David Lindsay Abaire
- Category : Writers-Playwright-script
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 4
American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire is most known for his absurdist comedies in which characters inhabit strange, distorted worlds and yet remain grounded in emotional truth. His playwriting is applauded for its grace, wit, and its ability to move between the broadly comedic moment and the profound. Thematically, Lindsay-Abaire’s work often explores loss and the underlying struggles in family and interpersonal relationships. His first drama, “Rabbit Hole,” premiered in 2006 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize April 2007.
Lindsay-Abaire was born David Abaire to a working class family in a rough-and-tumble south Boston neighborhood. His father sold fruit out of a truck in Boston’s Chelsea Fruit Market and his mother worked on a circuit-board assembly line. He credits his father with giving him his sense of structure and his mother—whom he affectionately describes in a “Time Magazine” article as having “a mouth like a trucker”—for passing along her sense of humor.
After attending Boston public schools until the age of 12, Lindsay-Abaire was awarded scholarship to a private boarding school, Milton Academy, starting in 8th grade. It was at Milton while working in student productions and as part of the speech team that his serious interest in theater began. Dubbed the “funny one” in high school, a fellow student encouraged him to try his hand at playwriting after watching a production by the junior class. Lindsay-Abaire accepted the challenge and wrote a play for his fellow sophomores, making sure everyone in the class had a part, and he continued writing a class play each year thereafter.
When an interviewer noted that outsiders play a central role in a majority of his works, he replied that he read somewhere that most writers go back to a time when they were eleven or twelve and something significant happened in their lives. Looking back, he realized he fit this pattern: “I got a scholarship to a private school out in the suburbs….and for me to get up everyday and get on a train and go out in the suburbs to this very toney, prestigious, hallowed campus where everybody, it seemed, was wealthier than I was, different than I was—it was defining to me as a person. I felt like I didn’t belong there, and after a couple of years, that I didn’t really belong back where I grew up either. I had a foot in each world….It’s not dissimilar to ‘Kimberly Akimbo,’ ‘Fuddy Meers,’ or anything that I’ve written about people finding themselves in an upside-down world where they have to maneuver through it and figure out who they are and how they fit in.”
After leaving Milton in 1998 (as Valedictorian), he attended Sarah Lawrence College as an acting major, graduating in 1992, though he took some playwriting courses as part of his curriculum. From 1996-1998 he attended the prestigious Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School on fellowship, where he studied with playwrights Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang.
Lindsay-Abaire’s rise to prominence as a playwright has been meteoric. At Juilliard he began writing his first off-Broadway hit, “Fuddy Meers.” By 1999, the play was a commercial success and “Time Magazine” wrote a piece noting him as a playwright to watch. Other successful plays quickly followed. “Wonder of the World” (2000) starred “Sex in the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker and was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award as Outstanding New Play of the Year. “Kimberly Akimbo” (2001) received the L.A. Drama Circle Award for Playwriting, three Garland Awards, and the Kesselring Prize. “Rabbit Hole” (2006), his Pulitzer prize-winning drama about the loss of a child, starred another “Sex in the City” alumni, Cynthia Nixon, who won a Tony for her performance.
To date, Lindsay-Abaire’s plays showcase women characters, especially those who are suddenly forced to re-examine who they are after becoming displaced somehow within their own lives. When asked about why he writes so much about women, he attributed it first to his mother, whom he describes as “the performer of the family” and “hilarious.” But he also noted making a conscious decision: “There are far more male roles than parts for women, so when I start a play, I think ‘Does it matter if this character is a man or a women?’ If not, I make it a woman by default, to balance it a bit.”
In addition to his theater work, Lindsay-Abaire has also worked in film. His writing credits include the movie “Robots” (2006) and the screenplay for “Inkheart” (2007). He is currently working on the screen adaptation of his play “Kimberly Akimbo” for Dreamworks. Nicole Kidman has optioned the rights to produce and star in “Rabbit Hole.”
While attending college at Sarah Lawrence, Abaire roomed with five other theater students, one of whom was actor Christine Lindsay. When they married on April 9, 1994 in Braintree, MA, they took each others’ names. Christine was born on May 8, 1970 in Manchester, NH according to their marriage certificate; she works as an actress using both her married and maiden names. Their son Nicholas was born 2000. They live in Brooklyn.