“There is a Latin term, genius loci, that refers to the pervading spirit that is contained in a place, a spirit that is revealed not only through our physical perceptions of the place but also (more meaningfully) through our emotional perceptions. These emotional perceptions are deepened by the personal connections we have with a place—the more our past is present there, the more profoundly we feel that spirit of place, and in that recognition we find a way to discover ourselves again.
I have always found the sense of place inspiring, that physically and emotionally tangible connection to a larger world, that sense of the past and the present existing together. Whether it is encountered in the cooperage of a winery, an emptied house, a grove of redwoods, or a dusty patch of ground, the genius loci reminds me that the past is present, that we are who we have been, and that the simple events of the everyday world are larger and more mysterious than we can imagine.”
Robert Koon is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where he also serves an the theatre’s Staff Dramaturg. Chicago Dramatists produced his play St. Colm’s Inch in 2005, and published his play Vintage Red and the Dust of the Road in their anthology New Plays from Chicago. Robert’s other work includes Odin’s Horse, The Point of Honor, Inpainting, Changing Attire, Solstice, and Looking West from Firá. In addition to Chicago Dramatists, his work has been featured at Visions and Voices, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, Stage Left Theatre, the Ashland New Plays Festival (Oregon), The Lark Theatre (New York), the Dayton Playhouse, and Mirror Stage (Seattle).
Vintage Red and the Dust of the Road received a Joseph Jefferson Awards Citation for New Work in 2003, and Odin’s Horse was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2009. Robert has also received the national award for new work from the EcoDrama Playwrights Festival in 2004, and has been nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Award.
He has been awarded creative residencies at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, and the William Inge Center for the Arts in Independence, Kansas. Robert teaches regularly in the Playwrights Studio at Chicago Dramatists, and has also taught at The Theatre School at DePaul University, Aurora University, Independence (Kansas) Community College, Timber Lake Playhouse, and the Ashland (Oregon) New Plays Festival. Dramaturgical credits include Stageworks Theatre in Tampa, Florida and Indiana Theatre Works. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America.
Robert came to playwriting after a career in acting and directing. He received his MFA from The University of California at Davis, and currently resides in Chicago with his wife, Jean Marie.