Joe Penhall (b. Surrey, 1967) is an English playwright. His early work was championed by the Royal Court and he became resident dramatist at the Donmar Warehouse. From Some Voices (1994) and Pale Horse (1995) to In Love and Understanding (1997) and The Bullet(1998) there is an exploration of male relationships, usually involving one individual whose eccentricity clashes dangerously with the responsible and timid aspirations of the other; this tension, frequently brought into crisis by sudden upsurges of intrusion, violence and sexual threat, is played out in a world of moral confusion and bewilderment. Other plays include Blue/Orange (2000), a success at the National Theatre, which examines racism, health care and perceptions of madness and normality. It transferred to the West End, winning many awards including the Evening Standard Best Play Award, the Critics' Circle Award for Best New Play and the 2001 Olivier Award for Best New Play. More recently, Penhall wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's acclaimed novel, The Road starring Viggo Mortensen (2009). Since then, Penhall has had a number of successful plays at the Royal Court including Haunted Child (2011) and Birthday (2012).
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