Justin Maxwell

Assistant Professor (Playwriting)Justin Maxwell

Contact

Phone: 504-280-7213

Email:  jmaxwell@uno.edu

Background

Education: M.F.A., Hamline University

Area of Specialty: Playwriting

Justin Maxwell's play An Outopia for Pigeons premiered to critical acclaim in Minneapolis and went on to a similarly lauded production in New Orleans--it has future readings and productions scheduled in various parts of the country. The show is about Martha Washington, the last passenger pigeon. She was on display in the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History until her death in 1914; now she is in storage at the Smithsonian (and probably moldering). But in the play, she's alive and well, and trying to save her species. But what do you expect from a pigeon who has been reading Foucault? Unfortunately, things get weird and don't go her way. Cotton Mather is in it. And there's a pan-handling sperm whale named Charles Bronson--he's a whale so tough the toughest actor of all time was named after him. Or, one could say, Justin Maxwell's work for the stage is strongly rooted in absurdist aesthetics reimagined in a post-Industrial social idiom. Either way.

Currently in development is a new script tentatively titled "Four Helen," which is a dance/performance art show built on interviews Justin conducted with his grandmother and great aunt not long before their deaths. The script is an exploration of personal identity, how identity is defined by the stories that make up our lives, and who we are when those stories start to fragment. The script is quickly turning into a ghost story told from the ghost's perspective.

Justin's plays have been produced in Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, and cities across Canada. He has over 30 publications in a host of journals including American Theatre Magazine,Minnesota Playlist, Minnesota History, Contemporary Theatre Review, and Rain Taxi Review of Books.

Justin was raised in rust belt Western New York and lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for fourteen years, until he moved to New Orleans in 2012. While apartment hunting in NOLA, it took him a day and half to stop asking potential landlords about snow removal.