Study Guide

Jane Martin

Jane Martin Biography

Biography (Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The Actors Theatre of Louisville’s program biography for Jane Martin states that she was born in Kentucky and lists her works. This is, in fact, the entirety of hard facts that the general public has about the mysterious Martin. Remarkably for a world as gossipy as that of the theater, Martin has managed to keep her actual identity a much-discussed secret since she entered the theater scene in 1981. Her first work, The Boy Who Ate the Moon, was produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1981 and received a fair amount of critical notice. Her second work, Talking With, was also successful, winning her an American Theater Critics New Play award and a nationally recognized name.

Originally, it was rumored that Martin had secretively slipped a manuscript under the door of Actors Theatre of Louisville artistic director Jon Jory, an act that resulted in Martin’s first professional production. This theory did not last long among the gossip-mongering of the Humana Festival, however. Eventually, all the rumors surrounding Martin’s identity would center on Jory himself. In recent years, almost every theory of Martin’s identity has revolved around Jory, and reporters have gone to great lengths to prove the Jory-Martin connection. Jory has even received a call from a Louisville reporter who had examined his tax returns, pre-and post-Jane Martin. Jory, as well as his supposed collaborators, has continually denied responsibility for the...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Jane Martin Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Jane Martin is a reclusive American playwright who has yet to make a public appearance. Nothing about her life is known beyond the supposition that she was born in Kentucky. Because of her close relationship with ATL, the Actors Theatre of Louisville (she is an often-produced playwright of the famed Humana Festival, with ten full-length plays performed there between 1982 and 2001), many have concluded that Jane Martin is actually the pseudonym of Jon Jory, formerly the artistic director of ATL. Jory, a professor of drama at the University of Washington in Seattle, himself a successful playwright under his own name, has repeatedly denied allegations of his actually being Martin. On the issue, Jory was quoted in the Seattle Weekly, July 13, 1994, as saying that “Martin feels she could not write plays if people knew who she was, regardless of her identity or gender.” As he adamantly denies that he is Martin, critics have been led to speculate, because Jory has served as stage director for all the ATL productions, that he is actually collaborating with and perhaps covering for his wife, Marcia Dixcy Jory. The continuing mystery of Jane Martin has caused her to become known as the best unknown playwright in America.{$S[A]Jory, Jon;Martin, Jane}

Martin’s plays have met with critical and popular success. Her best-known work, Keely and Du, premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. The most often produced new work in the United States in 1993, it received the Best New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association and was nominated for...

(The entire section is 663 words.)