Ruth Margraff


I listen very deeply to my students' raw intuition from any genre or field, their voice, their eyes, the way they sit and breathe. Their music is how far they reach, what they fear, where they want to go.  I have trained myself to enter the architectural aesthetic of each new content or framing. I read closely from inside each world as a proscenium beyond my own point of view. An artist has to know how to use weapons of dissonance and tools of collaboration. Making art is ransacking folly, centrifugal labor, and strange fruit.

Students Ruth has taught at Brown, Yale, UTAustin, SAIC and UIowa include Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights/ runners up Quiara Hudes, Stephen Karam, Rolin Jones and Jordan Harrison; MacArthur playwrights Tarrell Alvin McCraney, Samuel D. Hunter and leading writer/professors Ramon Rivera-Servera (Northwestern), Sylvan Oswald (Suny), Christine Evans (Georgetown), Jacqueline Lawton (UNC Chapel Hill), Deborah Stein (Yale), Seth Bockley (Goodman), John Rich (MCA), Tsehaye Geralyn M. Hebert (Alliance Kendeda playwriting national winner), Kristiana Colon (Teatra Luna), Aja Monet etc.

Current Interests

I write vocal art in the edges of theater, music, and poetry. My lyrics spring from displacement and unbridled presence. My characters speak/sing, live and love beyond their means. My work has disrupted the comforts of commercial realism and the anti-theatricality of more ironic multimedia experimentation currently in vogue. I am drawn to elicit a distinctly female point of view by foregrounding the interiority and abstraction of "provincial," "alamkara," or neo-baroque passions. I see multilinear point of view as political and crucial to coexistence. Lately I'm colliding fine art with streaks of street, operatic gypsy blues, and soliloquies layered in seams of dissent. My long-term artistic goal is to push the form of American opera into a more working-class and less Eurocentric direction. My writing has lately grown more cubist/painterly, contrapuntal, and surreal. I pressure various palettes of language to resist the complacence of corporate clarity, monolithic intimidation, cultures of fear, and rampant intolerance for the ornaments of thick description.