Cover art by Arlene Warner

The Art of Disappearing

Stephanie Alison Walker
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When Melissa receives a mysterious invitation to brunch from her mother after a two-year estrangement, she returns to a home where nothing is as it seems. Fathers lie, friends leave, and she herself is failing in the artist's world she covets — as her mother practices the art of disappearing before her very eyes. The devastating truth she discovers in her parents' house threatens to tear all of them apart for good. Will Melissa stay and fight for her family? Or will she disappear too?

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (2 female, 2 male, doubling)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“Stephanie Alison Walker’s THE ART OF DISAPPEARING, now in a sharp and often emotionally vital world premiere … tackles the subject of dementia … The central figures in Walker’s piece are a married couple and their grown child who has a conflicted relationship with the ailing parent. But Walker’s play take[s] a fresh and mostly unsentimental approach to the question of how much forgetting and forgiving we need to do in times of crisis … That confluence between a daughter who lies about herself when she feels parental pressure and a domineering mother who can’t face her own diminishing mental capacities provides Walker’s play with its strongest moments.” —Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune

“The mother-daughter relationship is, to be sure, a complex one, with comedians frequently playing on a daughter’s horrified realization that she is ‘becoming’ her mother. In Stephanie Alison Walker’s fierce and troubling play, THE ART OF DISAPPEARING … that realization assumes downright harrowing and tragic proportions as an already troubled daughter is confronted by the knowledge that her willful and still beautiful mother is suffering from early onset dementia … Dementia (whether in middle age or old age) has become the subject of a number of recent plays. Walker has very skillfully observed the extreme mood swings and erratic behavior that can accompany it … Walker’s play is full of surprises. And it is rooted in the kind of harrowing truths few people want to confront.” —Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

About the Author


  • Stephanie Alison Walker

    Stephanie Alison Walker is an internationally-produced, award-winning playwright whose work is known for the personalization of the political, humor in darkness and the exploration of the resilience of women. Her play about the 2018 housing crisis AMERICAN HOME was the inaugural winner of American Blues Theatre's Blue Ink Award, her play about the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina, THE MADRES, was the 2019 Winner of the prestigious Francesca Primus Prize, winner of the Ashland New Plays Festival, the Generations Prize and semi-finalist for the CTG/ Humanitas Prize for playwriting, her follow-up play THE ABUELAS, winner of the Ashland New Plays Festival, premiered at Teatro Vista and was a Chicago Tribune Critic's pick. THE ART OF DISAPPEARING was a finalist for the Primus Prize and enjoyed critical praise for the world premiere in Chicago by 16th Street Theater in 2015. Her play FRIENDS WITH GUNS that tackles liberals and guns, was an O'Neill Finalist, an L.A. Times Critics Choice, called a "savage feminist parable" by the Times. Her latest play — SOPHIA HAYDEN DESERVES BETTER — tells the story of Sophia Hayden, the architect of the Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She has had the honor to work with wonderful theatres across the U.S. including Teatro Vista, New York Theatre Workshop, Antaeus Theatre Company, 16th Street Theatre, The Road Theater, Moving Arts, Local Theater Company, Skylight Theatre, Moxie Theatre, American Blues Theatre and many more. Her work has been produced across the U.S. and abroad in Mexico, India, Australia and South Africa. Her short plays have been anthologized by Smith & Kraus. In addition to writing plays, she is currently adapting FRIENDS WITH GUNS and THE ABUELAS as features while raising two spirited boys and selling real estate in the suburbs of Chicago. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Antaeus Playwrights Lab and Honor Roll! — an advocacy and action group of women+ playwrights over forty whose aim is to significantly increase inclusion and representation on stage and in the theatrical canon.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 10/6/2022
Pages 90
ISBN 9780881459418

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

First produced at 16th Street Theater (Ann Filmer, Artistic Director)
in Berwyn, Illinois, in January 2015.

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Art of Disappearing is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC