Spring 2014 SPOTLIGHT
Spotlight is the Huntington Theatre Company's literary magazine. The Spring 2014 issue explores upcoming productions of VENUS IN FUR, THE SEAGULL, BECOMING CUBA, and SMART PEOPLE, as well as the Huntington's annual Spotlight Spectacular gala.
KATE BURTON RETURNS IN THE SEAGULL SPRING 2013-2014 SPOTLIGHT GREAT THEATRE — PRODUCED BY YOU VENUS IN FUR P.2 THE SEAGULL P.6 BECOMING CUBA P.10 SMART PEOPLE P.14 THE HUNT P.18 EDUCATION P.20 HUNTINGTON NEWS P.22 PERFORMANCE CALENDARS P.23 Kate Burton in The Cherry Orchard (2007) 2013 TONY T. CHARLES ERICKSON AWARD RECIPIENT JAN VEN .3- FUR US FEB IN .2 BR OA DW AY’ S BY DI RE CT ED BY DAV DA ID I NIE VES LG OLD STE IN “SMART. SEXY. HILARIOUS.” – VOGUE Vanda has her eyes on the lead role in Venus in Fur, an adaptation of the classic erotic novel. Her charged audition for the director becomes an electrifying game of cat and mouse as the lines blur between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex. This hilarious and sexy new comedy was a smash Broadway hit. SEX YH IT C OM EDY “SERIOUSLY SMART AND VERY FUNNY. A suspense-packed study of the erotics of power. 90 minutes of good, kinky fun!” – THE NEW YORK TIMES A BU VEN TH U EAT E RE O FT HE AR TS “EXPLOSIVE and thought-provoking comedy!” – BROADWAY WORLD “This savage, sexy, smart, and funny new play by David Ives took my breath away. Director Daniel Goldstein set our stage on fire with God of Carnage, and I know he will make our new production the hottest date night in Boston.” – PETER DUBOIS David Ives A LOOK AT PLAYWRIGHT DAVID IVES When David Ives began the process of writing Venus in Fur, he says he started with “a very powerful, very bad idea.” He wanted to explore the intricacies of a sadomasochistic relationship on stage. He had recently revisited Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, a novella that chronicles a master-slave relationship that in its day was deemed so provocative it inspired psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing to name the psycho-sexual condition masochism after the author. Ives says he was “dramaturgically electrified” while reading the novella because its relationship between the troubled writer Severin von Kushemski and his mysterious neighbor, Vanda von Dunajew, “sparks with the friction of two buttoned-up people in an erotic power play who challenge, resist, and disagree with each other even while bound by mutual sexual attraction.” Ives was compelled to create an adaptation that would bring to the stage the incendiary relationship that flourishes when Severin, who is infatuated by the idea of completely subjugating to a woman, signs away his power to Vanda. But when Ives’ first drafts — although filled with the intensity and passion — proved unsuccessful, Ives was faced with a bigger question: “What does this relationship in 1870, however complex, have to do with us in the early 21st century?” Ives decided to strip his adaptation of the period costumes and language and “crossed out everything that wasn’t drama and anything that was not conflict.” The result is an explosive 90-minute play that re-envisions Kushemski and Vanda’s relationship in a modern setting: an audition room in which a director is casting his new adaptation of, none other than, Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs. The play thus moves away from literally showing us masochism, and instead gives fresh insight into what drives humans to seek these encounters and whether masochism is concealed in familiar relationships. Ives transforms his adaptation into a game The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood says is, “something darker, stranger, and altogether more delicious.” The play opens with playwright and director Thomas Novachek complaining to his fiancée about being unable to cast Vanda because most of his applicants “sound like six-year-olds on helium” who “bring along props and whole sacks full of costumes.” He is interrupted when Vanda, a ditzy New York actress, walks into the audition room drenched from the rain, several hours late, and carrying a sack full of props and costumes. Donning her Screaming Mimi’s leather outfit, Vanda is clearly the opposite of what Thomas had envisioned for his character — he needed “a woman” with the stature, poise, and dominant energy that would make a man submit to her every word. Desperate to prove him wrong, Vanda persuades Thomas to let her read. She proceeds to give a stellar audition, proving such command of the character and text that it throws off the balance in the room. Vanda and Thomas’s whirlwind of role-playing blurs the line between fantasy and reality and as Vanda takes on characteristics of the playwright/director and Thomas slowly succumbs to her seductive energy, Sacher-Masoch’s psycho-sexual games suddenly become the reality of the rehearsal room. Ives distorts the power dynamic that exists between Sacher-Masoch’s characters, the director/actress, and the gendered codes between men and women, and as audience members, we may not be sure who initiated the game and who orchestrated the moves. Was it Vanda, in an effort to enact her revenge as an actress trapped in a sexist world? Or Thomas, as a way to reveal his true desire to be dominated like Kushemski? In the end, Ives says he realized that “I not only had characters in conflict, but I had two eras in conflict,” which makes us wonder if there isn’t a little bit of Vanda and Kushemski in all of us who watch their electrifying relationship unfold. - SEBASTIÁN BRAVO MONTENEGRO LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit huntingtontheatre.org/venusinfur to read an article by playwright David Ives about his writing process for Venus in Fur, explore the novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and more. HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 3 SHOPPING WITH COSTUME DESIGNER CHARLES SCHOONMAKER “Haven’t you always wanted to belong to a ‘Thong of the Month Club,’” asks costume designer Charles “Chip” Schoonmaker as we set out on an afternoon of research for the Huntington’s upcoming production of David Ives’ “spooky sex comedy” Venus in Fur. Clearly it’s going to be one of those NSFW* days. Costume design always begins with practical questions about the characters in the play: age, class, sexuality, weather, time period are all elements that have to be interrogated. Even so, it’s not every day that one gets to ride along with a whip-smart man as he explores dramatic questions about boots and bustiers, riding crops and paddles. Funny and provocative, like the play itself, Chip is clearly the man for this job. We start for the famously sketchy Eros Boutique in the South End. While walking, we talk about Vanda, the mysterious woman at the center of Venus in Fur. In the play, Vanda is a desperate actress finagling an audition with author/director Thomas for the role of “Vanda” the object of worship in the play-within-the-play and the novel. (David Ives is a master of metatheatre.) She transforms from modern to Victorian, from comic to erotic, from vulnerable to powerful and back again. Chip’s first concern is actually the actress, Schoonmaker’s sketch of Vanda 4 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 CURTAIN CALLS NAME Andrea Syglowski ROLE Vanda HOMETOWN Springfield, PA HOW ARE YOU LIKE YOUR CHARACTER? Oh, I go to all of my auditions wearing leather lingerie and a dog collar. (Just kidding.) I think I just shared with you what Vanda and I have in common — we are both quick to crack a joke. But, underneath “the funny,” Vanda and I both have a heightened awareness of inequality when we see it. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE ACTING ROLE AND WHY? If I have to choose just one, it dates back to college when I was cast as Hecuba in The Trojan Women. I was far too young to play the part, and it was extremely demanding. The reason I chose this role is because it asked me to find an inner strength in myself and a perseverance that didn’t exist prior to that production. That strength and that unwillingness to give up stayed with me and to some degree it is a part of everything I do today. BEST SEDUCTION TECHNIQUE? When I figure that out I will let you know. I DO make a killer omelet, does that count? WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MYTHIC GOD/GODDESS AND WHY? I have always loved Athena, mostly known as the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, just warfare, and...arts and crafts. She can go from kicking Poseidon’s butt, to settling a dispute, and then knit you a scarf. I love that. NAME Chris Kipiniak ROLE Thomas HOMETOWN Ridgewood, NJ HOW ARE YOU LIKE YOUR CHARACTER? I am insufferable, embarrassingly susceptible to flattery, utterly humorless about my own artistic vision, and, as a heterosexual male working in the theatre, have things pretty easy. But, on the plus side, I think I’m a little more self-aware. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE ACTING ROLE AND WHY? I was involved in the development of and performed in Metamorphoses directed by Mary Zimmerman. It took place in a pool of water and I got to perform some pretty racy choreography in a very beautiful, albeit disturbing, scene. It was certainly memorable. BEST SEDUCTION TECHNIQUE? I could say, “The one they don’t notice until the next morning,” but then I’d sound sleazy and like I didn’t understand 99% of what the play is about. If I say something sincere like, “Just listen...be present...be yourself...” then I sound even MORE sleazy because the earnestness just sounds like a tactic. Plus, any seduction technique’s success is predicated on the object of seduction being unprepared for it. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MYTHIC GOD/GODDESS AND WHY? Hades. The other gods share dominion of the over world with Zeus, but Hades has his own place, the underworld. Plus, everything becomes subject to him in the end. That, to me, says patience, a quality which I aspire to have someday. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/venusinfur for expanded interviews with the cast. Photos from Charles Schoonmaker and Lisa Timmel’s shopping adventure “You know, I don’t know her yet, so I’m not sure what will look right on her. So today is very preliminary.” When we get to Eros, we learn it has closed and been replaced by a home furnishing store whose chalkboard sign exhorts passersby to “Cozy up your home for fall!” Chip sighs, “Oooh, another nesting store. I guess the gayborhood is no longer the gayborhood.” Our next stop is La Perla, a beautifully appointed Italian lingerie store on Boylston Street in Back Bay that is all clean lines and black lacy lingerie. Chip goes immediately to a $900 corset. Examining it he informs me, “It has boning. As every corset should.” The clerk informs us that this particular style comes with pasties. Looking around the store we find a display consisting of leather whip, gloves, and mask, and we realize this is why Eros closed. Who needs to go to a dank, second-floor shop off the beaten path when you can go to a clean, well-lit store located right on the Boston Common for all of your domination needs? The extreme has gone mainstream. The last stop on our tour is Agent Provacateur on Newbury Street. The decor in this shop is lush, romantic, and colorful. Making note of the great variety of style and color, Chip remarks, “Nothing in the script says her bra has to be black, but when you get into color it becomes something else. It might look French burlesque.” The clerk explains that, “each piece has its own personality but the person who wears it is 50% of the equation.” With that, we are back where we started, pondering what might work for a real actress, or as Chip puts it, “What might look sexy on one body can look trashy on another.” Venus in Fur is a play that subtly investigates the kinds of stories we write on women’s bodies; trashy, sexy, funny, or all three, Ives wants us to finally ask, who do you think you are looking at? - LISA TIMMEL *Internet acronym meaning “not safe for work” which was invented in reference to the prevalence of the sharing of pornography on work email. SEE PAGE 23 FOR SHOW PERFORMANCE CALENDAR AND EVENT LISTINGS HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 5 AN CH TON EKH OV P SCHAUL MID T NIC MA HO RTI LAS N DI RE CT ED BY TR AN SL AT ED A BU VEN TH U EAT E RE O FT HE AR TS “Nicholas Martin is A MASTER.” – WBUR MA T H R.7 SE E -AP AGU R.6 LL Nicholas Martin and Kate Burton (Hedda Gabler, The