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Can Conservative Values and Progressive Politics Coexist?

Abby Rosebrock & Layla Khosh in DIDO OF IDAHO at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Photo by Gerry Goodstein

Abby Rosebrock and Layla Khosh in Dido in Idaho. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

[Full article published in TDF Stages, March 30, 2018.]

Playwright Abby Rosebrock tries to work that out in Dido of Idaho


Abby Rosebrock did sketch comedy and worked in academia before becoming a performer-playwright. She was most fulfilled when the two went together. “It’s like being a singer-songwriter,” she explains. “You’ve written your own material and the performance is integral to bringing that material to life.”

Yet she realized honing her skills as a dramatist meant acting had to take a backseat, at least temporarily. So she really wasn’t planning to portray Crystal, a former beauty queen who doesn’t realize her husband is cheating in Dido of Idahoat Ensemble Studio Theatre — that’s just the way it turned out. But Rosebrock has no regrets. “The voice ended up being so specific that I ended up just embracing it,” she says.

The play was initially inspired by Rosebrock’s obsession with the tragedy of Dido and Aeneas in which the Roman gods force the Trojan hero to abandon his lover who, bereft, commits suicide. In Dido of Idaho, fellow university professors Nora, a musicologist, and Michael, a poet, are having an affair. The two share many passions, including a love for Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas, but he won’t leave his wife Crystal. After an unpleasant confrontation between the two women, Nora flees to her estranged mother Julie, a culturally rigid yet sexually liberated evangelical Christian who happens to be bisexual.

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