"Creates the intense atmosphere of an unstable world with grace and a sort of lyric power.”
National Public Radio
Germaine Shames, a Kilroys List playwright and recipient of her state’s Literary Fellowship in Fiction, is author of the award-winning novels, Between Two Deserts and You, Fascinating You. Writing under the pen name Casper Silk (Hotel Noir, Echo Year), she has been compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene and P.D. James “on steroids”.
A former Theatre major, Shames began writing for the stage in 2014 and was instantly smitten. In 2017, the playwright celebrated the New York City premiere of her musical comedy, Anna Karenina Lives!, and the selection of her drama-thriller, The Degenerates, for Williams Street Rep’s LAB New Play Series, and in 2018, the premiere of her protest play, Nasty. Shames' bio-drama, The Higher Love, winner of three national workshop competitions, was slated to premiere in Phoenix as part of Now and Then Creative Company's 2020 season. Her musicals, If the Spirit Moves (with composer Erin Murray Quinlan) and The Manifesto (with Nadav Amir-Himmel), premiered at Theatre Elision in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Her TYA play, Year of Thirteen Moons, had a digital production at the New Works Playhouse then went on to win ThinkTank's 2021 TYA Playwrights Festival.
In addition to her original plays, Shames has made a mission of adapting and re-imagining classic 19th and early 20th-century novels for the stage with an emphasis on works either by women or with strong women’s roles and relationships. Her D.H. Lawrence adaptation, The Virgin and the Gypsy, formed part of the 2018 Festival of New American Theatre at Phoenix Theatre and was a finalist in the Liz Smith Reading Series. A second Lawrence adaptation. The Lost Girl, won Starlight Theater’s 2019 Playwriting Contest and was subsequently produced by the S. Devon Players. Her Emile Zola re-imagining of The Masterpiece was a finalist for the Trustus Playwright Award, and her radical Nathaniel Hawthorne adaptation, The Scarlet Letter (Bible Belt, 1965), for LOCAL Lab. To date, the playwright has also adapted multiple works by Edith Wharton and Aldous Huxley.
Katherine Monberg, Literary Manager of Arizona Theatre Company (LORT-B), Arizona's state theatre, has written of Shames, "Germaine is a playwright of both depth and innovation, able to craft layered and complex characters amidst dramatic structures that both celebrate and defy traditional literary approaches. One of the most compelling things about Germaine and her writing is her ability to give voice to the important conversations of our contemporary world in a unique yet accessible context, embracing and exploring the intangible, compelling spark that makes stories and characters come alive."
As a librettist and lyricist, Shames collaborates with award-winning composers in musical theatre, opera, choral and popular music. Her songs have been performed across a spectrum of venues and events in such cities as New York, Paris and Washington, DC. Her opera, The Bird Lady (with Timothy Miller), will premiere at OperaAvant later this year.
Shames holds a Master’s degree in Intercultural Studies. Her writing reflects the breadth of her worldview and fascination with the interplay of cultures, often drawing on events and settings from her sojourns abroad.
Her work has earned her residencies at the Fundacion Valparaiso, Wildacres Retreat, New York Mills and Yellow Bird Artscape, three professional development grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an Editor's Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society, and a scholarship to the Writers Center at the University of Arizona.
Still growing, still striving, Shames believes in happy endings. It’s all about love.
"To edit Germaine Shames, though she doesn't need it, is a singular privelege."
"Shames is a creator of both subtlety and of impact, leaving lasting impressions through an
unwavering commitment to the voice and vision of her characters."
Katherine Monberg, Arizona Theatre Company