Justin Maxwell

Assistant Professor (Playwriting)Justin Maxwell


Phone: 504-280-7213

Email:  jmaxwell@uno.edu


Education: M.F.A., Hamline University

Area of Specialty: Playwriting

Justin Maxwell's new play An Outopia for Pigeons is being produced by Swandive Theatre in Minneapolis, in November of 2012. It's 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, you'll love it.

Justin's plays have been produced in Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, and cities across Canada. Most recently, two of his short plays have run in NYC at The Brick Theatre's Democracy Festival and the Some Kind of Nature festival. The former is a comedy about torture and airline food; the latter is pure schadenfreude. 

Without having the sense to just stick to what he knows, Justin has prose publications in a diverse list of journals. Most recently, in Minnesota Playlist, Justin published an essay about a weird dream he had as a four-year old. For American Theatre Magazine he has written about Caridad Svich (a wild and breathtaking playwright), the Neo-Futurists (more fun and less fascist than the original Futurists), and Open Eye Figure Theater (post-modern puppets, people). In Minnesota History he published an essay on August Wilson and The Playwrights' Center. And he wrote an essay about Michael Jackson, choreography, and zombies (and Situationist philosophy, just to keep it serious) in Contemporary Theatre Review. For Rain Taxi Review of Books he has published a large volume of book reviews, mostly because they send him such good books to read! Plus, quite a while ago, there were a few headlines published in The Onion: America's Finest News Source. But that was back when he was funny.

Currently, Justin is working on an essay for PAJ about the axiological ethics of stage directions; whatever that means, it isn't funny. 

Justin was raised in rust belt Western New York and lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the past fourteen years. While preparing for the move to New Orleans, it took him a day and half to stop asking potential landlords about snow removal.