A Fourth of July backyard barbecue is the setting for Rebecca Gilman's new play, "The Crowd You're in With", a funny, thought-provoking, ultimately disquieting exploration of the question of whether to have children. Melinda and Jasper, the hosts, are deeply divided by the issue; Tom and Karen, their landlords, decided long ago to remain childless; Windsong and her husband, Dan, are expecting a baby. As the play progresses, the motivations of these characters reveal themselves as ever more complex. Even as the characters often speak in very practical terms about their decisions, Gilman never loses sight of the mystery underlying a life-shaping decision guided by both rational thought and biological imperative, which ultimately speaks to the even larger question of free will and determinism faced by every person.
Rebecca Gilman's plays include Dollhouse, Spinning into Butter, Boy Gets Girl, Blue Surge, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and The Glory of Living. Her plays have been produced at the Goodman Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, Joseph Papp's Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Manhattan Class Company Theater. Among other honors and awards, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her play The Glory of Living was a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. Gilman is an assistant professor of playwriting and screenwriting in the MFA program at Northwestern University.