Corn is Green, and The Cherry Orchard) — renowned interpreters of Anton Chekhov’s blend of humor and pathos — reunite for this emotionally rich classic. Celebrated actress Irina Arkadina’s visit to her aspiring playwright son with her successful novelist lover in tow kindles unrequited passions and petty jealousies in this masterpiece about love, missed connections, and what it means to be an artist. Burton’s son Morgan Ritchie, who appeared with her in The Corn is Green, plays Arkadina’s son Konstantin. KAT EB UR TON IN BY BY “Nicholas Martin and Kate Burton are a Chekhov dream team. Add Kate’s son Morgan in the role of Konstantin, and this production is definitely one to anticipate.” – PETER DUBOIS Anton Chekhov “I’M THRILLED TO REUNITE WITH MY BELOVED NICHOLAS MARTIN, MY LEADING MAN FROM THE CORN IS GREEN, MORGAN RITCHIE, AND ONE OF MY FAVORITE THEATRES, THE HUNTINGTON.” – KATE BURTON THE SEAGULL: A PORTRAIT OF ARTISTS Of Chekhov’s four masterworks — The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard — only the first depicts the lives of artists. The actress Irina, the novelist Trigorin, the playwright Konstantin, and the aspiring ingénue Nina — all embody different facets of the creative life, and their tangled romantic histories pit these aspects in constant conflict. Perhaps this mirror-like quality is what draws generations of theatrical artists to undertake this play of great challenges and great rewards. Yet the characters of The Seagull reflect not a general conception of creative types but a specific milieu that frequented Melikhovo, the country estate where Chekhov wrote the play in 1895. For much of the year, Melikhovo hosted a rotating salon of the Russian intelligentsia. Though Chekhov sometimes complained that every hack traveling to or from Moscow felt obliged to pay him a visit, he was constantly issuing invitations and seems on balance to have enjoyed being at the center of his own artistic circle. One visitor, the landscape painter Isaak I. Levitan, was out hunting with Chekhov when they accidentally shot a woodcock. Both men were distraught after killing the beautiful creature, and their act evidently haunted Chekhov enough to find its way into The Seagull. Others claim that reality matched fiction even more closely — that Levitan tried to commit suicide after “a very complicated love affair” but only managed to wound himself. When Chekhov arrived to care for him, the painter stormed outside, shot a seagull, and threw it at the feet of the lady who had spurned him. Whichever is true, the dead bird that appears in The Seagull is no blunt and extraneous symbol — it is a real creature, experienced by a keen observer and transmuted by him into a moment of key dramatic power. The creative output that was a constant feature of Melikhovo also found its way into Chekhov’s work. In addition to hosting learned conversation, the estate was frequently abuzz with music. The main house had a grand piano at which Lika Mizinova, a frequent visitor and later Chekhov’s mistress, would play and sing opera. From the guest cottage where he did most of his writing, Chekhov could hear the music distantly but distinctly. This sensation found its way into The Seagull and each subsequent play, creating a diegetic soundtrack decades before the technique was recognized or named. It took more than three years before Chekhov began to shape the artistic atmosphere of Melikhovo into a dramatic work. “I am writing a play,” he announced in a letter to his friend Suvorin on October 21, 1895. “I am not writing it without pleasure, although I am violating all the conventions of playwriting. It is a comedy, three female roles, six male roles, four acts, a landscape (a view over a lake), a lot of talking about literature, little action, and five poods [c. 181 pounds] of love.” As a description of The Seagull, this first mention is both succinct and illuminating. When its characters talk about literature, they are really talking about love; when they try to express their love, they fall back upon the quotations and clichés of literature. The struggle between creative expression and genuine feeling lies at the core of the play. All too familiar to Chekhov and his circle, this dilemma continues to ring true among artists, drawing them back, time and again, to The Seagull. - SAM LASMAN LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit huntingtontheatre.org/theseagull to watch a video of director Nicholas Martin on playwright Anton Chekhov from the Huntington’s production of The Cherry Orchard, read an article about the first productions of the play, and more. HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 7 Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper, honeymoon 1901 Olga Knipper Lydia Yavorskaya and Price Baryatinsky THE WOMEN BEHIND THE SEAGULL Chekhov met his wife, Olga Knipper, when she played the role of Irina in the legendary Moscow Art Theatre production of The Seagull. Why he finally married her, three years before he died, has proved a mystery to biographers. The playwright evinced a lifelong fear of commitment. Handsome, clever, and famous, he enjoyed amorous encounters with at least 33 women. According to one female admirer, he was “elusive as a comet.” It is perhaps no surprise that The Seagull, full of love lost or disappointed, draws heavily on this complex romantic history. Three women — all named Lydia — particularly influenced the play. Lydia Yavorskaya was a young actress who met Chekhov in 1893. Their letters make for steamy reading — one references “that room in the Moscow Grand Hotel where you and I tasted unearthly bliss.” Their affair ended after a few months, but Yavorskaya’s acting roles, including the plays Camille and The Fumes of Life, influenced Arkadina’s resume. Yavorskaya also appeared in an Indian-themed drama in which she addressed a fellow god: “My amazing lover, my magnificent lover, my conqueror.” Whenever Chekhov visited her, she would say these words; and in The Seagull Arkadina repeats them to Trigorin. Chekhov’s exact connection with Lydia Avilova has been a subject of dispute. She, and a few others, contend that she was the writer’s soulmate; others have dismissed her as a delusional dilettante. The truth is probably somewhat