Richard Foreman

Richard Foreman is a major figure in the avant-garde theater. Founder and director of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, for which he has written, directed and designed over fifty major productions in New York and Europe from 1968 to 1977, he has also designed and directed many other acclaimed theatrical and operatic productions.

Foreman's uniquely stylized theater is characterized by complex interplays and tensions between spoken language and visual tableaux. Distanced from the audience, with actors functioning like objects in a series of still-lifes, his plays eschew dramatic narrative action.

In translating his theatrical work to video and film, Foreman has created provocative pieces that are at once more intimate and abstract than his stage plays. Employing disruptive, deconstructive devices that puncture the theatrical illusion, these works are distinctive in their rigorously controlled compositions, complex linguistic structures, and intricate collusions of language and image. Minimalist in form, Foreman's works are complex in their labyrinthine layers of textual meaning.

Foreman was born in 1937. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from Yale University. Foreman has received numerous awards for his achievements in theater, including nine Village Voice OBIE Awards, a Rockefeller Foundation Playwrights Grant, a Ford Foundation New American Plays Award, a MacArthur Fellowship and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. In 1988 he received one of the first Distinguished Artists Fellowships in Theater from the National Endowment for the Arts for his "significant contribution to the art form." His plays and essays have been collected in the publications Richard Foreman Plays and Manifestos (1976) and Reverberation Machines, The Later Plays and Essays (1985). Foreman lives in New York.