Drama. Poetry. ARCADIA, INDIANA is a mutant tragedy, a five act-sonnet sequence, staged in the trash-choked landscape of pastoral fantasy. It plays with narrative, labor, sexuality, and form, starting with a murder in an Indiana steel factory and ending with the Sphinx refusing all of Oedipus' solutions to her riddles. This play is a Renaissance tragedy in contemporary drag, destabilizing literary boundaries to develop a poetics of trash, in which the repressed and discarded parts of (literary) history return to strangle their point of origin.
"The factories were once the future, then they became the 'rustbelt, ' the ruins of that future, then it turned out--with the economic meltdown and the Republican power take over--that it had been the future all along. In Toby Altman's marvelously precise, vertigonously playful and formally volatile ARCADIA, INDIANA, the comma of the title is the star, the true title, the space in time where the play takes place: In that space, this necropastoral play reveals that Indiana was always based on arcadia, and arcadia always had a toxic Indiana seeping through its beautiful--pre-dead, un-dead, super-dead--bodies. With this potent, maximalist work, Altman joins a language-saturated tradition of drama as poetry, or poetry as pageantry, which might also include Heiner Muller, Suzan Lori Parks, Joyelle McSweeney and Mac Wellman. At times this work reads like a crucial report from the poisoned heart of America. At other times, it reads like an ecstatic source book for how to destroy/remake theater."--Johannes Goransson
Toby Altman is the author of ARCADIA, INDIANA (Plays Inverse, 2017) as well as five chapbooks, including recently Security Theater (Present Tense Pamphlets, 2016). His poems can be found in Crazyhorse, Jubilat, Lana Turner, and other journals and anthologies. He is currently completing a PhD in English at Northwestern University. In the Fall of 2017, he will begin an MFA in poetry at the Iowa Writers Workshop.