less extreme. Avilova was a married mother and writer who met Chekhov through literary acquaintances. He critiqued her work; she regarded him with increasing infatuation. The key incident for The Seagull involves a locket that Avilova sent him, bearing a passage from his story “The Neighbors”: “If you ever want my life, come and take it.” Chekhov never acknowledged the gift. Instead, he incorporated both the event and the actual locket into The Seagull, letting the actress playing Nina use it as a prop. However, at a masked ball, he intimated to Avilova that his play Lika Mizinova 8 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 CURTAIN CALLS NAME Kate Burton ROLE Nikolayevna Arkadina HOMETOWN New York, New York MOST RECENT HUNTINGTON ROLE Miss Moffat in The Corn is Green WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS WANT YOU TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? My father wanted me to be a writer and my mother was happy for me to be an actress only if it made me happy. MOST MEMORABLE ACTING EXPERIENCE FROM EARLY IN YOUR CAREER? One of my most memorable early acting experiences was playing Alice in Alice in Wonderland on Broadway directed by Eva LeGallienne. I was feeling a bit under the weather (aka hung over) when one of my co-actors suggested that what would make me feel better was Dr. Footlights (aka doing the show). He was right. That actor was playing the Doormouse and his name was...Nicholas Martin. We have been at each other’s side ever since! NAME Nancy E. Carroll ROLE Paulína Andreyevna HOMETOWN Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts and raised in Ohio MOST RECENT HUNTINGTON ROLE Alice Croll in Rapture, Blister, Burn WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS WANT YOU TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? I think my mother would have preferred I had chosen something more reliable, but my father told me when I was in my teens to follow my heart and live the life that fed my soul. MOST MEMORABLE ACTING EXPERIENCE FROM EARLY IN YOUR CAREER? Every job has taught me, informed me, scared me, and delighted me; they can bring joy, tears, and laughter. I look forward to each new role to see what challenge it presents. NAME Nael Nacer ROLE Semyon Semyonovich Medvedenko HOMETOWN Paris, France MOST RECENT HUNTINGTON ROLE Simon Stimson in Our Town WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS WANT YOU TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? I think my parents would have been delighted if I’d gone into the world of business. MOST MEMORABLE ACTING EXPERIENCE FROM EARLY IN YOUR CAREER? I’m still in the early years of my career, and I was lucky enough to be a part of Our Town at the Huntington. The play, the people, the music, the gasps, sobs, and sighs from the audience will vividly remain with me for a long, long time. NAME Morgan Ritchie ROLE Konstantin Gavrílovichi Treplev HOMETOWN New York, New York MOST RECENT HUNTINGTON ROLE Morgan Evans in The Corn Is Green WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS WANT YOU TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? I don’t think what I did was important to them as long as I was happy. I knew from a young age, though, that I wanted to be involved in theatre, it just seemed like such a fun and exciting place to be, as I saw it growing up. MOST MEMORABLE ACTING EXPERIENCE FROM EARLY IN YOUR CAREER? They’ve all been pretty memorable, honestly, but my first time at the Huntington (in The Corn is Green) was probably the most exciting. I got my Equity card, and felt, for the first time, like a “real” actor (whatever that means). It was a very important part of my development, and I know I’ll always feel a connection to the Huntington because of that. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/seagull for expanded interviews with the cast. would contain a secret message for her. She attended the premiere, and though she didn’t think much of the piece, she eagerly noted down the page and line number where the words, “If you ever want my life, come and take it,” were cited in Trigorin’s works. The joke concluded when Avilova found that the reference pointed to a sentence in one of her own stories: “It is not proper for young ladies to go to masked balls.” Lydia Mizinova (Lika to her friends) was a bodacious blonde, amateur opera singer, and frequent guest at the writer’s estate at Melikhovo. She and Chekhov exchanged hundreds of letters, alternately passionate and derisory. “You so turned my head that I can believe twice two is five,” he wrote to her. “What am I to say, poor thing,” she replied, “if it’s you who has so turned my head that I can actually believe you, and can even believe that you want to see me?” Lika attempted to coax Chekhov into a more committed relationship — “I’m burning the candle of my life at both ends. Come and help me burn it quickly” — but she was ultimately frustrated. Instead she took up with his friend Potapenko, a married novelist, though he abandoned her when she became pregnant. As an aspiring performer amongst the famous artists at Melikhovo, she has been taken as a prototype of Nina in The Seagull, and Nina’s tragic dalliance with Trigorin seems lifted directly from Lika’s affair with Potapenko — until one realizes that the true-life situation occurred years after its fictional prototype. Chekhov, it seems, understood his friends only too well. - SAM LASMAN SEE PAGE 23 FOR SHOW PERFORMANCE CALENDAR AND EVENT LISTINGS HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 9 EXT ER H EN WOO EN DED D P D DU AVILI E T ON A OP TT OP HE B ULA CA RD EM A “Melinda Lopez is a GENUINE TALENT.” – VARIETY S CA OU LD T MA BEC R.2 CU OM B 8-M A IN G AY 3 ME M. LIND BEV A L IN O OPE ’GA Z RA DI RE CT ED BY In 1898 Cuba on the eve of the Spanish-American War, spirited widow Adela runs a pharmacy, indifferent to the mounting conﬂict around her. But when the rebellion comes home to Havana, she must choose between loyalty to country or to family. By turns funny, steamy, and political, this powerful new drama from Playwright-in Residence Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew) asks whether freedom is something we all want. Huntington Associate Producer M. Bevin O’Gara