from New Hampshire and he has a tattoo to prove it. Some of his plays have been published in Smith & Kraus anthologies, and his embarrassing childhood poetry has been published in Mortified: Love is a Battlefield. He is a member of The Playwrights Union and received his MFA from the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Go to to learn more about his work. Follow him on Twitter @bejaypea.