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WTF is a play cycle – Pt. 6 – Night Cap

Returning to my former naive B.A. acting studies questions:
They can do that? Of course they can, the mind and hand of a writer has no restrictions. If the writer feels the stories out of Pine City is incomplete and if there is an audience that will watch or read another visit. There will be another piece.


Why would you write more than one play about a certain place? In 2013 the Huntington Theatre interviewed Annie Baker – an American playwright well-known for her Obie Award winning play Circle Mirror Transformation – about her play cycle The Vermont Plays (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Nocturama, Body Awareness). Each play takes place in a fictional town of Shirley, Vermont. The interviewer asks Baker – What is it about Shirley that keeps you coming back? She replies:

I think what keeps me coming back to Shirley is just the fact that I’ve thought about it so much, and so as a result I have a cast of like 600 characters in my mind. When I start writing a new play, it’s very tempting to use some of those characters—characters that were mentioned in passing in other plays, or characters that I’ve just come up with for fun because I’m a crazy person….I will probably continue to write about Shirley for the rest of my life, but hopefully not in such an exclusive and compulsive way. Hopefully if you check in with me five years from now I’ll have branched out a little bit.

For Baker, Shirley has become a sandbox, a familiar place she can construct and develop in different sections that will allow her freedom to explore different aspects of people’s lives.

Are all the same characters in the other pieces? Absolutely not, besides a few mentioned like The Kentucky Cycle and The Elliot Cycle, most cycle plays are merely connected with time and place.

This piece felt so complete, am I missing something else by not reading the others? Most cycle plays are stand alone organisms. It is recommended that all of the plays are to be seen to fully understand what the writer is trying to showcase.

And most importantly: What is a play cycle? A play cycle is an extremely narrow or broad term that…just reread my other posts!

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