Ben Collum
Tucson, AZ
Early career, full-time playwright; founder of New Mummers Rep, a professional small-Equity-house theatre in OKC; writer of Big Theatre.

I was lucky to take one of the easy paths to writing plays: choosing a thirty-three-character German Romance as my first directing job; founding a professional small-Equity-house theatre and starting out there with Sophocles, followed by Ibsen; and then choosing verse tragedy (in the full five acts) as my first play to write. 

But it's Dance Bright Gods that's been the eye-opening master-class—starting out as a riff on As You Like It, with a Rosalind turning the tables to impose disguises on others, the play grew much larger with the addition of Harold Bloom's fanciful guess that the original writer of the Genesis stories was Bathsheba. It became clear I'm imprinted on this particular, peculiar form of drama (call it RomanceFableTragicomic Tale?): deep, personal revelation juxtaposed with the ultra-expansive open stage. And while Romance is disliked for being thought un-modern and untruthful, I love it for its magnificence and wonder, and would bring it up to our day, wow an audience, and tell the truth.


by Ben Collum

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Dance Bright Gods sprawls out of doors with thirty-seven scenes: a quick-cut, blank-stage, no-blackout, love-comedy. The play’s intricate conception requires a large cast: twenty-three characters (played by eleven actors: two women, one girl, seven men, and one young woman cast each performance or plucked out of the audience), each with its own character arc.