Kirk Lynn lives in Austin, TX with his wife, Carrie Fountain, their daughter, Olive Lynn Fountain, and their son, Judah Lynn Fountain. Kirk is the Head of the Playwriting and Directing Program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. Kirk writes plays, generally with the Rude Mechs theatre collective. He is one of six artistic directors for the Rudes.
The Rude Mechs production of Fixing King John will mark the launch of the ‘Fixing Shakespeare’ series: an attempt to “fix” Shakespeare’s “bad” plays by cutting down the casts, translating them into contemporary parlance, and adding a shit-ton of curse words.
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||November 2013|
This play is free, to be produced without royalty after the Rude Premiere in Nov. of 2013. Please fill out the contact form to request permission to produceDownload Script
THE ANIMALS is a more traditionally narrative play about a middle-aged couple deciding to live like wild animals within the confines of their home. This means living without electric lights or alarm clocks, going to bed when they’re tired, waking up when they’re hungry, and attacking one another whenever they’re overcome with sexual desire.
This play is currently un-produced. Contact Corinne Hayoun at CAA for production rights.Download Script
Carla agrees to marry Reggie on one condition: to break down any walls between them, they’ll reenact their individual sexual histories with one another, good and bad, for better or worse. Years later, these stories bring unexpected hope to their household, now forced to confront those barriers a second time. Kirk Lynn’s tough-love comedy navigates the boundaries of intimacy, finding startling empathy in the story of a father hell-bent on saving his family.
|Playwrights Horizons||New York, NY||April 2014|
BUM PHILLIPS is a world premiere operatic work inspired by the life of retired National Football League coach, O.A. “Bum” Phillips, and produced by Monk Parrots, a New York-based nonprofit performing arts organization.
|La MaMa||New York, NY||March 2014|
Part Pygmalion, part Busby Berkley, part self-help lexicon, Stop Hitting Yourself borrows from the plots of 1930′s musicals to dig deep into the contemporary conservative dilemma: how to honor steely individualism without disavowing the virtue of charity — all the while tap-dancing around a queso fountain. Commissioned by LCT3, Stop Hitting Yourself will be a world premiere.
|LCT3||New York, NY||January 2014|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||April 2013|
The Method Gun explores the life and techniques of Stella Burden, actor-training guru of the 60s and 70s, whose sudden emigration to South America still haunts her most fervent followers. Ms. Burden’s training technique, The Approach (often referred to as “the most dangerous acting technique in the world”), fused Western acting methods with risk-based rituals in order to infuse even the smallest role with sex, death and violence. A play about the ecstasy and excesses of performing, the dangers of public intimacy and the incompatibility of truth on stage and sanity in real life.
|Colony Theater||Miami, FL||February 2013|
|Vanderbilt University||Nashville, TN||February 2013|
|Walker Arts Center||Minneapolis, MN||January 2013|
|Middlebury College||Middlebury, VT||January 2013|
|Brisbane Powerhouse||Brisbane, Australia||February 2012|
|Center Theatre Group||Los Angeles, CA||June 2011|
|Dance Theatre Workshop||New York, NY||March 2011|
|Yale Repertory Theatre||New Haven, CT||February 2011|
|Wexner Center||Columbus, OH||October 2010|
|Emerson College||Boston, MA||October 2010|
|Humana Festival||Louisville, KY||March 2010|
|DiverseWorks||Houston, TX||April 2010|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||January 2009|
|The Long Center||Austin, TX||April 2008|
Discover the community you never knew you had through How Much Is Enough. The play explores our fundamental concepts of value—quantitatively through our relations to money and qualitatively by asking what we hold dear. The piece itself is built entirely out of questions posed by three performers to audience members, to each other, to the universe, and then some, about how we live our lives, what plans we’ve made for the future and what advice we can offer one another as we attempt to create lives of value.
|St. Anne’s Warehouse||New York, NY||November 2011|
|Arts Emerson||Boston, MA||September 2011|
I’ve Never Been So Happy, with music and lyrics by Austin Experimental Punk Grand Wizard Peter Stopschinski (Brown Whornet, Golden Hornet Project), and book and lyrics by Austin Experimental Theatre Mascot Kirk Lynn, fluxuates freely between high art and Hee-Haw, treating both with respect. The music pits a “Grand Ole Opry” style West against an “El Topo” style West. The writing butts lyric poetry up against bar jokes with finesse. The evening challenges what it means to “go to the theater.”
