Cover photo by permission of The New York Shakespeare Festival d/b/a The Public Theater ("NYSF")

What Do We Need to Talk About?

Richard Nelson
Book Item Icon $15.95


WHAT DO WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT? is the first play in The Apple Family trilogy:

All three titles may be purchased as a bundle at 20% off the regular price: THE APPLE FAMILY: CONVERSATIONS ON ZOOM: A PANDEMIC TRILOGY


In the midst of our unsettled world, The Apple Family, last seen in 2014, return; though not over the dinner table but via Zoom. This hour-long play picks them up in the midst of their now suspended and quarantined lives. They talk about grocery shopping, friends lost, new ventures on a hoped-for horizon, all during a time when human conversation (and theater) may be more needed that ever before.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (3 female, 2 male)
Full Length Drama (about 60 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tags: ,

Press Quotes

The Apple Family plays:

“No previous works of theater have been topical in the resonant and specific ways of The Apple Family plays … They are a rare and radiant mirror of the way we live … ” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times

The critics on The Apple Family’s first Zoom play, WHAT DO WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT? viewed over 80,000 times in over 30 countries:

“Infinitely poignant.” —The New York Times, Critics Pick

“The first great original play of quarantine.” —The New Yorker

“The best example of Zoom theatre I have watched so far.” —The Guardian, Five Stars

“It’s almost like you are watching a new art form being born.” —Vogue

“It couldn’t be more relevant to how we are right now.” —The Washington Post

“Brilliant theater on Zoom.” —Daily Beast

“Stakes claim as first powerful drama of the pandemic.” —Deadline

“Immensely tender and beautifully constructed new drama that responds directly to the current situation.” —Financial Times

About the Author


  • Richard Nelson

    Richard Nelson's plays include the four-play series, THE APPLE FAMILY (THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY, REGULAR SINGING (Nominated for Outstanding Play in Drama Desk Awards 2014; Public Theater, 2010 – 2013), NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS (Lincoln Center Theater, 2013), FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE (Hampstead Theatre, 2012), HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST, (Huntington Theater, 2008), CONVERSATIONS AT TUSCULUM (Public Theater, 2008), FRANK'S HOME (Goodman Chicago, Playwrights Horizons, 2007), RODNEY'S WIFE (Playwrights Horizons, 2004), WHERE I COME FROM (National Theatre Connections), MADAME MELVILLE (which ran in the West End starring Macaulay Culkin and Irene Jacob and opened in May 2001 Off-Broadway); GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (winner of Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2000), KENNETH'S FIRST PLAY (with Colin Chambers, RSC), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (at the RSC and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York), NEW ENGLAND (RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), MISHA'S PARTY (with Alexander Gelman, RSC and Williamstown Theater Festival), TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony nomination for Best Play, RSC and Broadway), COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JAPAN (RSC Barbican), SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy; RSC, Lincoln Center and Broadway), LEFT, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST (Hampstead), PRINCIPIA SCRIPTORAE (winner of Time Out Award, RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, AN AMERICAN COMEDY, BAL, CONJURING AN EVENT, RIP VAN WINKLE, JUNGLE COUP, THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, THE VIENNA NOTES (Obie Award). His musicals include JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD (starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown; Playwrights Horizons, Belasco Theatre, Broadway, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Kennedy Center, Washington; for which he received a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Musical Book), CHESS (the book for the Broadway musical), PARADISE FOUND (dir: Harold Prince and Susan Strohman), MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon; Playwrights Horizons), UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PLAYER PIANO (with Peter Golub). His translations and adaptations include TYNAN starring Corin Redgrave (with Colin Chambers, RSC and West End), LOLITA with Brian Cox (National), Molnar's THE GUARDSMAN (Kennedy Center), Carriere's THE CONTROVERSY (Public Theater), Fo's ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Broadway), Strindberg's THE FATHER with Frank Langella (Broadway) and MISS JULIE (Yale Rep), Beaumarchais' THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (the Guthrie and Broadway); Molière's DON JUAN, Ibsen's WILD DUCK and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, Pirandello's ENRICO IV, Goldoni's IL CAMPIELLO, Erdmann's THE SUICIDE. With the esteemed translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he was co-translated Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Gogol's THE INSPECTOR, Turgenev's A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY and Bulgakov's DON QUIXOTE. Films: Hyde Park on Hudson, staring Bill Murray and Laura Linney (Dir: Roger Michell), Ethan Frome, starring Liam Neeson (Dir: John Madden); Sensibility and Sense, staring Elaine Stritch and Jean Simmons (Dir: David Jones). Television: The End of a Sentence with Edward Herrmann (Dir: David Jones). Radio Plays include: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, LANGUAGES SPOKEN HERE (Giles Cooper Award), EATING WORDS (Giles Cooper Award), ADVICE TO EASTERN EUROPE, AN AMERICAN WIFE (all BBC).

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/10/2020
Pages 54
ISBN 9780881458879

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:

WHAT DO WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT? was first produced by the Public Theater,
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director,
on the Public's dedicated YouTube Channel.

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
What Do We Need to Talk About? is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


10/20/2021 – 10/20/2021
Uc San Diego
La Jolla, CA

5/6/2021 – 5/6/2021
Leather And Lace Theatre
Vancouver, BC, Canada

2/11/2021 – 2/21/2021
Eve Theatre Company
Louisville, KY