DANIEL BORN | Playwright

The origins of my playwriting are in small theatres in small towns.

Photo Credit: the late Jim Luhning

Daniel Born is a resident playwright of the Midwest Dramatists Center of Kansas City, and a member of The Dramatists Guild. As a graduate from the University of Kansas with a degree in Philosophy, most of Daniel’s plays/readings have been in his hometown of Lawrence, KS, but his work has also seen stages in Nebraska, Missouri, California and Texas. His one-woman show “Bang”, about Joan Vollmer (the wife of William Burroughs), was a semi-finalist for the O’Neill and his drama “Let My Mind Flash with Blades”, about the poet H.D. and Sigmund Freud, was a semifinalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Photo Credit: the late Jim Luhning

“I never made a conscious decision to ‘become a playwright’…I just started writing plays and it seemed to answer a need.”


“…I wrote sketch comedy, ten-minutes, and labored over a couple of full-lengths that I realized, much later and rather abashedly, were metaphorically autobiographical.”


Night shift at a walkie-talkie factory. They’ve got it pretty good, as long as no one messes up. They make their quota. They try not to make waves. Their boss is a free spirit who thinks poetry can solve problems. A sudden change puts this to the test.

“Poetry can’t change the world.
It will change theirs.”

Bang is a monologue delivered by the apparition of Joan Vollmer, immediately after she was shot by William Burroughs, her common law husband, in Mexico City in 1951. As she waits for the ambulance to arrive, she reflects on her relationship with the famous writer, on the passionate nucleus that launched the Beat movement, and on a murder in that close-knit group of artists, presaging her own death.

The Man Without a Country is the fictional story of a young Army officer, Philip Nolan, who fell in with the plots of Aaron Burr during the early years of the 19th century. The story, written in the darkest days of the Civil War, became an immediate and enduring sensation. This stage adaptation enlarges the role of Aaron Burr, who is portrayed as a damaged and charismatic politician, and introduces the role of Nolan’s fiance, Aurora,  a vital presence during both his actual and figurative trials.

Hilda Doolittle was an American poet who went by the name of H.D. Along with Ezra Pound she founded the Imagist school of poetry, a movement of delicate and precise language that was one of the first casualties of the First World War. During the buildup to the Second World War, she suffered a breakdown and travelled to Vienna to be psychoanalyzed by Dr. Freud. The Nazis had just consolidated power in Germany, next door. Let the healing begin.

Read more on New Play Exchange

“Playwright Dan Born fractures
the chronology to paint a layered, complex portrait of Vollmer that doesn’t sacrifice intrigue or suspense.” – KC Pitch review of Bang, 2019


Read more on New Play Exchange.