Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

April 2, 2012, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Merrimack Repertory Theatre | Tags: , ,


Michael Hollinger

Michael Hollinger is a playwright hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Formerly a violist, he received a Bachelor of Music in performance from Oberlin Conservatory in 1984, and later a Master of Arts in Theatre from Villanova in 1989. Hollinger is quoted as saying, “Plays are music to me; characters are instruments, scenes are movements; temp, rhythm and dynamics are critical; and melody and counterpoint are always set in relief by rests—beats, pauses , the spaces in between”

Playwright Michael Hollinger says that the inspiration for Ghost-Writer came from an anecdote about Henry James and his secretary who typed his stories as he dictated them. As the story goes, the two became very close and when James died, the secretary claimed to continue receiving dictation from him. “My mother had died shortly before I encountered this story, and, through conversations with my father, I began thinking about ‘the presence of absence’ — that is, the power that a departed loved one holds over us, and how we negotiate the space left by that person,” says Hollinger. He also states that he found inspiration in reflecting upon the creative process behind writing a play.

Hollinger has seen a great deal of success as a playwright with such works as Opus, Tooth and Claw, Red Herring, Incorruptible, An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Boeuf, and Tiny Island. Hollinger has received the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Fund for New American Plays, a Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play, the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award, a commission from the Ensemble Studio/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has also written three short films for PBS and co-authored the full-length film Philadelphia Diary.


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