in a word

by  Lauren Yee

Full Length Play, Drama  /  2m, 1f

Grief and comedy collide in this lyrical, absurdist journey on how to get over, get around and get through what haunts you.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 1f
  • Duration


    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    KCACTF: Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival New Play
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Today is the two-year anniversary of Fiona’s son’s disappearance, and still, nothing makes sense to her. Not her blasé husband, the incompetent detective, or the neighborhood kidnapper who keeps introducing himself in the checkout line. As Fiona delves back into her memories of that fateful day, to uncover that crucial missing piece, grief and comedy collide, and ordinary turns of phrase take on dangerous new meanings.
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  • WINNER! 2011KCACTF Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award
    WINNER! 2011 KCACTF Paul Stephen Lim Asian-American Playwriting Award
    WINNER! 2011NETC John Gassner Playwriting Competition
    FINALIST! 2013 Sundance Theatre Lab
    NOMINEE! 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
    WINNER! 2015 Will Glickman Playwright Award



CRITICS PICK! "...sad and breathless and often pretty funny play about the ways in which loss mangles our world and garbles our speech." - The New York Times, Read More

“Engrossing… The pieces and performances grow together with an empathetic force and writerly dexterity that explain why [Lauren Yee] is in increasing demand all over the country.” - San Francisco Chronicle, Read More 

"In a Word is - in a word - riveting. It’s also powerful, moving, funny..." - SF Examiner, Read More 

"Sensational...While the subject matter explored in this play is weighty and disturbing, this production is a remarkably engaging and brilliantly orchestrated series of images." - The News-Hearld, Read More 

"[An] enthralling new play… I was held spellbound for 80 minutes..." - Talkin' Broadway, Read More  

“This is a complex and arresting journey through the words that we employ to clumsily deal with events that are clearly unspeakable.” - Cleveland Scene, Read More


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Additional Features: No intermission


2m, 1f

FIONA - female, 30s-40s
GUY - male, 30s-40s, Fiona’s husband
MAN - male, multiple people:*
KIDNAPPER* - a guy you’d otherwise hang out with
DETECTIVE* - missing persons detective
TRISTAN* - seven years old, smart, different, maybe has Asperger’s
PRINCIPAL* - Ted, Fiona’s boss
ANDY* - Guy’s friend, a real nice f***er
OFFICER* - police officer on the day of the kidnapping

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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)


Available Services



Lauren Yee

Lauren was born and raised in San Francisco and currently lives in New York City. Her plays include CHING CHONG CHINAMAN (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts, SIS Productions, Impact Theatre), CREVICE (Impact), THE HATMAKER’S WIFE (The Playwrights Realm, The Hub, Moxie Theatre, AlterTheater, PlayPenn), HOOKMAN (Encore Theatr ...

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In a Word first premiered at the San Francisco Playhouse in San Francisco, CA in April 2015 under the direction of Giovanna Sardelli. This production was an NNPN Rolling World Premiere that continued on to productions at Cleveland Public Theatre, Mo'Oleo Performing Arts Company, and Strawdog Theatre Company. For more information please visit

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