Lark's Lloyd Suh Inducted into New Dramatists
We try not to toot our own horn here at The Lark. But in this case, what can we say...we're proud! On September 12, 2016, Lloyd Suh, playwright and Lark Director of Artistic Programs was inducted into the Resident Playwright Company at New Dramatists. His inductee speech was given by playwright, friend, and former Lark staffer, Matthew Paul Olmos. Read the full speech below! Congratulations, Lloyd!
I saw this scene in 2007, I hope Lloyd doesn’t cringe that I’m bout to read from it. In the scene, a regretful father speaks to his daughter on the side of the road; he says: “When you think of water, as a concept, what do you think about? Practical uses? Chemical equation of periodic elements? No, you think texture. Sensory recognition, feeling. What matters. In this life and world. Are feelings. A wash of water, how it feels. The love of a daughter, how that feels. The regret of wasted time, and what that does to a man.”
That moment has stayed with me through the years. I’ll randomly think of it sometimes. Because Lloyd’s writing reaches me in a very human way; regardless if the play I’m watching is about the history within a Korean-American family, or the wild of Jesus while in India, or a murder mystery deconstruction of cultural stereotype. Lloyd has an intelligence to his writing that inspires me to be more intelligent. And the heart Lloyd writes with sends me home considering people and relationships in my life that I perhaps should give more attention to.
Lloyd is also a fierce advocate for writers at The Lark, where we used to work next to each other. He is meticulous there in making sure that each initiative is always guided by what a playwright needs, and much like New Dramatists, if a playwright needs something that hasn’t been done before, Lloyd will find a way. Thought at times, when Lloyd used to get stressed at Lark, he would crawl onto the floor and lay down underneath his desk.
I asked some colleagues to give me a sentence or two about Lloyd:
From Mike Lew, “Lloyd's obsession with exploring the made-up construct of "Asian America" has sparked some dazzling plays and inspired a generation of writers to follow him, like a Korean Tom Sawyer who gets us all to paint a fence that doesn't exist.”
From Mona Monsour, “Lloyd as a writer is intrepid and fearless, and his plays take you to places you don't see coming, veering from the epic to the intimate in an instant.”
From Susan Stanton, “You think you are on a kind of fantastical journey, you are entertained, you are laughing your ass off. Then Lloyd does something, I don't know how, suddenly the entire story prisms, and it's about fatherhood, or the nature of home. His writing suddenly deepens into something incredibly poignant, unexpected, and the tears come. I do not know how he does it.”
From John Eisner, “As a dramatist, Lloyd Suh transfigures what is most awkward about being human into experiences of profound dignity and truth. He writes about love and duty, about families and communities struggling to do what is just, and about people transforming their mundane lives into journeys of hope and possibility. His characters speak from the heart, which is what makes them so vulnerable - and, human, and funny - and why we see ourselves in them. Lloyd himself is wise as Yoda, charming as Fred Astaire, and playful as a teenager. Behind the sheepish grin, he is also sly and subversive, keeping us guessing, throwing us curves and surprises, replacing what we had come to expect with offbeat syncopation or a completely different beat. ”
From David Henry Hwang, "I'm always grateful for Lloyd's immense talent, his commitment to progressive change, and most of all, his plays, which crackle with wit, intelligence, and bold theatricality."
From Rajiv Joseph, “Look, for example, at Lloyd’s play Jesus in India. It has one foot in ancient mysticism, and another foot in sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. And there the play stands (as well as Lloyd himself) balanced, and at home, with the twin, human yearnings for enlightenment and weed.”
From Carla Ching, “Lloyd's combination of tender, funny, and incisive just wrecks me every time. He feels more for his characters than just about any playwright I've ever met. Which makes us feel more for them.”
From A. Rey Pamatmat, “Lloyd's plays present things I understand intellectually as things I can understand viscerally, so it's not just my mind that knows something must change or be repaired or demands examination — my whole body knows it.”
From Lucy Thurber, “A multi-layered kaleidoscope of character, philosophy, history, humor, politics, race, family and fun. He is brilliant, moving, inspiring, exciting and there is no one else like Lloyd Suh!"
From Andrea Thome, “I call Lloyd 'The Godfather.' Not only because he knows everything --and I owe him everything-- but because Lloyd, besides being a brilliant, always humane writer, has the ability to see the larger web, to see what people want and need and how they affect each other, and he's so fucking generous that he uses this dangerous knowledge for the good of his fellow writers. (For now). So I kiss his ring.”
And from me, Lloyd, I’ve loved watching each of your new works throughout the years, and though I miss our times sitting at our desks at The Lark, looking out the window and talking about how what if standing there on top of one of the buildings was Batman. I am so excited that you’ll now have a home in New Dramatists so you can stop laying underneath your Lark desk, and come lay on the couch here instead. Welcome!