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Author Page

Jean-Claude van Itallie

Jean Claude van Itallie.jpg

Jean-Claude van Itallie was born in Brussels, Belgium on May 25, 1936. When he was three, his family fled the Holocaust to suburban Great Neck, New York.


Graduating from Harvard in 1958, van Itallie became a generative force in explosive 1960s Off Broadway theatre. He is a La MaMa and Caffe Cino playwright.

Among van Itallie’s many acclaimed plays: his anti war trilogy America Hurrah, The Serpent with the Open Theater, Tibetan Book of the Dead or How Not to Do It Again, Bag Lady, The Traveler, Ancient Boys, Struck Dumb with Joseph Chaikin, and Light, and translations of Genet’s The Balcony and Chekhov’s major plays.

Author of The Playwright’s Workbook, van Itallie teaches writing and acting workshops. In 2012, he performed a one-man show, Confessions and Conversation at La MaMa in New York City.

He lives on his old farm in Western Massachusetts where he directs Shantigar Foundation for theatre, meditation, and healing. He also lives in Greenwich Village, New York City.

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