Written and directed by Richard Maxwell
The Institute of Contemporary Arts is pleased to present the world premiere of QUEENS ROW
, a new play by celebrated New York director and playwright Richard Maxwell. QUEENS ROW
is commissioned and produced by the ICA, and marks the director’s first UK theatre premier.
Maxwell describes his approach as ‘staged writing, dialogue between mostly static figures, favouring an American archetype, often accompanied by irony.’ His plays often revolve around a small group of people held within a contained architecture, their poetically direct interactions revealing authenticity, integrity and problems. Relationships between Maxwell’s characters and their words are considered, yet strikingly indeterminate. Set in a near future where the U.S. has been thrown into full-scale civil war, QUEENS ROW
concerns a man’s absence as it affords three women – mother, lover and daughter – the opportunity to re-evaluate their perspectives on belief, security and class.
Maxwell founded the theatre company New York City Players in 1999, and his influential body of work encompasses over twenty plays written for stage, presented in galleries, and realised as films. His protagonists include Rosemary, working as an intake counsellor in a rehab centre in Good Samaritans
(2004), and Cosmo, managing the career of a jaded boxer in The Evening
(2015). These complex representations of cultural archetypes such as the hero and anti-hero are enfolded by narratives that veer between social realism and the historical and metafictional. Juxtaposing realities, Maxwell regularly works with non-professional actors and occasionally employs rudimentary robots as performers. The structure of his work often involves a degree of introspection, rhythmically and lyrically informed by the use of lo-fi music and song.
Maxwell’s work has often responded to the spatial and viewing conditions of contemporary art and theatre spaces, adhering all the while to the parameters of a stage. QUEENS ROW
exemplifies the ICA’s renewed commitment to supporting new work in theatre, performance, dance and music. As part of this renewal, Maxwell has initiated a series of physical changes to the ICA Theatre.
Richard Birkett in conversation with Richard Maxwell