Eno, Will 1965-
ENO, Will 1965-
PERSONAL: Born 1965. Education: Attended University of Massachusetts.
CAREER: Playwright. Formerly worked as a stockbroker.
AWARDS, HONORS: George Oppenheimer Award, Newsday, 2004, for The Flu Season; Marian Seldes/Garson Kanin fellowship, Theater Hall of Fame, 2004; Helen Merrill Playwriting fellow; Guggenheim fellow; Edward F. Albee Foundation fellow.
Night, Night (screenplay), 2000.
Tragedy: A Tragedy (play), Oberon Books (London, England), 2001.
The Flu Season (play), produced in London, England, 2003.
Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (play; produced at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2004), Oberon Books (London, England), 2004.
(With David Neumann and Hal Hartley) Tough, the Tough (dance drama), produced in New York, NY, 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including Open City, Harper's, Antioch Review, and Quarterly.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Another play.
SIDELIGHTS: Will Eno is an American playwright who had his first success in Great Britain. His work has been produced on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio and onstage at various venues in London. Eno's work has also come into its own in his native country. Reviewers commended his plays The Flu Season and Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), with New York Times critic Charles Isherwood comparing Eno to noted Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, author of Waiting for Godot. Indeed, Eno has identified Beckett as one of the writers whose work compelled him to become a playwright himself. Edward Albee, another esteemed playwright, was quoted in the New York Times as calling Eno's work "intelligent and powerful." He added, "He takes every chance…. He has an awareness of the human condition I wish more people his age had."
Eno came to writing rather late in life, after working as a stockbroker and spending some time as a semiprofessional cyclist riding the Italian circuit. He wrote short stories and plays in his off hours for some time, and eventually devoted himself to writing full-time. His play The Flu Season opened in London in 2003 and was described by a Variety reviewer as "a distinctly Albee-esque meditation on love and death at a time of pain, shot through with a sizable dose of Marivaux." The characters are archetypes, identified only by names such as Man, Woman, Nurse, and Doctor. The play is set in a mental institution, and focuses on two shadowy figures named Prologue and Epilogue, who spend much of their time in darkness at the edge of the stage, emerging to provide commentary on the plot and the creation of the play. Elyse Sommer, reviewing The Flu Season for CurtainUp.com, called this a challenging play for "adventurous theatergoers."
Eno's monologue Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) started out as a study of the Thomas Paine, the Revolutionary War-era writer whose essays generated considerable support for independence from Britain. Yet during the writing process, the work quickly took a direction of its own, as the narrator goes on with dark humor and a philosophical bent about the difficulties of everyday life. Reviewing the play for CurtainUp.com, Jerry Weinstein advised that in describing the play "it's tempting to bandy about words such as existential, metaphysical, and … ontological to describe the style and worldview at work here—but that would give the false impression that the play is disengaged from reality…. Nothing could be further from the truth…. [Eno] has created a memory piece—but one that is indelible." Isherwood commented in his review that this work is "as unassuming in its means as it is astonishing in its impact. It's one of those treasured nights in the theater … that can leave you both breathless with exhilaration and, depending on your sensitivity to meditations on the bleak and beautiful mysteries of human experience, in a puddle of tears. Also in stitches, here and there."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Daily Variety, February 2, 2005, Gabrielle Mitchell-Marell, review of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), p. 7.
Entertainment Weekly, April 1, 2005, Scott Brown, review of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), p. 79.
New York Times, February 2, 2005, Charles Isherwood, review of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing), p. E1; February 27, 2005, Robin Finn, "Nine to Watch, Onstage and Off," section 2, p. 10.
Variety, May 5, 2003, review of The Flu Season, p. 80.
Culturebot.org, http://www.culturebot.org/ (June 13, 2005), review of Tough, the Tough.
CurtainUp.com, http://www.curtainup.com/ (June 13, 2005), Elyse Sommer, review of The Flu Season; Jerry Weinstein, review of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing).
Thom Pain Web site, http://www.thompain.com/ (June 13, 2005), "Will Eno."