|Center Theatre Group||Los Angeles, CA||September 2011|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||April 2011|
|Arena Stage||Washington, DC||January 2011|
|The University of Texas||Austin, TX||June 2009|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||September 2009|
CHERRYWOOD was written as a simple list of lines, a play without characters, allowing the actors to assemble their roles from the lines they chose to speak. The result is a play so wild it’s feral. Beginning as a housewarming, the play careens into a recruitment party where werewolves cut frustrated partygoers from the herd, one-by-one, offering personal transformation in the form of a glass of milk. But someone brought a gun to the party and hiding it will only randomize the victim.
|Mary Arrchie Theatre Co.||Chicago, IL||July 2010|
|Ensemble Theater Festival||Blue Lake, CA||June 2005|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||November 2004|
This play is free, to be produced without royalty. Please fill out the contact form to request permission to produce.Download Script
A World Premiere! This extraordinary new play is based on the true story of Dutch Jewish writer, Etty Hillesum. As WWII engulfs her native Amsterdam, Etty is confronted with a remarkable choice: to hold onto a kind of integrity, or to save her own life. With the help of a charismatic teacher, she enters into the emerging science of psychology and wrestles to answer the demons of her time by looking within herself. The Wrestling Patient brings to light Etty’s secret history of musical evenings, therapeutic wrestling matches, black-market strawberries, and midnight prayers. Her story is one of an amazing transformation during one of the darkest hours in history.
|SpeakEasy Stage Co.||Boston, MA||March 2009|
|Museo de los Ninos||San Jose, Costa Rica||September 2008|
curst & Shrewd’s “Dr. Narrator” joins Sex Pistols’ manager and self-proclaimed mastermind, Malcolm McLaren, to recount an alternative history of the 20th century via the Sex Pistols, the Cabaret Voltaire, the May ’68 riots, and a handful of medieval heretics. Lipstick Traces is a physically ecstatic and intellectually nervy theatrical vision of “movements in culture that raised no monuments…movements that barely left a trace.”
Work is a sin. Work is for suckers. No boring leisure! Celebrate the millennium by getting the hell out of the 20th century. NEVER WORK!! This is not nihilism. It’s a call to…something else.
|Pavement Group||Chicago, IL||May 2008|
|Burning Coal||Raleigh, NC||April 2005|
|SommerSzene||Salzburg, Austria||July 2003|
|UCLA Performing Arts||Los Angeles, CA||October 2002|
|On The Boards||Seattle, WA||September 2002|
|The Wexner Center||Columbus, OH||January 2002|
|The Walker Art Center||Minneapolis, MN||January 2002|
|Legion Arts||Cedar Rapids, IA||January 2002|
|DiverseWorks||Houston, TX||January 2002|
|The Ohio Theatre||New York, NY||May 2001|
‘Get Your War On’, the hilarious and timely theater adaptation of David Rees internet comic strip of the same name, savagely attacks the irreverent nationalism of Post-9/11 America.
|Espoo Theatre||Helsinki, Finland||October 2007|
|Bumbershoot||Seattle, WA||September 2007|
|Edinburgh Fringe||Edinburgh, Scotland||August 2007|
|Galway Arts Festival||Galway, Ireland||July 2007|
|59 E 59th||New York, NY||January 2007|
|Woolly Mammoth||Washington, D.C.||October 2006|
|Ballroom Marfa||Marfa, TX||October 2006|
|Live Arts Festival||Philadelphia, PA||September 2006|
|DiverseWorks||Houston, TX||September 2006|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||January 2006|
Part suspense thriller, part magic act, part instructional seminar, MAJOR BANG is a dark and comic take on our new era of global (in)security. Sprung from the contents of a backpack left on the subway, the piece samples Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and the true story of David Hahn, a boy scout who built a nuclear reactor in his parents’ garage to earn his Atomic Energy Badge. Add in the boy’s over-caffeinated father, a seductive food irradiation executive, a deranged scoutmaster – Major Bang himself, scenes from The Bodyguard, and a cameo appearance by Lenny Bruce, back from the dead to discuss the war on terror. All are performed by a magician and a DJ, who in turn are performed by Steve Cuiffo and Maggie Hoffman. The result is a 75-minute ride through 21st century concepts of fear – both real and manufactured.
|Sydney Opera House||Sydney, Australia||July 2007|
|Spoleto Festival||Charleston, SC||May 2007|
|Wexner Center||Columbus, OH||October 2006|
|On the Boards||Seattle, WA||October 2006|
|St. Ann’s Warehouse||New York, NY||January 2006|
|The Ohio Theater||New York, NY||August 2005|
This original production by Rude Mechs is an investigation of revenge tales and the deeper culture of revenge with a look at how we tell stories today. Inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s “Decameron”, soap operas, and an actual haunting of Rude Mechs’ performance space, The Off Center, this multi-disciplinary piece serves up a bitter ghost, fresh bread, and revenge to an unsuspecting audience gathered at our table for a dish best served cold.
