( 1935- )
Clare Coss has a BA in theatre from Louisiana State University and a master's degree in theatre education from New York University and, in the mid-1970s, she completed a master's degree in social work at the State University of New York-Stony Brook and trained as a psychotherapist. She divides her two careers between her psychotherapy practice in New York City and her writing work in her studio on Long Island.
In the late 1960s, when Coss began writing plays, she dealt primarily with two major themes: plays inspired by women breaking down interior and exterior barriers and plays about women who strove to forge their vision of a just society. In 1971 the Berkshire Theatre Festival gave Coss her first full production. From 1977 to 1981, she was a cofounder and co-artistic director of the Women's Experimental Theatre, and producer Margot Lewitin invited the group to be in residence at the Interart Theatre in New York. There, with Sondra Segal and Roberta Sklar, Coss coauthored a trilogy on women in the family. Then, in the early 1980s, Coss left in order to write her own plays. Various readings and workshops led to productions of three of her plays. In 1996 she edited an anthology of lesbian love poems, Arc of Love, published by Simon and Schuster.
She and her partner, Blanche Wiesen Cook, celebrated their twenty-fifth year together in 1994. They live in New York City and East Hampton.
Coss utilizes conventions of the theatre of the absurd in Growing Up Gothic but employs a more traditional, realistic structure in Lillian Wald and The Blessing.