directs. STI RR ING NE WD RA MA BY ND ! “BECOMING CUBA TAKES ME BACK TO MY FAVORITE THEATRICAL TERRITORY — MINING BIG STORIES ROOTED IN A SHARED HISTORY OF THE US AND CUBA. I AM THRILLED TO BE RETURNING TO THE HUNTINGTON, MY ARTISTIC HOME, AND I AM ESPECIALLY EXCITED TO AGAIN WORK WITH DIRECTOR M. BEVIN O’GARA. BEVIN UNDERSTANDS MY SENSIBILITY AND MY HUMOR, AND I TRUST HER TO WRING THE MOST AND THE BEST FROM MY WORK. WE ARE A TERRIFIC TEAM.” – MELINDA LOPEZ Melinda Lopez “Since I arrived at the Huntington, people have asked when we would stage another new play by Melinda Lopez. Becoming Cuba is exuberant, passionate, and well worth the wait. It’s an incredible way to kick off Melinda’s position as the Huntington’s playwright-in-residence” – PETER DUBOIS MELINDA LOPEZ’S CUBA Ten years after Boston playwright Melinda Lopez’s breakout hit Sonia Flew premiered at the Huntington, her newest work Becoming Cuba takes us back to the mercurial and volatile past of the island. An epic and passionate family story, Becoming Cuba zeroes in on the year 1897, late in the series of brutal and bloody civil wars that presaged the Spanish-American War. The child of two Cuban nationals, Lopez can trace the path of the Cuban wars for liberation through her family tree, and the spark for this play is born out of an ancestral myth. “There is a legend in my family about my great-grandmother, who lived through the Cuban War of Independence,” Lopez says. “When she was 16, the Spanish came to take over her farm and sent her family to internment camps. My great-grandmother refused to go. She took her pet pig under her arms and walked up into the mountains to join the rebels. The play that I eventually wrote is not her story, but it’s certainly infused with her indomitable spirit.” As Lopez began the play, she envisioned a widow, Adela, “whip smart, very Spanish, and formal.” Born on the island, Adela left the countryside where her brother and father remain active in the rebellion and married a Spaniard who runs a pharmacy in Havana. When her husband is killed in the war, she takes over the apothecary in his stead, adopting his steadfast loyalty to Spain as well. At the play’s rise, Havana is heavily blockaded, and the pharmacy struggles to stock even basic supplies. Adela’s business serves the aristocratic Spanish military (and the occasional, nosy American reporter). When Adela’s brother Manny appears, begging for supplies, Adela responds practically. “My problem is I owe too many taxes, and I have too few customers,” she tells Manny. “The ones with money to pay me are the soldiers trying to kill you, and then you come for a handout. I should just ask them to send you the cash directly, and keep me out of it.” Adela’s reticence to get involved contrasts starkly with her impassioned sister Martina, who roots for the island to throw off the Spanish oppressors, to trade the Spanish sport of bullfighting for Cuba’s game of baseball. In shaping the story, Lopez took inspiration from the Arab spring, which was unfolding as she created the first draft. “The media was saturated with images of people taking to the streets in the name of self-determination,” Lopez says. “Ordinary people — with shops and businesses and babies in their arms — who sought something more from their lives and their countries. What makes a person wake up one day and take action like that? And I realized too, that what I felt watching this struggle unfold in another country was a lot like what Americans might have felt watching Cubans butchered by Spain in 1897. I could substitute ‘Cuba’ for ‘Syria’, and the stories were so similar…But then, like now, American intervention leads to greater complexities and unintended consequences. We keep learning that lesson over and over.” Lopez builds the theme of metamorphosis into the elemental structure of the play, as the specters of those who shaped Cuba’s destiny haunt the stage. “I love watching actors transform,” Lopez shares, “so many of the actors also play an apparition or ghost.” From a conquistador to the wife of Cuban folk hero Hatuey, these voices from history show the reverberations of war extend far beyond an individual time and place. And as the voices in Lopez’s play echo in our ears, so do the five hundred years of evolution for the Cuban people echo through the life of one loyal but achingly vulnerable woman. - CHARLES HAUGLAND LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit huntingtontheatre.org/becomingcuba to read The Boston Globe review of Sonia Flew, an article about Melinda Lopez’s playwright-in-residency at the Huntington, and more. HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 11 THE WORLD BEFORE THE PLAY: Cuban soldiers THE ROAD TO REBELLION Contagious Independence • 1776 America fights and wins independence, allowing them to trade with new countries and colonies. Cuba becomes a major trading partner, and this relationship with the freshly independent United States encourages Cuba to envision a future free from Spain. Room for Sugar • 1789-1790 As French revolutionary ideals spread through the French colony of Haiti, slavery is abolished in the colony, thus ending Haiti’s leadership in sugar production. Cuba quickly fills the gap, and by the 1820s becomes the world’s leading sugar manufacturer. Cuba’s economy prospers, sharpening Cubans’ desire for independence. Motherland Control • 1808 As Cuba flourishes, Spain finds itself engulfed in debt from past wars and colonial conflicts. To raise money, Spain looks to booming Cuba, taxing its residents twice as much as Spaniards to alleviate the country’s debt. Jose Marti Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Taxing the people only spurs dissent in Cuba. To control the burgeoning rebellious attitudes, Spain institutes Captain Generals with absolute powers over the Cubans, often censoring rebels and only appointing leaders with allegiance to Spain. Other Wars • 1860 Haiti and the Dominican Republic join a long list of Caribbean nations who fight for and win independence from colonial powers. Cuba and Puerto Rico remain Spain’s only colonies in the region. Cuba is dubbed ‘the ever-faithful isle.’ To fund its military losses, Spain imposes exorbitant taxes on the Cuban people. The Glorious Revolution • 1868 On October 10, 1868, Cuban plantation owner Carlos Manuel Cespedes frees his slaves and proclaims rebellion against Spain igniting the Ten Years’ War. By 1870, the goal of this rebellion becomes clear: Cuban independence and emancipation. AfroCubans in eastern Cuba support the effort, which remains isolated in eastern Cuba and does not spread to the richer, whiter, Western Calixto García, a general of Cuban rebel forces with American Brigadier General William Ludlow (1898) Source for this timeline: John L. Tone, War and Genocide in Cuba. 12 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 U.S. JOURNALISTS IN CUBA “AMERICAN JOURNALISTS IN THIS PERIOD HAVE KIND OF Cubans who still hold allegiance to Spain to protect their ability to use slave labor. The Ten Years’ War ends in a stalemate with a peace treaty in which Spain promises — but never delivers — some autonomy to Cubans. October 10 is still a national holiday in Cuba, holding the same significance as our July 4 holiday. A BAD REPUTATION. WE THINK OF THEM ALL AS YELLOW JOURNALISTS, JUST DOWN THERE MAKING UP STORIES, BUT THERE WERE ALSO A CORE OF SEVERAL REALLY SERIOUS, WELL-INTENTIONED JOURNALISTS. THEY PUT THEIR LIVES IN DANGER, EMBEDDED WITH THE TROOPS, AND WERE DEDICATED TO WRITING THE NEWS AS TRUTHFULLY AS THEY COULD. I’VE CREATED A FICTIONAL JOURNALIST, BUT DRAWN FROM THE BIOGRAPHIES OF SEVERAL REAL JOURNALISTS: SYLVESTER H. SCOVEL, GROVER FLINT, AND RICHARD HARDING DAVIS.” - PLAYWRIGHT MELINDA LOPEZ After the War • 1878-1895 After the unsuccessful Ten Years’ War, Spain neglects the colony of Cuba. Roads and schools fall into disrepair, and the people grow increasingly poor and desperate. A Desperate Situation • 1890-1895 In the early 1890s, the world economy enters a major recession. Spain raises taxes on American imports into Cuba and in turn, America raises tariffs on Spanish products entering the United States from Cuba. The trade relationship between Cuba and the United States ends, devastating the Cuban people further. Cubans perceive their only remaining option to be revolt and seizure of their independence once and for all from Spain. On February 24, 1895, Cuban revolutionaries in eastern Cuba proclaim Cuba’s independence from Spain. SYLVESTER H. SCOVEL (1869-1905) An engineer by trade, Scovel was so captivated by the developing situation in Cuba that he traveled to New York in 1895 and secured a position as war correspondent with The New York World. Captured by the Spanish while travelling with Cuban rebels, Scovel was briefly imprisoned and became a worldwide cause célèbre, ultimately being released weeks later. He continued to cover the conflict and reported a pivotal interview with rebel leader Máximo Gómez. GROVER FLINT (1867-1909) Flint served as a major with the US Army in the American West before signing up as a war correspondent with the New York Journal. Fluent in Spanish, he spent four months embedded with rebel troops. Though he was rarely able to get real-time reports back to the States, his book-length report Marching with Gómez, published in 1896, remains one of the most comprehensive works on the period, particularly in its look at differing social classes. RICHARD HARDING DAVIS (1864-1916) In addition to being a celebrated war correspondent, Davis was also a novelist, playwright, and fashion model. His 1897 newspaper report “Death of Rodriguez” told of the public execution of a Cuban rebel by the Spanish military. Published in the New York Journal, the graphic and gripping description directed the public’s attention toward the plight of the rebellion in Cuba. (The journalist in Becoming Cuba is also named Richard Davis as well but is not directly intended to be the historical figure. Lopez explains, “I fell in love with the name Richard Davis and named my character after him, but he is not that Richard Harding Davis.”) Work by all three is in the public domain, and readily available online. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/becomingcuba for links. - CHARLES HAUGLAND The Revolution • 1895 Jose Marti, beloved Cuban poet and idealist, and Generals Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez, veterans of the Ten Years’ War, launch a new rebellion. Marti is killed within two weeks, and becomes a martyr to the revolution. He is still claimed by both the Communist party and the radical right as inspiration for a free Cuba. Because the revolution is supported by the campesinos in the countryside, Spain institutes a policy of Reconcentración. Cubans outside of the fortified cities are given eight days to leave behind all property and ‘concentrate’ in city camps or be killed on sight. With no infrastructure in place to support the massive numbers of people, an estimated 200,000 Cubans, mostly women and children, die of starvation and disease. Photos of the skeletal citizens horrify and galvanize the American populace. The Play Begins • 1897 Becoming Cuba begins two years into the Cuban revolution. Guerilla warfare proves to benefit the Cuban rebels, and disease alone kills nearly 22% of Spanish military personnel sent to Cuba. A Cuban victory seems possible, but the United States still intervenes in 1897. Shortly after, in 1898, the United States signs the Treaty of Paris with Spain which forces Spain to surrender and grant Cuba independence. - MEGHAN MUELLER SEE PAGE 23 FOR SHOW PERFORMANCE CALENDAR AND EVENT LISTINGS HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 13 LYD PET IA R ER . DI DU AM BO ON IS D DI RE CT ED BY Braille EXT DER TH EN WOO EN DED D P D DU AVILI E T ON O P AT T OP HE B ULA CA RD EM A “Lydia Diamond’s dialogue is so damn SMART AND CLEVER.” – BOSTON HERALD S CA OU L MA SM Y 2 PEO AR 3-J PL T UN E E2 9 ND ! Are our beliefs and prejudices hardwired into us? Four Harvard intellectuals — a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race — search for love, success, and identity in a complex world. With barbed wit, Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the inescapable nature of racism and other tricky topics in this controversial and ﬁercely funny new play directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Rapture, Blister, Burn and Sons of the Prophet). SH AR PN EW CO ME DY BY “WHAT AN OUTRAGEOUS HONOR — THE