The Center for Fiction was pleased to welcome Lynn Nottage, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Ruined and Sweat, for a conversation on her haunting, enthralling new play, Mlima’s Tale. Continuing Nottage’s tradition of crafting thought-provoking, socially conscious dramas, her play tells the story of Mlima, an elephant struck down by poachers for his magnificent tusks. Nottage was joined by journalist Damon Tabor, whose work focuses on conflict, drug trafficking, black markets, and the environment, and whose article, “The Ivory Highway” inspired Mlima’s Tale.
The Center for Fiction was thrilled to continue its collaboration with Theatre Communications Group for this sixth event, with past events featuring Jackie Sibblies Drury and Claudia Rankine, Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Heidi Schreck and Paula Vogel, Sarah Ruhl and Matthew Aucoin, and Aleshea Harris and Nissy Aya.
By Lynn Nottage
Published by Theatre Communications Group
“A beautiful, endlessly echoing portrait of a murder and its afterlife. Ms. Nottage shaped this story with such theatrical inventiveness and discipline that it never feels sensational… A finely wrought fusion of elements.” —Ben Brantley, New York Times
Continuing in her tradition of crafting thought-provoking, socially conscious dramas, Lynn Nottage’s play tells the story of Mlima, an elephant struck down by poachers for his magnificent tusks. Beginning in a game park in Kenya, the play tracks the trajectory of Mlima’s tusks through the ivory trade market while Mlima’s ghost follows close behind—marking all those complicit in his barbaric death.
Lynn Nottage is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prize Awards for Drama for Sweat and Ruined. She is the first woman playwright to be honored twice. Her other plays include Clyde’s; the book for the musical adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees; Intimate Apparel; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; and Las Meninas.
Photo Credit: Lynn Savarese
Damon Tabor’s work has focused on conflict, drug trafficking, black markets and the environment. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Outside, Wired, and Men’s Journal. His writing has been noted in Best American Travel Writing and his Rolling Stone article “Border of Madness” was the basis of the Academy Award-nominated 2015 documentary Cartel Land. Most recently, he produced The Trade, a five-part documentary about the heroin epidemic, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and aired on Showtime. He holds a Master’s of Science from Columbia Journalism School and is a recipient of a 2019 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant. His forthcoming book, The Mountain in the Burning Sky (Penguin Random House), chronicles the early pioneering history of U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers—elite aerial wilderness firefighters—and their later involvement in covert CIA missions throughout the Cold War.