ALICE EVE COHEN, writer and solo theatre artist


“Alice Eve Cohen has taken her incredible medical odyssey and transmuted it into a powerful piece of theatre: achingly honest and funny, and truly, uniquely, inspiring.” —Mark Nelson, actor, director; faculty, Princeton University

"Raucous, sad, moving and exuberantly funny." Caroline Leavitt, NYT bestselling author, critic Boston Globe, People

“A masterpiece. The purest distillation of a life and death story, and the acting work gave full body to every metamorphosis. Astonishing, and a canonization of candor.”
—Robert Montgomery, playwright

“Alice Eve Cohen’s one woman show What I Thought I Knew, was AMAZING. Raucous, sad, moving and exuberantly funny. You can't take your eyes off Alice--or your ears away from a story of resilience in the face of everything you can think of going wrong."
Caroline Leavitt, NYT bestselling author; book critic, People, Boston Globe

“By turns black comedy, Kafkaesque nightmare, medical mystery, and crisis of faith, What I Thought I Knew is ultimately a love story...blessed with a witty, unsentimental, utterly human voice.” –Donald Margulies, Pulitzer Prize for Drama

"A compelling story told in an intimate voice, alternately humorous and gripping."
– Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director, That Uppity Theatre Company

“A compelling and utterly unique human journey told with ruthless honesty and humor. All I kept thinking was ‘what a woman!’”
–Christine Baranski, actress

“Alice writes with humor, guts, and honesty, while spinning her unbelievable yet true tale like a master. I laughed; I cried. I crashed with her losses; I soared with her triumphs. And I was gripped through every twist and turn. Alice Eve Cohen is my new hero. I aspire to look at my own life's challenges with her kind of ferocity and heartfelt wit.”
–Jacquelyn Reingold, playwright and writer, NBC Smash, HBO In Treatment

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW, a solo play

“A sold-out hit at the All For One Theatre Festival...Cohen’s performance is a constant, joyous amazement.”—Michael Wolk, Exec Director, AFO Festival


A solo play with 40 characters, adapted from Cohen's acclaimed memoir—Oprah magazine 25 Best Books of Summer; Elle Literary Grand Prize for Nonfiction--the play is a riveting odyssey through doubt, a broken medical system, and the complex terrain of motherhood and parenting.


JANE CHAMBERS AWARD Honorable Mention /​ Judges' comments:
"Judges were struck with your solo play's creative, darkly comedic and critical reframing of iconic feminist and very human questions around choice, parenting, and women's health for the stage. With wit, a compelling personal odyssey, and a panorama of vivid figures and loaded scenarios in America's landscape of reproductive culture, you hook audiences, offering new perspectives and emotional (as well as cultural) lessons on life. Thank you for sharing this adaptation of your book, and for crafting a highly-theatrical narrative that is at once highly personal and social, moving and profound. As a reflection on Life (and Death) What I Thought I Knew is challenging, beautiful, and defiantly funny."

• "A masterpiece!"—Robert Montgomery, playwright, faculty, The New School
• “A continual revelation… a harrowing, moving, and rewarding ride.”—Matthew Maguire, playwright; Theatre Program director, Fordham University
• "Raucous, sad, moving and exuberantly funny." Caroline Leavitt, NYT bestselling author, book critic Boston Globe, People
• "While filled with Cohen’s characteristic warmth and humor, What I Thought I Knew indicts the health care system..."—Jewish Week

WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre, on by the All For One Theatre Festival. It was produced by The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY, where it had a critically acclaimed three-week main-stage run in June 2013. The play has also been presented at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson, NY, and the RVCC Theatre in NJ. In May, 2014, it will be presented by Judson Church, in NYC.

Alice was happy for the first time in years. After a difficult divorce, she had a new love in her life, she was raising a beloved adopted daughter, and her career was blossoming. Then, she started experiencing mysterious symptoms. After months of tests, X-rays, and inconclusive diagnoses, Alice was sent for an emergency CAT scan that revealed the truth: she was six months pregnant. At age 44, with no prenatal care and no insurance coverage for a high-risk pregnancy, Alice was besieged by opinions from doctors and friends about what was ethical, what was loving, what was right.
A dark comedy performed by one actress playing 40 roles, the play grapples with complex issues—including women’s reproductive rights and our country’s healthcare system—in a deeply personal way, inspiring public engagement and conversation across the political spectrum.

Director: Elizabeth Margid, with additional direction by Rachel Lampert
Sound Design: Eric Nightengale

• September, 2012: All For One Theatre Festival, Cherry Lane Theater, NYC
• March, 2013: Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, NJ
• May, 2013: The Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY
• June, 2013: The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY, 3-week run, main-stage season.

The show began its development through workshops, fellowships and residencies at:
University of Michigan
The Envision Retreat—Voice & Vision Theatre
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
Fordham University
Finalist, 2012 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.

“Once again you capture me with a story that grabs my heart and makes me gasp. I have been thinking about it non-stop. Thrilled this piece will have a home for a few weeks in Ithaca. ”
—Rachel Lampert, Artistic Director, The Kitchen Theatre, Ithaca, NY

“While filled with Cohen’s characteristic warmth and humor, What I Thought I Knew indicts the health care system for first misdiagnosing Cohen’s condition and then refusing to accept the liability of treating her when her pregnancy was finally revealed through an emergency CAT scan on erev Rosh HaShanah.”
—Ted Merwin, Jewish Week

“Thank you for your extraordinary story. The journey was totally compelling and riveting. I was amazed at how you inhabited each character so specifically and distinctly. And what delicious humor you have! I was laughing, crying, and outraged at our medical system. I was so moved by your humanity and all the questions, emotions, struggles, elations, colors, revelations, arrivals that you lived through during your journey.”
—Dawn Saito, performance artist/​actress, writer

Selected Works: Memoir; Solo Theater; Reviews and Articles; Teaching

“A wry, magical memoir about the transcendent power of mother-daughter love.” —Elle "The Year My Mother Came Back is a perfect book." Abigail Thomas, bestselling author of A Three Dog Life
“Everything we love in a book -- profound, honest, hilarious, humane, surprising." Anne Lamott, Salon BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR" "Her darkly hilarious memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking), is an unexpected bundle of joy.” Oprah Magazine
Solo Theatre
Jane Chambers Award 2015 Honorable Mention. “A sold-out hit at the All For One Theatre Festival...Cohen’s performance is a constant, joyous amazement.” —Director, AFO Theatre Festival “So vivid, so immediate, so complex, so full of compassion, so brutally honest… This is what theater can be. All in one body—speaking, moving, falling still—and an audience, echoing each change.”—Tompkins Weekly, Ithaca, NY.
One building. A city in upheaval. A solo play about twelve lives colliding. "Gripping" New York Times “A little show, but with such a big, embracing heart.”
–The Guardian, London
“Spellbinding…Our audiences were enraptured.”DTW, Family Matters “It was probably the funniest show I have ever seen!”—Daniel, age 7
“She is a remarkable teacher. She helped me to find my artistic voice, and her course had a major impact on my life and my career.” —James Scruggs, playwright, performance artist.
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