LUXURY OF RETURNING TO A THEATRE I’VE COME TO CALL HOME. I CAN THINK OF NO BETTER PLACE TO LAUNCH MY NEW PLAY THAN WITHIN THE SMART, WARM EMBRACE OF THE HUNTINGTON. SMART PEOPLE TAKES ON BIG, RISKY IDEAS AND LIVES IN THE WORLD OF RISKY QUESTIONING AND FLAWED HUMANITY. IT IS THRILLING TO HAVE PETER DUBOIS AT THE HELM OF A SHIP THAT LOOKS AT HUGE, EXPLOSIVE IDEAS IN NUANCED AND OFTEN HUMOROUS WAYS.” – LYDIA R. DIAMOND Lydia R. Diamond “Quick-witted, wildly intelligent, and as entertaining as it is unsettling, Smart People is Lydia Diamond’s most ambitious play to date.” – PETER DUBOIS WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT OUR RACIST BRAINS? There’s a joke that encapsulates the current state of many American’s attitudes toward race relations. It goes like this: “How does every ethnic joke begin? With a look over your shoulder.” Even though everyone should know better, we have ample proof our knee-jerk, and sometimes uncomfortable, assumptions go deep into the national psyche. When presidents, pundits, and, sometimes, playwrights try to encourage us to have a national conversation about race, they must first ignore the myriad ways — contradictory, comic, tragic, mundane, healing, and hurtful — that Americans already discuss and live race. In her new play, Smart People, Lydia R. Diamond proves that a conversation about race can be funny, moving, nuanced, and probing. Smart People engages in this quintessentially American dialogue by posing a question: what if we could find an inherent biological cause for racism in the brain, proof that a certain amount of bias is inevitable? One of the four characters in Smart People is Brian, a white, male academic who researches race by “...observing neurological responses the brain has to various images. How the brain is affected by race.” The rest of this funny, observant drama plays out against the backdrop of Brian’s research and its effects on and implications for him, his Asian-American lover, Ginny, and his African-American friends, Jackson and Valerie. Inspired by research into implicit bias (the unconscious ways in which people discriminate) and set against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential election, the play acknowledges how far we’ve come in terms of biased behavior while questioning how much further we can go in eradicating biased thoughts. “Brains are idiosyncratic by their very nature. Really, they’re just weird and all work differently — this is fertile ground for a dramatist,” explains Diamond. This kind of research is difficult because, historically, race and science has often been a toxic mix. We can gather all kinds of data, but we are not great at interpreting that data without resorting to preconceived notions. In other words, it can be hard to know which is the chicken and which is the egg. When we get the results of a study, then there is the question of what to do with the information. In integrating scientific research into the play, Diamond notes, “There are balancing acts between science and how that knowledge plays out in human relationships.” Human relationships are the crux of this play and the crux of a healthy, integrated society. These smart people in the play, living in Cambridge, graduates of Ivy League institutions, are all very aware of racial politics. They own their “difference” with a sexy bravado, and yet as human beings, they still sometimes get blindsided. Diamond is quick to assure that the play is funny and as much about contemporary relationships as about the ideas underpinning the drama. “For some time I have written about race with a sense of knowing, a presumed authority,” she explained, “Our times have humbled me. We must elevate the conversation in order to earn it; for a moment I shied away. But you know what? It is about race. Yes, we’re tired of it so let’s figure it out already.” - LISA TIMMEL LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit huntingtontheatre.org/smartpeople to learn more about Project Implicit, watch a video of director Peter DUBois on the play, and more. HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 15 Rosie Benton and Billy Eugene in Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly (2010). Nikkole Salter, Jason Dirden, Billy Eugene, and Rosie Benton in Stick Fly (2010). BIAS IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE: SMART PEOPLE AND IMPLICIT SOCIAL COGNITION The cast of characters in Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People features two academics whose areas of study involve the ongoing complexities of racial stereotypes, especially the grey area of unconscious bias. Ginny Yang studies depression and anxiety in Asian-American women, and Brian White is “...observing neurological responses the brain has to various images. How the brain is affected by race,” and supporting “sociological premises through brain chemistry analysis, imaging, biological data, that sort of thing.” For Brian, seeing is believing, and when he can show people who believe they do not discriminate that they do so unconsciously, perhaps he can make things change for the better. For Ginny, it is better to accept people’s biases as fact and develop coping strategies. Diamond took inspiration for Brian’s goals and methodology from the work of social psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, experts in implicit biases, which are unconscious prejudices that persist even as our explicit attitudes evolve. Their work has led to uniting with other researchers from across the country and around the world to create Project Implicit at Harvard University. Banaji and the team discovered in their research that most people, regardless of their professed beliefs or good intentions, have great difficulty associating images of black people with positive words or those of Asian-Americans with patriotic words and images. In a recent interview with The Boston Globe, Banaji remarked that this is one way to understand so-called “birthers,” people who do not believe that President Obama is an American-born citizen. They are hard-wired to see people of color as foreign. In 2013, Banaji and Greenwald published Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, a book that distills their work for the general