How to Use a Knife

Winner, Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play, 2017
Finalist, PEN Center USA Literary Award, 2017

In the chaotic hustle and bustle of a Wall Street restaurant kitchen, Chef George is trying to stay sober. In between yelling at a pair of trash-talking line cooks and a pot-smoking busboy, he befriends Steve, an East African immigrant who seems to be a humble yet dignified dishwasher. But Steve played a shocking role in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide, and immigration authorities are on his trail. Set during busy dinner shifts and filled with a cast of unforgettable New York characters, How to Use a Knife bursts with grinding suspense, energy, and surprise.

Production – Shattered Globe Theatre, Chicago, IL, 2018
Production – Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, FL, 2018       
Production – Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis, MN, 2017
Production – InterAct Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA, 2017
Production – Horizon Theatre, Atlanta, GA, 2017
Production – Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City, MO, 2017
Production – Phoenix Theatre, Indianapolis, IN, 2017
Production – Capital Stage, Sacramento, CA, 2016
Workshop – University of California, San Diego, 2016
Reading – NNPN National Showcase of New Plays, 2015
Workshop – Kennedy Center MFA Workshop, 2015
Workshop – MCC Theater, 2014
Reading – Youngblood, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2013

“In the 100-minute running time of How to Use a Knife, the tension mounts and never subsides…a fully-formed, richly textured, provocative play.” -David Fox, Philadelphia Magazine

“Will Snider’s brilliant play, HOW TO USE A KNIFE, is sizzling at InterAct Theatre Company under Seth Rozin’s go-for-broke direction. This is one of those terrific evenings in the theater where one minute you’re laughing, and the next minute you’re seized by a kind of nameless dread. Scene One is hilarious; Scene Two wipes the smile right off your face.” -Toby Zinman, Phindie

“The work smoothly morphs from boisterous comedy to tense character drama through taut, believable narrative twists and outstanding performances across the ensemble…Snider resists impulses to put too fine a point on his ending, yet the finale satisfies with weary optimism.” -Marcus Crowder, Sacramento Bee

How to Use a Knife gives an explosively taut 100-minute thrill ride…Snider's script features not only the exciting rat-a-tat of kitchen repartee and labor but makes each character's concerns complex and believable…See it.” -Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review 

“‘How to Use a Knife’ gets the flavors right, deftly blending snappy sitcom banter with issues of race, justice and geopolitical conflict…Snider is a facile writer with a good ear for dialogue and a sprightly sense of plotting…” -Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

“Will Snider’s play…is both a richly comic exploration of a very specific environment and, in its latter stages, a serious drama about monumental guilt.” -Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star

“The terrific new ‘How to Use a Knife’ comes at you like a play on speed, or maybe a play with no speed limit. What’s more, the play meets a perfect match in its seamless production from InterAct Theatre Company. Its characters establish themselves instantly, as if the 100-minute one-act would otherwise be squandering time on its set, the modest kitchen of a Wall Street restaurant.” -Howard Shapiro, WHYY Philadelphia

“HOW TO USE A KNIFE is an exceptional new play that leaves you with more questions than answers…a damn fine play, and worthy of your time and money.” -Jason Epperson, PerformInk Kansas City

“Snider is a whip-smart writer whose dialogue ideally captures the radically different rhythms, inflections, humor and pain of his characters…(a)mong its several honors, ‘How to Use a Knife’ was named a finalist for a PEN Center USA Literary Award. Based on this exceptional Shattered Globe production alone, it should have won the prize.” -Hedy Weiss, Chicago Tonight WTTW

“A tragicomic psychodrama about the various ways men avoid dealing with loss, violence, and tragedy, Snider's powerful drama is set entirely in the kitchen of a Manhattan eatery, a space fraught with tension and populated by an international cast of characters.” -Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer

“‘How to Use a Knife’ is funny and charming, but it is no sitcom. It is ultimately serious and challenging. And it is very fine.” -Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago on the Aisle

(c) Unicorn Theatre

(c) Unicorn Theatre