Ivory by John Crutchfield


Ivory was my first attempt at writing “straight drama.” I wrote the play while an Artist-In-Residence at the Djerassi Artists Foundation in Woodside California in the spring of 2007. The first draft was written in about ten days––an impossible feat had it not been for the idyllic circumstances of the residency and the admirable example of self discipline I had constantly before me in the person of Ms. Kate Perry of Dublin, Ireland. 

Set in the graduate school of a prestigious North American university, the play tells the story of three students and their unscrupulous professor. My friend James Ostholthof expressed the view that the play is about the inevitable collision of ambition with morality. I’m not sure why exactly I felt the need to tell this particular story, but the fact that it sprang more or less fully formed from my brain suggests that it had been there for a while. This and other circumstances (including the realistic style) have misled some audience members into thinking the play is somehow autobiographical. Thank Heaven, it is not; and to paraphrase Aristotle, poiesis not about what actually happened, but about the sort of thing that is always happening.


The play premiered in June of 2008 at the BeBe Theatre in downtown Asheville, in the inaugural production of Corpus Theatre Collective. In a stunning coup de force, we almost broke even. James Ostholthof directed an all-star cast, comprised of local talents Jonathan Frappier, Vivian Smith, Todd Weakley, and Anne-Marie Welty. Tori Hurst was Stage Manager and Board Operator. Jonathan Highsmith designed the lights, and Lauren Abe did all of our graphic design.