Incredibly Titled Play Pussy Sludge Wins American Playwriting Foundation Prize

The sludge in question / Image via Getty
The sludge in question / Image via Getty

Playwright Gracie Gardner has won the American Playwright Foundation’s 2017 Relentless Award, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman, for her play about a woman who menstruates crude oil.


“There’s a woman menstruating crude oil. She lives in a swamp,” reads the description for Gardner’s Pussy Sludge. “She’s in love with Courtney, but her mother prefers RJ. No one knows who knows what’s best.” How refreshing, to get such a realistic female character! Gardner says she wrote the play after falling asleep on election night and having a dream where crude oil was gushing out of her. “It’s a love letter to a nightmare,” she told Theater in the Now.

Gardner, who lives in Brooklyn, wins $45,000 for the prize, The New York Times reports, adding that her play has an “unprintable title.” All eight of the finalists this year were women and three previous recipients of the award were also women, so the Relentless Award has a nice track record so far recognizing female playwrights.

And even though the newspaper claims they can not print Gardner’s play title, I’ll remind you that The New York Times has definitely printed the word pussy before. The band Pussy Riot and Bond girl Pussy Galore have landed in print, as well as our own President using the word. But when it comes to the title of a work of art, printing “pussy” is apparently off limits. Perhaps the “sludge” was too much for the newspaper to handle?

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel


It’s too bad Elaine Stritch is no longer with us; they got her to record the voice-over for The Motherfucker With the Hat’s commercial (I definitely remember an uncensored version that played online), and she would nail Pussy Sludge.