W&L professor’s play debuts in the Big Apple


By Alison Murtagh

“Exile is My Home,” a play written by Washington and Lee Professor Domnica Radulescu, premiered at the Theater for the New City in New York last Thursday. The playwright has also published multiple books and essays.

Radulescu is the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages and Director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at the university. Her play takes on a sci-fi and fairytale twist to tell the story of two female lovers searching for a place to call home.

Radulescu drew from her own personal experiences, as well as the experiences of refugees and immigrants, to gain inspiration for the play.

As an immigrant artist with a personal history of displacement, and with both a first-hand practical and theoretical knowledge of the drama of exile, I have always been haunted by this theme and have explored it in all my writings, be they fiction, theater or academic writing,” Radulescu said in an email.

According to Radulescu, the play encompasses the themes of exile and displacement from a native place. The ideas of good and evil, love and hate, and loss and healing are present throughout the play.

“[T]he protagonists and heroines are two women lovers who have survived awful traumas of war and loss of home, country and family and find strength in each other and their great inventiveness and courage,” Radulescu said. “The play treats relevant and difficult issues of our times in fantastical, sci-fi and tragicomic ways.”

The play has already seen appraisals from reviewers.

In 2014, “Exile is My Home” won an honorable mention in the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award contest. This award recognizes plays written by women that present feminist perspectives and offer great opportunities for female performers.

According to the Jury for the 2014 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, Radulescu’s play creatively explored loves and losses, and their place in the evolving world.

“Moving, epic, feminist, and comedic, this highly theatrical play evokes the human, social, and political complexities of exile with depth, humor, and adaptive re-invention,” the Jury said on Radulescu’s website.

Radulescu credits her interest in writing plays to her lifelong experience in theater. She has worked in all aspects of the art, including as an actor, director, teacher, and scholar.

“To me, creating theater and being part of theater projects is at once the most complete artistic and social experience,” Radulescu said.

According to its website, the Theater for the New City’s mission is to find new writing, and to help nurture new playwrights. The Theater plans to help improve the relationship between the community and the theater.

In the future, Radulescu hopes to continue writing plays and watching them be performed on stage. She also plans to write more novels.

Stephanie Foster, ‘16, took Radulescu’s classes as both a first-year and a senior. In one of these classes, students read and discussed Radulescu’s book, Train to Trieste as an assignment.

“Reading her book, in her class, we were able to ask her questions about it, and get a deeper perspective of her thought process and what she thinks about writing,” Foster said. “Even having her as a freshman and as a senior, I’ve definitely seen myself grow in her classes, and [I’ve] also seen her in a more dynamic way.”

In addition to attending one of Radulescu’s plays performed in Stackhouse Theater, Foster has been able to get to know Radulescu by attending office hours and taking three of the professor’s courses throughout her four years at W&L.

“She’s so willing to help students in any way, and [is] very invested in them as people,” Foster said.

“Exile is my Home” will have a four-week run in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, according to the W&L website.