A playwright whose work has been featured at the Old Globe has been named one of the 2014 recipients of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius grants.”
Hunter, of New York, “is a playwright who crafts moving portraits of unlikely protagonists and explores the human capacity for empathy through the prism of his characters’ struggles,” according to the foundation.
The $625,000 award will be paid out to Hunter and each of the other 20 other recipients over five years. It is structured to allow winners the “maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions” foundation officials said in a news release.
Hunter’s works include The Few, which premiered almost one year ago at the Old Globe. His other past plays are:
A Bright New Boise (2010) in which disappointed characters seek various forms of transcendence and The Whale (2012), about Charlie, an instructor whose morbid obesity is juxtaposed by his focus on the literary classic Moby Dick.
He has said he focuses on marginalized characters to try “to get at these big ideas about faith and doubt and connection.”
He has had two new plays this year, Rest, which premiered at South Coast Repertory in March, and A Great Wilderness, opened at the Seattle Reportory Theatre in January.
According to the foundation, Hunter’s “quietly captivating dramas confront the polarizing and socially isolating aspects of contemporary life across the American landscape.”
Hunter received his B.F.A. from New York University, followed by an M.F.A. rom the University of Iowa in 2007 and an Artist Diploma from Juilliard’s Playwrights Program.
The other venues that have produced his plays include Playwrights Horizons, Victory Gardens and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
The 2014 class of MacArthur grantees includes Jennifer L. Eberhardt, a Stanford University social psychologist, and three honorees from Illinois, a historian an environmental engineer and a materials scientist.
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