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||April 2006|
A wickedly funny and provocative dark comedy, PALE IDIOT begins on the outskirts of a town with a problem: they have an idiot in their midst that is threatening social order and a Health Inspector is on his way to investigate and eradicate. The Idiot and all those who might be “infected” have been quarantined to be tested by the Health Inspector. The “Idiot Test” is the real center of this play — each level is a mad linguistic and physical hurdle where the answers are right but the questions are somehow wrong. PALE IDIOT is a psychological drama Foucault might have written if he had seen more Jerry Lewis films. It investigates oppressive power structures and offers some daring possibilities for their removal. And all of it builds to a point absurdists don’t often reach — closure, and closure of both a magical and apocalyptic sort.
|MadLab Theatre||Columbus, OH||March 2006|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||December 2005|
|UNM Dept. of Theater||Albuquerque, NM||October 2004|
|NYC Fringe Festival||New York, NY||August 2003|
|Waller Creek Auditorium||Austin TX||October 1996|
A haunting, sometimes hysterical, yet sincere meditation on consciousness, “Match-Play” collages liminal texts from the notebooks of preeminent theatre artist Richard Foreman with Ms. Hay’s written score and original text by Kirk Lynn.
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||September 2005|
Jen and Jim are seeking a divorce and the only thing that stands in their way is a box of stuff neither of them wants. A tape recorder, a women’s volleyball trophy, a ceramic duck and a lamp. As they attempt to divide these items a new possibility enters their relationship, the desire for it to end differently, a wish, if you will, that carries Jen back into the past and a possible future. But you know what they say, be careful what you wish for. The pains of new relationships can be just as difficult as failed marriages and fiftieth wedding anniversary can also mark decades of compromise. Still, behind it all a wish for true love remains, but the greatest obstacle to happiness maybe the mistress of wishes herself, the Jinn who can make your wildest dreams come true, if you follow the rules.
|MadLab Theatre||Columbus, OH||August 2010|
|Blue Theatre||Austin, TX||February 2005|
This play is free, to be produced without royalty. Please fill out the contact form to request permission to produce.
Zen Junior High is the story of a school that teaches the precepts of Zen Buddhism to young people. The play opens as a new class of students is leaving home and beginning the journey to the school. Zen Junior High is far away, “across the country, across the mountains and rivers.” The trouble is: none of the students knows exactly which mountains or what river marks the path to the school, and speaking to strangers is strictly forbidden. To begin the journey every student must take a vow “not to talk to strangers and not to talk to friends; the only ones to talk to are fellow students of Zen.” This strange vow of silence causes a lot trouble but challenges each student to make a spiritual leap to overcome the difficulty. Bankei and Tsai Chih recognize each other as fellow students not because of anything the other says, but because of their shared silence. The two become friends in the manner of Laurel and Hardy, exasperating each other as much as helping. Rengetsu and Chiyo-ni are sisters. Both of them long to study Zen, but Rengetsu must return home after she sees her younger sister safely to the school. Their lack of communication is as much a product of jealousy and sibling rivalry as the vow of silence. Shih Chieh, on the other hand, has been an only child her whole life. Her eagerness to make friends with a fellow student of Zen makes her gullible to a suspicious character she meets on the train who claims to have the same name and the same destination as Shih Chieh. Is this the mysterious laundry bandit for which the chief of police is searching? As the students get closer and closer, Master Bo-Dee attempts to prepare the school with the help of his bumbling manservant, Bobo. The students’ paths begin to intersect, and the vow of silence is challenged by wild obstacles and overcome with wilder antics, including charades and slapstick. Based on Zen stories and koans, Zen Junior High is a classic road story in which the journey is the destination.
