MacArthur Fellows Program

John Jesurun

Playwright and Director | Class of 1996

Playwright and Director
New York, New York
45 at time of award
Area of Focus
Theatrical Arts
Published July 1, 1996

About John's Work

John Jesurun is a playwright, a director, and a designer who combines elements of language, film, architectural space, and television into unique performance pieces.

His fast-paced narratives deal with a diverse range of themes.  They challenge and explore the value and use of visual and verbal perceptions.  Jesurun’s work takes the tension between live performance and technologies of reproduction as a central concern, with a steady stream of language interchanged between live and mediated characters.  His twenty plays include Shatterhand Massacree (1985), Deep Sleep (1986), Everything That Rises Must Converge (1990), Philoktetes (1994), Slight Return (1995), Faust-Imperial Motel (1996), and the fifty-two episodes of his “living film serial,” Chang in a Void Moon (1982-97).


With a background in television production, Jesurun has been writing and directing for the theater since 1982. His company has toured extensively in Europe and the United States.  He has held teaching positions at the Goethe University (1988), the Justus-Liebig University (1998) and the Kyoto University of Art and Design (2002-2003).

Jesurun received a B.F.A. (1972) from the Philadelphia College of Art and an M.F.A. (1974) from Yale University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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