Ken Urban
Track 1

Ken Urban began designing sound for productions of his plays in 2001 and since then, his laptop project Occurrence has become an ongoing activity. In addition to the computer, Ken uses a Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard (mono), a half-broken CD Walkman, and an Olympus microcassette recorder among other items. The featured track is from Occurrence’s new project “The Stairs,” which is Ken’s response to the memories of finding his grandmother dead at the age of nine. In 2005, Ken sent out letters requesting sound files from friends and strangers, with the stipulation that the sounds be unfamiliar to Ken and that the senders not tell him what the sound was or why they chose it. He has received, among other things, recordings of a surreptitiously recorded conversation, an acoustic guitar jam session, the sound of rhinoceroses, a mariachi band performing in a subway station, and a woman whispering. The tracks that comprise “The Stairs” are created by manipulating these sounds. As a playwright, Ken has developed new plays with Lincoln Center and Soho Rep in New York, Annex Theatre in Seattle and Son of Semele in Los Angeles. His play The Absence of Weather, about Truman's Secretary of Defense, was named the winner of the Moving Arts New Play Award and was produced by the company in February 2005 at the Los Angeles Theater Center. The Los Angeles Times called his play Halo “an awesome achievement,” and critics said his work is “smart, sharp and mature” ( as well as “radically ambitious” (Seattle Weekly). He has been called “a playwright to watch” ( and “a writer wholly unafraid to tackle anything” (OC Weekly). His plays have been published or featured in New York Theatre Review (Ed. Brook Stowe), Plays and Playwrights 2002 (Ed. Martin Denton), The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2001 (Ed. D.L. Lepidus), The Brooklyn Rail and The Brooklyn Review. At the request of the Sarah Kane estate, Ken directed a workshop of the late British playwright's Cleansed at the Ohio Theatre in Soho. Ken is the Founding Artistic Director of The Committee Theatre Company.