"How do you tell ancient stories in a new language? How do you conjure the voices of the dead? How do you remember? How do you make a sense of history? How do you make a sense of loss? Those are the questions that fuel my writing. In the last few years, I’ve been conducting interviews as part of my process so I can figure out how people really tell the stories of their lives, what they say and what they leave out, how they circle back and start again, the places where language breaks down. I feel like if I listen hard enough, I can apprehend something about history and human experience, some kind of larger, elusive truth."

Naomi Iizuka's plays are built from salvaged parts. She fuses myths from Ovid with stories from homeless teens, interviews with stockyard workers with Appalachian ghost stories. Creating collisions between the past and present, she mixes lyric poetry with transcripts of real-life conversations. She slams together the epic and the mythic with the tiniest details of a single life, forging startling and unexpected connections between distant worlds. Whether she's writing about the lives of men and women living along the Ohio River or in villages in Cambodia, Iizuka seeks to translate the untranslatable, to travel to unfamiliar landscapes and revisit familiar landscapes with new eyes, to tell stories and, in the telling, to crack them open and tell the stories within the stories within the stories.

Born 1965, Tokyo, Japan
Lives in Los Angeles, California

1992 M.F.A., University of California, San Diego, California
1987 B.A., Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

2004 At the Vanishing Point, premiered site-specifically at Humana Festival of New Plays, Actors' Theatre of Louisville
2003 17 Reasons (Why), premiered site-specifically at Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
2001 36 Views, premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, CA; NYSF/Joseph Papp Public Theatre, New York; GeVa Theatre, Rochester, New York; Portland Center Stage, Portland, Oregon; Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, California; Huntington Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts
2000 War of the Worlds (in collaboration with SITI Company), premiered at Humana Festival of New Plays, Actors' Theatre of Louisville; Edinburgh Festival; Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music
1999 Language of Angels, premiered at Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
1997 Polaroid Stories, premiered at Humana Festival of New Plays, Actors' Theatre of Louisville; Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
1996 Scheherezade (part of Pieces of the Quilt), premiered at Magic Theatre, San Francisco, and in community centers throughout the Bay Area
1995 Skin, premiered at Soho Rep, New York; Dallas Theatre Center, Dallas, Texas; Printer's Devil, Seattle, Washington
1994 Tattoo Girl, premiered at Sledgehammer Theatre, San Diego, California; Annex Theatre, Seattle, WA

2004 Irvine Foundation Grant
2004 TCG/Met Life Extended Collaboration Grant
2003 Joyce Foundation Award
2001 Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant
2001 NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence Grant
2001 Stavis Award, National Theatre Conference
2000 McKnight Playwriting Fellowship, Playwrights' Center
1999 Whiting Writers’ Award
1998 Hodder Fellowship, Princeton University
1998 PEN Center USA West Award for Drama
1996 McKnight Advancement Grant, Playwrights’ Center
1995 Jerome Playwriting Fellowship, Playwrights’ Center

California Shakespeare Festival and Campo Santo + Intersection, San Francisco
Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Illinois
Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota