Kevin Kautzman


Dream of Perfect Sleep

The Finborough Theatre, London UK
June 2014

Offie-award nomination, Best New Play

The story of an ageing couple coping with dementia and terminal illness doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs… But there is a feeling of raw truth about this play that is constantly absorbing… Dream of Perfect Sleep promises gloom and doom, but delivers a vivid richness of emotion.
– Giles Cole,

DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP is about the right to end your life… the play is very relevant… An important play that should not be missed.
– Carolin Kopplin,

Kevin Kautzman’s play about an American elderly couple who wish to end their own lives and their children who will inevitably deal with the fallout is sweet, sombre and heart-wrenching… [with] bright one liners and grand emotional truths… very topical… It’s the kind of play that reads very well and one that I could see making the transition from stage to screen. There are some scenes that took me back to the play AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY… a play that seeks to tug at your heartstrings and not overburden you with guilt and scenes of familial dysfunction. Kautzman’s purpose, I think, here is to simply tell the story of an elderly couple still in love and wanting to preserve the last shreds of dignity they have.
– Gianluco Lello, 

…a reflection on mortality and inter-generational tensions… we see an elderly couple edging inexorably towards eternal sleep and their insomniac son tortured by his past… nothing like as downbeat as a summary of its storyline might suggest… [Kautzman] tackles serious themes without ever being heavy-handed or too earnest… [a] moving and truthful little play.
– Stephen Bates,

DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP is an imaginative study on how adult children deal with death and the imminent loss of aging loved ones… with great mythology and fantasy… The story is moving and the questions Kautzman asks of death and aging are resounding… captivating, and there is a brilliant plot twist that is unsettling yet extremely moving, which you will want to witness.
– Andres Ordorica,

… dementia is just one of the issues that Kevin Kautzman has woven into his family drama as two adult children return to the family home for Christmas to a father suffering from a terminal illness and a mother who is no longer compos menti… beautifully done, heart-breakingly sincere…
– Ian Foster,

Kevin Kautzman, an American playwright here making his British debut, has hit upon an important subject: how we deal with dementia and attendant problems, in a world where the old are growing ever larger in number… with palpable echoes of O’Neill.
– Michael Billington,

Kautzman has written an original insight into dementia… there are other worlds – be they psychological or spiritual – bubbling beneath the surface of this family drama.
– Honour Bayes,

… about dementia, family ties and shuffling off this mortal coil… this is a play about letting go and trying to see the Grim Reaper as a little less, well… grim.
– Daisy Bowie-Sell,

DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP marks American writer Kevin Kautzman’s UK debut. His work is sharp and witty, full of hard-hitting statements that speak volumes in a single sentence: “What’s more frightening than death? Forgetting.”
– Alexandra Sims,

Strength is a running theme throughout DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP… Kautzman’s play is at its most potent when it speaks of the often superhuman strength needed just to keep going each day when dealing with Alzeimer’s, when deciding to stay alive can be worse and more unbearable than choosing to die.
– Laura Seymour,

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Wolf Cry Wolf

The New Theatre Project, Ypsilanti MI
December, 2012

[An] immense pleasure… The characters in Wolf Cry Wolf live in that strange transition period between childhood and young adulthood. That time when you have a pretty good grasp on reality but are still holding out that there might be something else out there beyond our normal perception… you feel – or remember feeling – right along with these characters as they sort out the magic and wounds of childhood… the strength of Wolf Cry Wolf is its ability to capture the raw emotion and sometimes confusion from a long ago summer…
– Ben Connor Barrie, Damn Arbor

Childhood fantasies evoked… Kautzman has created an innovative play for grown-up audiences that will remind them of the time in their own lives when the world held the boundless possibilities open to a child’s imagination – a time not always so easy to grow out of… A fine artistic effort that deserves to be seen by larger audiences…
– Robert Delaney, Detroit New Monitor

Growing up is tough enough. Having your best friend convince you that you are a werewolf is even tougher… A thoughtful look at troubled youth…
– John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press 

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If You Start a Fire [Be Prepared to Burn]

Mondays Dark at the 45th Street Theatre, New York NY
September, 2012

Hot Stuff! – An absolute gem… Kautzman is clearly a brilliant author and sophisticated wit, having a talent for seeing right through society’s masks and dealing humorously with today’s truths without yesterday’s phobias…nothing less than total hilarity and a fun, enjoyable and thought-provoking evening… the play is absolutely a must-see…
– Robert Angelone,

A deceitfully simple script [that] begs the questions: “How far are we willing to go for money? How far will this world let us go? And will it be worth it in the end?”  Tackling virtual prostitution is not an easy thing to do–unless you go about it with the fiery wit in If You Start a Fire… Kautzman constructs a play in which the laughter eventually recedes and a more macabre reality is revealed.
– Haydn Diaz,

The New Theatre Project, Ypsilanti MI
February, 2012

A Comedy That Raises Serious Questions – A sexy romp through Kautzman’s clever banter and thought-provoking comedy… If You Start a Fire… explores issues unique to the 21st Century, with themes as old as the Greek story of Pandora’s Box… Ultimately, If You Start a Fire is a clever look at an intriguing question: what becomes of intimacy in a world where human relationships are increasingly defined in the virtual, digital space?
–  Patty Nolan, Detroit Examiner

Kautzman’s text is magnificent as he submerges these two characters robbed of forethought into a trajectory of pure discovery… Salacious, curious, and certainly a multimedia spectacle, this cutting-edge, boundary-pushing comedy is poised to win viewers on the strength of its online and offline connections both.
– Carolyn Hayes,

* * *


Nouveau 47, Dallas TX
January-February 2012

Kautzman… hurls metaphor, alliteration and theatrical convention into a universe inhabited by the likes of Sam Shepard, John Milton and James Joyce with defiant abandon… My vote for the best written play currently on stage in this region, bar none.
– Alexandra Bonifield,

… a seat-gripper of a play… with the dark comedy of a Coen brothers film and just enough unexpected violence to make you flinch and giggle… a terrific evening of theater, full of big laughs (both at and with the characters) and deliciously tense turnarounds.
– Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer

Though this is the first full production of Kautzman’s play, it won’t be the last. There’s a compelling combination of the sort of male soul-searching found in Sam Shepard’s works and the gritty noir tension of early Coen Brother’s films like Blood Simple.
– David Novinski, Theatre Jones

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History Theatre’s 1968: The Year That Rocked the World, Saint Paul MN
January-February 2012

Among the more affecting plays is Rosemary… a metaphor of a bereft nation whose optimism has been pierced by three bullets.
– Graydon Royce, Minneapolis Star Tribune

…politics get personal in a couple of segments, including the most moving tale of the seven, Rosemary… Karen Weber turns in a powerful performance as the singer who can’t sing in the aftermath of the assassination…
–  Renee Valois, Saint Paul Pioneer Press

One of the more emotionally wrenching miniplays is Rosemary, which deals with the emotional trauma suffered by singer Rosemary Clooney…
– Bev Wolfe, TC Daily Planet

* * *


Red Eye, Minneapolis MN
October 2010

…the elaborate preparations for a wedding ceremony gradually crack and crumble to reveal that the event is actually intended to be a human sacrifice.  That might sound like some sort of occult-flavored horror flick, but Iris is based upon the Greek legend of Iphigenia, a tale told in the plays of Aeschylus and Euripides. Kautzman gives it a modern makeover, and it gets the Red Eye treatment in an intriguing and well-executed staging…
– Rob Hubbard, Saint Paul Pioneer Press 

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Then Waves

The Players Guild Theatre, Canton OH
July 2010

Kautzman’s compelling writing is a vigorous and visceral exercise in exorcising – a riveting portrait rendered with a relentless barrage of narrative lightning bolts. This is a story for our time, to be sure… easily the most audacious and startling – even dangerous – drama I’ve seen anywhere for longer than I can remember.
– Tom Wachunas, Artwach

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