Detroit

New neighbors, Kenny and Sharon, just moved in next door to Mary and Ben. Both couples are at a crossroads. Ben is out of work and exploring an entrepreneurial opportunity, while Sharon and Kenny are getting back on their feet after meeting each other in a rehab facility for major substance abuse. The suburban life Mary and Ben know is beginning to itch, while Kenny and Sharon are grasping for stability. Mary and Ben invite the new neighbors over for dinner to become acquainted. This sparks a bond that inflames four lives. Their backyard barbeques ignite into a delirious bacchanal which is all masked by suburban shrubbery.

Not necessarily set in Detroit, but rather any first-ring suburb of America, Detroit explores the modern definition of neighbor, the Thoreauvian impulse to return to the primal woods, the uncertainty of the middle-class, the quest for second chances.

Mary, everyday really is a new day. But Mary, I open my eyes every morning and all I want is a pipe to smoke. It's like there's a fire burning inside of my head, Mary, and the pipe is the water that will put it out... in the middle of this burning I am supposed to envision my life. I'm supposed to set goals and maybe take night classes and expand my horizons. And I guess that works, Mary, I guess so. But to be honest I feel like the real opportunities fall into your lap. Like winning the lottery or someone's rich Uncle needing a personal assistant. That almost happened to me once, Mary. And everything would have been different.

Lisa D'Amour was initially inspired by the ice-breaker her brother uses at parties: "Alright everybody, one question: If you could have any other job than the job you have now, what would it be?" Initially responses are superficial. "I'd be a quarterback in the NFL! I'd be independently wealthy!" When forced to think of the question in realistic terms the responses open doors to meaningful conversations. D'Amour wrote: "They start talking about the major they ditched in college because the course of study wasn't practical. Or the shelf of archaeology books they keep at home. Most often, people totally surprise you with their dream career, and their reasons for wanting it. Everyone has a secret self. A self they desperately want to be. A self they believe they will never get to be."

Written in 2009, Detroit was first premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2010. From there Detroit has been a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize award as well as the Susan Blackburn Smith award. It is this year's winner of the Obie Award for Best New American Play. It has premiered in London, New York, and all across the country regionally.

Lisa D'Amour is a playwright and interdisciplinary artist. She received her M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a core member of the Playwrights' Center and a recent alumna of New Dramatists.

Her plays have been commissioned and produced by theaters across the country, including The Women's Project, Playwrights' Horizons, Children's Theater Company (Minneapolis), Steppenwolf Theater Company (Chicago) and the Royal National Theater (London). She is the recipient of the 2008 Alpert Award for the Arts in theater and the 2011 Steinberg Playwright Award. Lisa has also received fellowships from the Jerome and McKnight Foundations, an independent artist commission from NYSCA (for Stanley 2006, created with her brother Todd D'Amour) and an NEA / TCG Playwrights' Residency (to create Hide Town with Infernal Bridegroom Productions).

In 2008, Lisa wrote and directed a performance for visual artist SWOON's Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, a flotilla of six boats created from salvaged materials that navigated the Hudson River in August 2009, performing in riverfront parks from Troy, NY to New York City.

She is one half of the OBIE-Award winning performance duo PearlDamour, whose work has been presented by HERE Arts Center, PS122, The Whitney Museum of Art, the Walker Arts Center and the FuseBox Festival. PearlDamour is known for creating interdiscplinary, often site-specific works which range from the intimate to large scale. These include How to Build a Forest, an 8-hour performance installation created with visual artist Shawn Hall (The Kitchen, New York, 2011), Terrible Things, a dance theater work at PS122 in New York City in collaboration with choreographer Emily Johnson. Bird Eye Blue Print, a performance/tour through a vacant office suite in the World Financial Center across from ground zero in New York City (2007), LIMO (commissioned by the Whitney Museum) performed in the large glass atrium of the Altria building in NYC (2004). SLABBER was an itinerant solo performance for apartments, basements, lecture halls etc. performed in Austin, New Orleans, Chicago, Providence and New York. In 2005, they created LandMARK, a 24-hour continuous system of interlocking performances designed for the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. This public art work, created with Katie Pearl and five artists of different disciplines, included performance-tours, dance pieces, installations, spectacle-processions and instruction performances that allowed audiences to participate. From 2002-2005, they created and toured Nita & Zita, a performance about two showgirls from Hungary living in New Orleans, performed by Katie with Kathy Randels, with Lisa directing. Lisa, Katie and Kathy each received a Village Voice OBIE Award for Nita & Zita. With PearlDamour, she is a four- time recipient of project funding from the Rockefeller MAP Fund and a 2009 Creative Capital grantee.

D'Amour sits on The Catastrophic Theatre's advisory board. She lives with her husband, Brendan Connelly, in New Orleans and Brooklyn.