The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Student Spotlight | UI third-year student defies boundaries by examining his life, lives of famous playwrights

In Anthony Courant’s play, “All The People We Used to Know and Their Cars I’m Too Afraid to Drive,” explores his own experiences as well as the impact of other famous writers. The play was shown in a workshop from Sept. 29-30.
Dillon Jacobson
Anthony Courant poses for a portrait in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.

Third-year theater student and playwright Anthony Courant aims to test the boundary of what a play can be, using his time at the University of Iowa to grow and develop his writing skills. 

Courant, originally from Brooklyn, New York City, first discovered his love of playwriting at Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts. 

By his second year of high school, he began to fall out of love with acting and wanted to explore other aspects of theatre. That’s when he took his first playwriting class. 

“When I went back to school the following year, I started referring to myself as a playwright,” Courant said. 

Courant is particularly interested in the genre of “brother” plays, which usually involve two actors depicting brothers with estranged or distorted relationships. 

He examines the relationship between two brothers named Stevie and Andy in his play, “All The People We Used to Know and Their Cars I’m Too Afraid to Drive.” This is a reference to composers and lyricists Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

“We’re trying to examine those plays and we’re trying to have a conversation with those plays,” Courant said, “We’re examining what it really means to be a brother. They love each other so much, but they no longer know how to show it.” 

Courant’s play was produced in a workshop on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30, an opportunity that the theater department developed for student writers to select undergraduate students to present their productions. The students complete certain class criteria and are responsible for leading the production process and gathering a team. 


Writing sessions are often long and arduous for Courant, who shared he does not usually plan out what he’s going to write beforehand. Instead, he sits down for long periods of time and writes whatever he thinks of. 

In his play, he hopes to break open the mold of what it means to be a play and explore the different methods of writing plays. Additionally, he shared he wants to make his audience members think about their lives and about theater. He also wants to inspire his audiences to be able to talk about themes that are considered taboo or uncomfortable. 

“I always like to make sure my work is provocative in one way or another,” Courant said. “I would like people to be a little more uncomfortable because I want the audience to really examine themselves.” 

RELATED: IC Singers and Songwriters Collective changes the tune of local aspiring artists 

Courant shared that his time at UI has been invaluable to his work and writing; Meeting with faculty and students with similar interests has been critical to his success. At UI, he’s met many peers and mentors who inspire him.

Courant shared that the workshop process is an excellent learning opportunity and that he’s hoping to learn about processes of producing and creating theater, as well as the different aspects of production he hasn’t yet been involved in.

“New work in the theater is very important,” Courant said. “It’s really cool the Theater Department is giving the space to produce new work, really. We’re really, really fortunate to be able to do that.” 

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About the Contributor
Emma Gaughan
Emma Gaughan, Arts Reporter
Emma Gaughan is a second-year student at the University of Iowa, studying psychology and criminology, as well as completing a writing certificate. She is from West Des Moines, where she developed her love of both writing and the arts.