Set in 1994 Providence, Rhode Island, a poetry graduate student meets an Iraqi refugee in a bookstore cafe. Their conversation sweeps them across many landscapes, imprints of history, urgent immediacy, and the masquerades of foreboding.

readings at the New Group (NYC) dir. Lisa Peterson; Victory Gardens Theater (Chicago) dir. Loy Arcentas, commissioned by the Playwrights Center 2007 McKnight National Commission (Minneapolis); developed by a Hedgebrook/Alpert award residency (Seattle) http://www.victorygardens.org/content/node/954

"Ruth Margraff is a distinguished innovator capable of bending boundaries in opera and musical theater. Her newest work HARLEQUIN is a pre-911 story of a poet who meets and falls for the leader of an Iraqi opposition group in New England; Margraff's latest promises to be lyrical and sensual, providing a reminder of the world's shape during the last decade of the previous century." ~ City Pages (Minneapolis) Quinton Skinner March 14, 2007~


February 15 - March 23, 2008 at Theatre of Note (Hollywood/Los Angeles) "Night Parachute Battalion" from STADIUM DEVILDARE at Sanctuary's Sweet Cantatas Festival (Brattleboro, VT) May 1-4, 2008


(a burlesque mirror for the summer purgatorio)

"Edgy, confrontational…a seething chambermaid probes the resentments and psychosexual fantasies in the rituals of domination and submission that bind her to an unseen mistress. When an abrupt reversal of power, worthy of Jean Genet, puts her in charge, she mutates into an equally oppressive monster before contemplating the final leveler of human experience.”
~Los Angeles Times~

Published in the November, 2002 issue of American Theatre. http://static.highbeam.com/a/americantheatre/november012002/

Produced by PS122/Hourglass Group, Ltd. February 28 - March 24 (2002) dir. Elyse Singer (New York City); Commissioned by P.S.122 through the Jerome Foundation and NYSCA/Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Excerpt "The Burlesque Flogging" dir. Jim Martin with work by Erik Ehn and Mac Wellman at Bottomsdream for the 2001 Edge of the World Theater Festival (Los Angeles). Developed by: the 2002 Bolshoi Zol Moskva Contemporary American Series (Moscow, Russia); Bottom’s Dream Theater at the 2000 Common Ground Festival by Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theater Projects, dir. Ian Belton in June, 2000 (Los Angeles); New York Theater Workshop and at the Gershwin Hotel by the Hourglass Group dir. Elyse Singer (New York); Perishable Theater's 2002 Textplosion Reading Series January, 2002 (Providence).


(a black box recording of classic disaster)

“The sheer beauty…of Ruth Margraff’s free-wheeling adaptation of the Electra legend about a family crashing and burning creates a hypnotic montage of words and literary images…Rhythm substitutes for tone, so there are no arias to speak of -- rather, soliloquies and overlapping rants – what the author aptly describes as “choral flotsam.” Sophocles’ play is about how the weight of vengeance destroys a family; Margraff’s is about pulling body parts from the wreckage…a discrepancy of style and power that would work against Margraff’s play were it about traditional storytelling and psychology. But it’s not. And it doesn’t.” ~ Los Angeles Weekly ~

“This cascading libretto...spinning emotional and scientific orbits...eloquently subtle symbiosis...Elektra's guttural ravings...of a cunning pattern -- but you can't put it down...more a series of theatrical events musically structured with little regard for stage convention...vocal endurance of a quintet of Diamanda Galases...words would form into motivic images sliding into unison...mesmerizing dynamic of rich material and uncanny...”-~Village Voice~

Published by Divine Fire: Eight Contemporary Playwrights Inspired by the Greeks from Backstage/Watson-Guptill Publications ISBN: 0-8230-8851-0 July (2005). Prdocued by Bottom’s Dream Theater (Los Angeles) premiere, dir. Jim Martin (1999) L.A. Weekly "Pick of the Week" and by Tiny Mythic Theater/Here Arts Center/the Opera Proejct NYC dir. Tim Maner, with live 7-pc. chamber orchestra Originally scored by comp. Matthew Pierce (1996). Developed by the Lincoln Center Library Reading Room Series dir. Liz Diamond.