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About Playwright Robert Myers

MyersRobert Myers is the author of over a dozen stage plays, including Atwater: Fixin’ to Die (Helen Hayes Nominee, directed by George Furth); The Lynching of Leo Frank (Joseph Jefferson Award, Best New Work) and Dead of Night: The Execution of Fred Hampton (both directed by Jonathan Wilson); Painting Persia; Mesopotamia, about Gertrude Bell, presented at Yale with Kathleen Chalfant (directed by Evan Yionoulis); Unmanned, about drone pilots, at the Blank Theatre (staged reading, directed by Kirsten Sanderson), which he adapted as Drone Pilots for BBC’s Radio 4, broadcast in September 2013 (directed by Judith Kampfner); and Twilight Country, read at Theatre Row with Tonya Pinkas and Lisa Pelikan. He also co-translated Baghdadi Bath, by Iraq’s best-known director, Jawad Al Assadi, with Nada Saab, produced at LaMama (directed by Zishan Ugurlu) and as a staged reading with Asiif Mandvi and Sean Krishnan at Dartmouth with the New York Theatre Workshop. He has a PhD in literature from Yale, is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the American University of Beirut, and former director of the University’s Center for American Studies. He has received a Franke fellowship from Yale, two Fulbright fellowships, a Mellon grant and a New York State Individual Artist’s grant. He has written on theatre and culture for The New York Times, PAJ, TRI, Folha de São Paulo, Middle East Critique and other publications.

EXCERPT FROM UNMANNED
ASFOUR
(Into headset)
Direct hit on the pickup. Panel truck behind it is on fire.

BORDEN
Looks like you got two for the price of one, Miss Bellicose Bees.

ASFOUR
There’s a squirter that escaped from the panel truck, Centcom. On monitor two, over by the date tree.
(Into headset)
Request permission to lock onto him with the other LGM.

BORDEN
Guy’s done for. He’s writhing around in the sand.

ASFOUR
The subject is armed.

BORDEN
He may be armed, but they don’t have any legs.

ASFOUR
(Into headset)
Affirmative, Centcom. We’ll take them out.
(To BORDEN)
LGM locked on target, Colonel. Fire when ready.

BORDEN
(Pause)
Alright. Here goes.
(Another pause as he tries to get a grip on the joystick. His hand trembles again. She reaches over and pushes the button)
Thanks, Airman.

ASFOUR
Five… four… three… two… one…
(Into headset)
Direct hit on target. There’s no sign of movement in the date grove.

BORDEN
Looks like you vaporized every plumber in the province.
(Into headset)
We’ll hover here for a couple of minutes, Centcom, and send you a few snapshots.
(To ASFOUR)
You alright?

ASFOUR
Me? I’m fine. What about you?

BORDEN
I’m… okay.

ASFOUR
Guess we got them all, didn’t we?

BORDEN
Yeah, that was some pretty fancy shootin’. Keep this up, you’re gonna give Guynemer a run for his money

ASFOUR
You’re sweating, sir.

BORDEN
So I am. Looks like Secret ain’t strong enough for a man, after all.

ASFOUR
I’m serious. You’re soaking wet. It upset you, didn’t it… the call?

BORDEN
The call? Naw, me and Louise have been going around like that for decades.

ASFOUR
That’s why I hate phones. You say this stuff and then you can’t unsay it.

BORDEN
Aren’t you the one that was just texting like a madwoman?

ASFOUR
I’m talking about voice. You say this stuff you don’t mean, and so do they, and there’s no way you can correct it. It’s like firing one of these. Once you punch the button, there’s no calling it back.