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“The play’s real accomplishment is its picture of the borderland between late adolescence and adulthood, where grown-up ideas and ambition coexist with childish will and bravado.” — New York Times
“You might not expect to encounter a piece of theater as ingenious and cannily plotted as Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate.” — Washington Post
In this unconventional dark comedy, three misfit high school students in Salem, Oregon form an unusual debate club, complete with a musical version of The Crucible, an unusual podcast, and a plot to take down their corrupt drama teacher. With his signature wit, Karam traces the cohort’s attempts to fend off the menace of encroaching adulthood with caustic humor and subversive antics. Driven by a combination of confidence and angst, the small debate club transforms into an arena for friendships to develop and secrets to unfold. Together, Diwata, Solomon, and Howie uncover real truths amid fantasy in this incisive play about sexuality, loneliness, and identity.
Stephen Karam is the author of two plays that were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: The Humans in 2016 and Sons of Prophet in 2012. The Humans won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play, and earned Karam the 2016 Obie Award for Playwriting. His other plays include columbinus, Girl on Girl, and Emma. He wrote the libretto for Dark Sisters, an original chamber opera with composer Nico Muhly.
A dark comedy from the Tony Award-winning playwright of The Humans