|HERE Arts Center||New York, NY||November 2004|
Adapted from the Booker Prize winning novel by James Kelman and told in the utterly uncensored vernacular of the Scottish working class, HOW LATE IT WAS, HOW LATE is the rhythmic, profane, and gut-wrenching story of a fist-fighting, alcoholic, ex-con named Sammy. Beaten senseless and blinded by the Glasgow police, Sammy is plunged into a Kafkaesque nightmare in which his girlfriend has disappeared and the police are after him for unspecified crimes. Carrying a sawed-off mop for a blind man’s cane, Sammy brings frantic, foul-mouthed illumination to his dark world where his immediate needs for food, shelter and safety do not destroy his ultimate dream: to escape Scotland to a Texas paradise conjured in his imagination from country western songs.
|Philly Live Arts Festival||Philadelphia, PA||September 2004|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||September 2003|
|The University of Texas||Austin, TX||February 2003|
A semi-biographical, sci-fi homage to Nikola Tesla, a genius inventor who loved pigeons, hated spherical objects and was undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of all time. REQUIEM FOR TESLA is an ecstatic and evocative tribute to the man who gave us alternating current and dreamed of spaceships in a time when even electricity was dangerous magic. Tesla’s impassioned efforts to improve the quality of life for humankind left him straddling a line between genius and insanity. Rude Mechs’ high-voltage stage-collage honoring the genius/madman fuses electrical magic, subconscious desire, and a real message from Mars. A hallucinatory Mark Twain, live music by The Golden Arm Trio, and a spine-tingling Tesla coil all combust in this sci-fi electromagnetic polyphase dynamo play.
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||January 2003|
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||February 2001|
El Paraiso is an elegiac hoedown, a humiliation of pleasures and a tribute to Texas, Our Texas. James Dean has died and finds himself in a limbo that looks remarkably like a Texas whiskey bar where he lingers with three women who embody the Texas towns named for them – Marfa, Mercedes, and Lily Langtry – and the music of the spheres is replaced with some rousing original karaoke. A few drinks in, you might find yourself pondering whether you’ve been in paradise all along and just didn’t know it. If this sounds confusing, fret not desperado, Ludwig Wittgenstein explains it all with text and ideas from his posthumous opus, Philosophical Investigations! All this plus barroom brawls, too much whiskey, live music from Peter Stopschinski & Graham Reynolds and, of course, those mysterious Marfa lights.
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||April 2002|
WAR explores the battlefield of our lives as we fight for what we believe at home and in the office. The copier’s broken again, there’s a ghost in the fax machine, and the cups of coffee are getting smaller and smaller, but how will any of that help us win the Big Contest? This visceral multi-media fantasy – complete with slide projections, a live DJ and hip hop dancing – is a compelling meditation, a bold-faced call to action, and an explosive night of theatre
|The Off Center||Austin, TX||June 2000|
Part I of The Faminly Trilogy, launches this trio of plays with a biopsy of the broken family played out at the dinner table through scenarios of addiction, manipulation and a lust for deliverance. Willsom is planning a dinner in the hopes of reuniting with Naomer after a forty year separation. Naomer, however, is lacing the dinner wine with heavy medication. Their mystic offspring are cooking up a plot to turn back time and reinvent their family. Dinner is served, plans collide and chaos erupts in a volcano of Vaudevillian lava.
|St. Mark’s Studio||New York, NY||May 1995|
|Theatre Hyde Park Theatre||Austin, TX||November 1997|
|Public Domain||Austi, TX||July 1998|
A downright happy dark comedy
|Hyde Park Theatre||Austin, TX||November 1998|
The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Professor, Head of Playwriting/Directing Program, 2013-‐Present
Lecturer, Department of Theatre and Dance, 2010-‐2012
Adjunct Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, 2008-‐2010
Florida State University, Tallahassee
Guest Artist, Department of Theatre and Dance
Master of Fine Arts, Playwriting. James A. Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas at Austin. Secondary Concentration: Fiction, 2004.
Ba, English. University of Texas at Austin, Graduated Cum Laude, 1993.
Open any of the below short texts for creating performances without words, without actors, without anything. Follow the script to fullest extent of your desires. Share a response in any media (a diary, a video, photos, etc.) by providing a link or uploading a file to the submission form below.
Pour yourself a glass of water. Pour that glass of water into another glass. Pour it back and forth. Do this as often as you can. Do it every morning. Do it at night. How many days does the water last? Do it with a group of people. Listen to the sound. Does most of the water disappear by spilling or by
evaporation? What about your life? Does most of it go away because of mistakes you’ve made? Or does most of it go away by the magic of entertainment? What does it take to entertain you?
