Bernard, Kenneth 1930-
BERNARD, Kenneth 1930-
PERSONAL: Born May 7, 1930, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Otis and Mary (Travaglini) Bernard; married Elaine Reiss (a teacher), September 2, 1952; children: Lucas, Judd, Kate. Ethnicity: "French, German, Italian, American Indian." Education: City College (now City College of the City University of New York), B.A., 1953; Columbia University, M.A., 1956, Ph.D., 1962.
CAREER: Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, instructor, 1959-62, assistant professor, 1962-66, associate professor, 1967-70, professor of English, 1971-2003. New York Theater Strategy, vice president, 1974—. Consultant to state arts granting agencies in New York, 1974-75, Massachusetts, 1975, Wisconsin, 1975, and Maryland, 1978. Military service: U.S. Army, 1953-55.
AWARDS, HONORS: Grant from Office for Advanced Drama Research, 1971; Guggenheim play writing fellowship, 1972-73; New York Creative Artist Public Service grants, 1973, 1976; Rockefeller Foundation play writing grant, 1975; fiction grant, National Endowment for the Arts, 1978.
The Moke-Eater, produced in New York, NY, 1968.
Night Club, produced in New York, NY, 1970.
The Monkeys of the Organ Grinder, produced in New York, NY, 1970.
Night Club and Other Plays (contains Night Club, TheLovers, The Monkeys of the Organ Grinder, The Moke-Eater, Mary Jane, and The Giants in the Earth), Winter House (New York, NY), 1971.
Mary Jane, produced in New York, NY, 1973.
How We Danced while We Burned, produced in Yellow Springs, OH, 1974.
King Humpy, produced in New York, NY, 1975.
The Sixty Minute Queer Show, with music by John Braden, produced in New York, NY, 1977.
La Justice; or, The Cock That Crew, with music by John Braden, produced in New York, NY, 1979.
La Fin du Cirque, produced in New York, NY, 1984.
The Panel, produced in New York, NY, 1984.
Play with an Ending; or, Columbus Discovers theWorld, produced in New York, NY, 1984.
How We Danced while We Burned [and] La Justice; or, The Cock That Crew, Asylum Arts (Santa Maria, CA), 1990.
We Should. . . (A Lie), produced in New York, NY, 1992.
Curse of Fool: Three Plays, Asylum Arts (Santa Monica, CA), 1992.
(Final scene) Why She Would Not (unfinished play by George Bernard Shaw), produced in New York, NY, 2001.
Two Stories, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1973.
The Maldive Chronicles, Performing Arts Journal Publications (New York, NY), 1987.
From the District File, Fiction Collective 2 (Boulder, CO), 1992.
The Baboon in the Nightclub: A Poem, Asylum Arts (Santa Monica, CA), 1994.
Clown at Wall: A Kenneth Bernard Reader, Confrontation Press (New York, NY), 1996.
The War of the Footnotists and Endnotists, Perishable Press (Mount Horeb, WI), 1996.
The Qui Parle Play and Poems, Asylum Arts (Paradise, CA), 1999.
Work appears in anthologies, including Playwrights for Tomorrow 10, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1973; and Theatre of the Ridiculous, Performing Arts Journal Publications (New York, NY), 1979, revised and expanded edition, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1998. Contributor of fiction, poetry, and drama to New American Review, Paris Review, Poetry New York, Harper's, Massachusetts Review, Minnesota Review,Penthouse, Grand Street,Salmagundi, and Fiction International. Fiction editor, Confrontation, 1977—.
Collections of Bernard's manuscripts are housed at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts, New York, NY, and at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
SIDELIGHTS: Michael Feingold, writing in Contemporary Dramatists, found that "the world-picture contained in [Kenneth Bernard's] plays is essentially that of a continuous nightmare . . . the emotional thrust of the material is constantly the same: towards revealing the sheer ludicrous horror of existence. . . . Bernard has carried the Artaudian project of raising and exorcizing the audience's demons about as far as it is likely to get through the theatrical metaphor."
Bernard told Contemporary Dramatists: "I like to think of my plays as metaphors, closer to poetic technique (the coherence of dream) than to rational discourse. I am not interested in traditional plot or character development. My plays build a metaphor; when the metaphor is complete, the play is complete."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Brecht, Stefan, The Original Theatre of New York, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), 1978.
Contemporary Dramatists, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.
Skloot, Robert, The Darkness We Carry: The Drama of the Holocaust, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1988.
Performing Arts Journal, spring-summer, 1978.
Witz: Journal of Contemporary Poetics, spring, 1997.