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 brianjamespolak.com to learn more about his work. Follow him on Twitter @bejaypea.

The Subtext. Episode 24: Dan O’Brien

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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 speaks with playwright and poet Dan O’Brien about finding one’s roots, performing with an Irish accent (in front of an Irish audience), and crafting a narrative out of real life.


DAN O’BRIEN is a 2015-16 Guggenheim Fellow in Drama & Performance Art. His play The Body of an American, winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, as well as the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, was produced off-Broadway in 2016 at the Cherry Lane Theatre by Primary Stages, in London at the Gate Theatre, and around the US in recent years at the Wilma Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Theatre J, and Stage Left Theatre. His other plays have been produced at theaters including Second Stage Theatre, The Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Page 73 Productions, Geva Theatre Center, and elsewhere. O’Brien is currently under commission from Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles to write a play about Syria and Hollywood, an American Revolutions joint-commission from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater on the history of guns in America, and a commission from Portland Center Stage. Dan O’Brien: Plays One is forthcoming from Oberon in the UK in 2017. O’Brien’s three collections of poetry, published in the US and the UK, are War Reporter (winner of the UK’s Fenton-Aldeburgh Prize), Scarsdale, and New Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actor and writer Jessica St. Clair, and their daughter Isobel. www.danobrien.org


Reach The Subtext at thesubtextpodcast@gmail.com, or on Twitter @SubtextPodcast.

Shakesqueer – A Queer, Feminist Reading

“We know from his plays that he struggled intimately with the social conditions that produce identity in the first place. A queer reading of Shakespeare dwells not on the orientation of the man but rather of the works. And Shakespeare’s works are queer AF.”

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