Is there an elementary school near your house? Is there a sandbox at that elementary school? Even a sandy area under the swing sets will do. Get yourself a hundred dollars in dollar coins. Bury the dollar coins in the sandbox in the middle of the night. Not too deep. Or take the dollar coins to a toy store and buy a hundred plastic dinosaurs and princesses. Bury the dinosaurs and princesses in the sandbox. Depending on how deep you have buried the dinosaurs and princesses, or dollar coins, make a treasure map and photocopy it. Sprinkle the treasure map around the playground like trash. Then sit and wait and watch the performance from your car in the parking lot like a creep.
Learn a dance. Make it up yourself or copy a dance from an awesome music video, ‘Thriller,’ etc. But choose and rehearse a dance until you have it down cold. Then get a device to play music. Have the song you are going to dance to with you at all times. Then have a stranger set an alarm on your phone for a random time in the coming week. 2AM on a Tuesday. 3PM on a Sunday. Whenever this alarm goes off, you must do your dance wherever you are. If it’s at 2AM on a Tuesday, your dance is for your partner. If it’s as 8AM on a Friday, your dance is for those driving down the highway where you have to pull over. If it is at 7PM on a Sunday, your dance is for yourself in the middle of your living room. Tell the story of your jubilation to as many people as you can. Describe the dance. But do not recreate the dance. It was a one time moment of divine madness.
Make a list of all the people you will likely see today. With a black sharpie, write on your body what you really think of each person. Write down who you love. Who you hate. Then put on your clothes and hide these feelings. Record your interactions with these people.
This is a contest of secrecy, trust, and silence. You and a friend both agree to place a red ribbon under your pillows. Then set about over the next week trying to break in to one another’s houses to steal from one another. If you are caught, you must suspend your attempts to break in for 24 hours.
Remember pencil’s? Use a pencil up entirely in real time. Assemble a team. Pass the pencil from person to person. Draw on the floors the walls. Draw lines around people’s feet. Color in whole areas. Sharpen it. Save the shavings. Arrange them. Don’t forget the eraser. Work the pencil down to the nub, until it just can’t be sharpened anymore. Wear the eraser away to nothing. What does the room look like? How long did it take?
At the beginning of your lunch hour, leave a little note somewhere it can be found—taped to the back of a stall in a bathroom, lying on the floor of the elevator, in an envelope labeled ‘urgent’ left in a public space, etc. Ask for something easy. For instance, ask someone to walk to the center of the lobby on the first floor and drop a penny and then pick it up. Or, ask someone to cross 12th street and to hop once in the center of the street as they cross. Then go eat lunch somewhere you can watch and see if you get your show. Even if no one does, you will still get a show as you watch and wait to see if it happens.
Pick up an egg. Carry it as long as you can. Go to work. Go to the bar. Go to sleep with the egg in your hand if you can. If anyone asks what you are doing tell them you’re looking for the most vulnerable part of your life. Ask others for their opinions. Do they think your egg will break at your
most relaxed moment? At the point when your sleep becomes so deep that you forget about the egg and let go and the egg rolls out of your hand onto the hardwood floors? Or do people assume it will be at the point of greatest tension? Driving home from work and someone cuts you off and as you swerve to avoid death you forget about the egg and smash it against the wheel? Offer to email the results. Invite others to participate. Keep track of everyone’s opinion made available to you. For weeks afterwards, notice the places where others thought the egg would break. Notice where the egg actually broke. Notice the conversations you had with people.
Write down your deepest darkest secret. Plant it somewhere no one will see you, but where it will eventually be found. Sticking out from between two library books. Underneath a watermelon in the grocery store. Go back in a week. Go back in a day. Feel some relief that your secret has escaped and is no longer trapped inside you.
Empty out one room of your house, if you have more than one room. If not, use a large cardboard box. This will be your simple room. Spend as much time as you can in the simple room. You may do anything you normally do but if you do it in the simple room you may only bring in one item at a time. You may bring a chair into the simple room for sitting. You may read a book in the simple room, but then no chair, no lamp. Read only during the day. You may eat in the simple room, but no plates, no cutlery. Spend as much time as you can in the simple room. You may write in the simple room. Bring a pencil, the walls will have to be the paper. You can bring a camera into the simple room to take pictures of the walls and to get your writing out of the simple room. You can perform a play in the simple room. If your play has no set and no costumes and no props you can invite in an audience, one person at a time.
Pick an hour of the week, every week and the only rule is for that one hour you cannot be with anyone you know, you cannot be in a place you know and you cannot be doing anything you know how to do. For yourself into other parts of the city, into other people’s lives, into new competencies and failures.
Use this form to submit your response to Kirk: