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Oren Safdie

Oren Safdie was born in Montreal to Israeli parents. The family moved while he was a toddler, but returned to Montreal when Oren was ten-years-old. He studied architecture at Columbia University in New York and graduated with a M.F.A. but chose a different creative outlet for himself: writing. His credits include the film You Can Thank Me Later (1999) and the play Private Jokes, Public Spaces that opened at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, Ont. in September 2004. Safdie and his wife, playwright and actor M.J. Kang have lived in Montreal, Toronto, and Los Angeles.


The Bilbao Effect

New York: Dramatists Play Service Inc., 2010.

PS8587 .A2462 B55 2010

Publisher’s Synopsis

“The Bilbao Effect” became a popular term after Frank Gehry built the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, transforming the poor industrial city of Bilbao into a must-see tourist destination.  Its success spurred other cities into hiring famous architects and giving them carte blanche to design even more spectacular buildings in hopes that the formula could be repeated.  In Mr. Safdie’s play THE BILBAO EFFECT — the second in a trilogy focusing on contemporary architecture — a world famous architect faces censure by the American Institute of Architects, following accusations that his urban redevelopment project for Staten Island has led to a woman’s suicide.  The play explores whether architecture has become more of an art than a profession, and at what point the ethics of one field violate the principles of the other.


The Last Word …

New York: Dramatists Play Service Inc., 2006.

PS3569 .A278 L3 2006

Publisher’s Synopsis

Henry Grunwald is a Viennese Jew who fled the Nazis and became a successful New York advertising executive. Now retired and nearly blind, Henry is determined to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a playwright. When young Len Artz, also an aspiring playwright, applies for a position as Henry’s assistant, their job interview quickly expands into a fierce and acrimonious intellectual debate, with Henry as the avid advocate of Eurocentrism and Len as the impassioned defender of experimentalism. This smart two-hander is a thought-provoking comedy about loyalty, dreams and the fear of failure.


Private Jokes, Public Places

Toronto, Ont.: Playwrights Canada Press, 2002, c2001.
New York: Dramatists Play Service, 2004.
PS8587 .A2462 P75 2004

Publisher’s Synopsis (from the Playwrights Guild of Canada Website)

In her final jury presentation at architecture school, Margaret must defend her swimming pool design. With this as a base, the play ironically contrasts academic pretensions with everyday reality, and exposes our public faces and our private selves.