Steven Dietz Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Steven Dietz is a writer who has built his reputation exclusively on his plays. He has published several articles about the theater and writing in American Theatre Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Several of his plays have been translated into other languages: Private Eyes into French, German, and Slavic; Dracula into Japanese; Handing Down the Names into German; and Lonely Planet into Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Motion picture rights for Trust were optioned in 1993 by True Pictures, New York, and rights for Still Life with Iris were optioned by Flatiron Films in 1999.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Steven Dietz’s plays, produced at more than eighty regional theaters across the country, on Off-Broadway, and in Japan and South Africa, have won numerous awards. Lonely Planet, for example, garnered for Dietz the PEN Center USA West Award in Drama and was selected as One of the Best Off-Broadway plays of 1995. Still Life with Iris won the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award in 1996 and three years later the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award. Dietz has been named to playwriting fellowships from the McKnight and Jerome foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as to directing fellowships from McKnight and Theatre Communications Group. He received both a National Endowment for the Arts playwriting fellowship and a Theatre Communications Group fellowship in directing in 1987. In 1988 he received a Society of Midland Authors award. A Creative Achievement Award from the University of Northern Colorado Alumni Association was conferred on him in 1996, and he received a $10,000 Emerging Artist Award from the Bagley Wright Fund (Seattle) for Artistic Excellence in 1999.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Istel, John. “Risking Sentiment.” American Theatre 12, no. 10 (December, 1995): 38. This interview with Dietz focuses on his award-winning play Lonely Planet. Dietz discusses the play as an homage to friendship, as a literary riff on themes and intentions central to Ionesco’s absurdist play The Chairs, and as a vehicle for comparing a particular convention of mapping (the Greenland problem of transferring three-dimensional geography to a two-dimensional illustration) to the distortion of reality. Dietz concludes with a statement about the importance of sentiment in his drama.

Tu, Janet I-Chin. “Playwright Steven Dietz Juggles Many Projects.” Seattle Times, February 1, 1998, p. M1. The author shows Dietz at work in his Queen Anne home in Seattle with twenty assorted boxes of his plays and script notes in his basement. She discusses how prolific Dietz is both in print and on stage; highlights awards, work habits, and other biographical details; and includes testimony and tributes from his friends.