A Conversation with Pultizer Nominated Playwright



photo of rajiv joseph

The Miami University Department of Theatre welcomes Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright and Miami University alum Rajiv Joseph as the 2021 Cromer/Flory Artist-in-Residence. Joseph’s Obie Award-winning play, Describe the Night, closed MU Theatre’s Digital Reading Series, he will facilitate a public talk in partnership with Miami University’s Performing Arts Series and conduct a writing workshop for student writers. 

Joseph graduated from Miami University in 1996 with a B.A. in Creative Writing, where he was also a member of the award-winning Men’s Glee Club and a capella group, The Cheezies. He was named a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. He also won an Obie Award for Best New American Play for his play Describe the Night, featured in MU Theatre’s Digital Reading Series. The Department of Theatre created the series to present new works that provide unique perspectives on our contemporary moment, shine a light on injustice, and share stories from underrepresented voices. 

The Rajiv Joseph Writing Workshop will focus on beginnings. It might be the first line, the first page, or the first scene of a script. Beginnings are crucial because they promise an audience or a reader what is to follow. The Department of Theatre chair, Julia Guichard, said that she is “delighted to announce a writing workshop with our Cromer Flory guest artist for 2021, Rajiv Joseph. Rajiv has extensive experience writing for theatre, film, and television, and I hope our students take advantage of this amazing opportunity!”

Betty Schiewetz Cromer, Miami ’41, and her sister, Mary Eleanor Schiewetz Flory, Miami ’39, believed that fine arts were an essential part of their undergraduate experience. In honor of his sisters, Richard Schiewetz established an endowment for such a program with the Miami University Foundation, creating the Cromer/Flory Artist-in-Residence Fund. Each year, the fund supports a campus visit by an individual who enjoys a distinguished career as a performing musician, professional actor, director, or artist. 

Describe the Night, available through April 10.

by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Stephen Stocking

Set in Russia over the course of 90 years, this thrilling and epic new play traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth, and conspiracy theories. In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel wandered the countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashed in the Russian city of Smolensk.

CW: This production is set within a specific historical context and contains themes/language that are potentially offensive and disturbing as part of that historical context (anti-semitism, ableism, homophobic slurs).

MU Theatre Digital Reading Series Playlist.

Rajiv Joseph Artist Talk

Rajiv Joseph's virtual talk will be held Thursday, April 15, at 8:30 p.m. It is open to the public and will give attendees a deeper understanding of the playwright and his work including the intriguing world of Describe the Night. More details will be made available closer to the date,