Brilliant Works of Art

By Donna Hoke    

Brilliant Works of Art

Enjoy this audio recording by Ashland New Plays Festival. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Law student Abby Gates has no qualms about becoming a sugar baby to get her tuition bills paid…until it means keeping a secret from the man she loves, an artist exploring confession and the thresholds of shame. When Abby’s two worlds collide, she discovers her sugar daddy has taught her about more than good wine.

Playwright Perspective

Brilliant Works of Art began with the idea of tracing one sugar relationship from its inception to completion some 40 years later. But in the early stages of building what I wanted to be a formative relationship to both parties, the writing became so complex that I had to sock away the rest of the story for the second and third plays in the trilogy. That said, I love what BWOA became: a story about what we give up to get what we want; art vs. commerce; love vs. sex; willing compromise; and ultimately, a woman unapologetically occupying a place that traditionally belongs to men. That last part has made this a hot-button play, which is to say you’re probably not going to feel neutral when you finish listening to it. Nobody in any talkback ever has, and the spirited debates it has provoked have perhaps been the play’s greatest strength, even as artistic directors often feel they are also the play’s greatest liability (i.e. too risky). I am thrilled to be able to share it with you.


Grant Anthony Heald
Abby Stefani Potter
James Román Zaragoza
Stage directions Brandy Carson


Now. Scene 1: Japanese restaurant Scene 2: Abby’s apartment Scene 3: Hotel room Scene 4: Abby’s apartment Scene 5: Vacant hi-rise condo Scene 6: Art gallery Scene 7: Abby’s apartment Scene 8: Condo terrace Scene 9: Condo terrace Scene 10: Abby/James new apartment Scene 11: Abby/James new apartment
Playwright Image

Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 46 states and on five continents. Plays include Brilliant Works of Art (2016 Kilroys List), Elevator Girl (2017 O’Neill, Princess Grace finalist), Safe (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and Teach (2018 O’Neill semi-finalist, Gulfshore New Works Festival, Athena Plays in Progress).

She has been nominated for both the Primus and Blackburn Prizes and is a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (Seeds, Sons & Lovers). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop Hearts of Stone, and, for three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice – the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. She also serves on the Dramatists Guild Council and as Greater New York State regional representative. In addition, she is a blogger and moderator of the 12,000-plus-member Official Playwrights of Facebook. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, and Workshopping the New Play (Applause, 2017).

Brandy Carson
Brandy Carson
Anthony Heald
Anthony Heald
Stefani Potter
Stefani Potter
Roman Zaragoza Play4Keeps
Román Zaragoza

Brilliant Works of Art was the winner of the Firehouse Festival of New American Plays and is on the 2016 Kilroys List, among other accolades.

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