Neil Simon

“What is funny? That is almost an impossible thing to answer. The best things in humor are what’s universal. People can say, ‘Yeah, I know that kind of person. I know that kind of situation.’ I never sit down and start to think, ‘I'm going to write a comedy.’ You just write what would happen. Eventually, people would come up to me after a show in the theater, and ask, ‘How did you know my mother? How'd you know my father?’ They really thought that that was just between them and their family.”

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Photographs by Ken Collins

Interviews by Victor Wishna

New York, New York—Umbrage Editions is pleased to announce the publication of In Their Company: Portraits of American Playwrights, a long-awaited compendium of the foremost writers of the American stage, captured through photographs and in their own words.

While a play comes alive, literally, only through the efforts of a community — actors, directors, producers, designers — it begins with a single idea, envisioned and cultivated in seclusion. It begins with the playwright.

Collins photographed and Wishna interviewed dozens of accomplished American playwrights in an attempt to capture that beginning, as well as the collaborative journey of the playwright's experience. The result is a book celebrating these gifted artists of the contemporary theater.

In Their Company will have very powerful appeal for theater-goers and for anyone who follows the life of the American stage. The book is also a valuable resource for both casual and serious students of American theater, and should become a standard volume for any public library, academic archive, or drama teacher's desk. Finally, it will intrigue anyone who appreciates fine portrait photography — these playwrights are visually stirring subjects; they wear their lives on their faces.

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