public. Anthony Greenwald Mahzarin Banaji 16 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 THE MONOLOGUES Smart People opens with a cascade of overlapping monologues. Each character — Valerie, an actress; Brian, a neurobiologist; Jinny, a sociologist; and Jackson, a medical student — is in their professional element, a situation which is inevitably caught up in their class, race, and other markers of identity. As the play unfolds, Lydia R. Diamond reveals how each of the characters makes knee-jerk assumptions about the others; here, we give you a glimpse of the characters as you’ll meet them onstage. PHOTOS: SCOTT SCHUMAN Valerie: (playing Portia) “You stared upon me with ungentle looks...” That needs more attack, doesn’t it? (putting all of her graduate school training into it) You stared upon me with ungentle looks, I urged you further...I urged you further and...line (beat) LINE please! “And you too impatiently stamped with your foot Wendell W. Wright, Nikkole Salter, and Jason Dirden in Stick Fly (2010). Banaji and Greenwald’s work in turn builds on the research of Princeton professor Susan T. Fiske who (along with Amy Cuddy, Peter Glick, and Jun Xu) proposed a psychological theory that stereotypes possess two dimensions: warmth and competence. These dimensions complicate how we perceive and act upon our biases. This is called the Stereotype Content Model. In the play, Brian White breaks it down for his undergraduates this way: The SCM proposes that societal groups are appraised as intending either help or harm and as either capable of not enacting those intentions. The SCM model adds emotion to earlier research in impression formation and prejudice. It posits that the combinations of competence and warmth dimensions produce four distinct emotions toward social groups: pride, envy, pity, and disgust. Thus not all groups provoke animosity. Groups stereotyped as competent and warm elicit the in-group emotions of pride and admirations... The fundamental premise of Fiske’s research posits that people very easily categorize other people, particularly based on race, gender, and age. We only get to know people in categories beyond our own when we are motivated to do so by social or cultural forces like working in a group or playing on a team. We see this dynamic play out among the diverse characters in Smart People specifically as they are brought together through work and sport. As they try to form deeper bonds, they keep tripping over their own biases and assumptions about each other. In Smart People, Diamond makes their earnest foibles hilarious, poignant, and revelatory. - LISA TIMMEL And with an angry wafture of your hand...” Oh five? We’re breaking? Now? O.K. Thank you. five minutes, Brian: Unacceptable! Come on guys. You’re supposed to be the best and brightest we have. What is this? With the exception of three promising students you have all failed miserably. (beat) So. Mr. Goldstein, Ms. Jones, and Mr. Shwargadala, congratulations...you deserve to be here...You are excused from today’s lecture. Really, you can go. I’m giving you the day off. For being smart. Go! Thank you. Ginny: We tracked subjects from the original 2003 study, interviewing 350, third generation Asian-American women, adding a fourth ethnic affiliation: Vietnamese, a population not previously included. The sample now includes women, 22-24, of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese descent. (beat) Yes, I’m happy to take questions about our population selection criteria.... Jackson: Yes sir. I do understand. The patient is experiencing an excess of drainage from the wound. My concern is that should it gangranize into...(pause) True, I am only a surgical intern. Still, you asked that I explain my diagnostic reasoning. I’m trying to but (interrupted)... Brian: Can someone explain what this is...(circling a row of numbers)...Good...Now, please...someone tell me not what it is but what it implies...Am I a bad teacher? I don’t think so. I’m told that I am an engaging, passionate lecturer... Jackson: ...yes, and I do have a point, if I could just... Ginny: Now, three years later, the findings still debunk Western assumptions naming primary causes for anxiety and depression in Asian women as familiarly induced. (interrupted) Yes, I’m happy to go over Western attitudinal studies... Jackson: I am listening. I was listening. X Developing and producing thought-provoking new plays is at the core of the Huntington’s artistic mission. You can help support new work by making a gift to the Huntington’s Annual Fund. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/support or call 617 273 1546. SEE PAGE 23 FOR SHOW PERFORMANCE CALENDAR AND EVENT LISTINGS HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 17 Huntington Senior Director of External Relations David Dalena recently spoke with Sita and Anik Merchea and Rumena Manolova and Alex Senchak, two couples that were instrumental in The Hunt’s founding. The following is an excerpted version of their conversation. Read the complete version and learn more about The Hunt and its perks online at huntingtontheatre.org/TheHunt. How did you first become involved with the Huntington? Rumena: After we moved to Boston, we got tickets to the Huntington’s amazing production of Candide. It was one of the best things we had ever seen, and we knew we needed to come back. Alex: Our families have always supported the arts, and having a theatre of the stature of the Huntington in our new city made us feel at home. Anik: We began attending 35 Below events as a way to see great theatre and meet new people. Sita: The Huntington quickly became something we cared about. Huntington shows are so great, and 35 Below and The Hunt are perfect ways for us to be a part of a major Boston institution. In your eyes, what makes the Huntington unique? Rumena: We love that by operating the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA the Huntington is an anchor for other theatre companies, and we love being able to attend theatre right in our own neighborhood. I’m so impressed with the artistic world that the Huntington creates. As a business person, much of my time is spent figuring out solutions to complex financial and legal challenges. I’m fascinated by how directors, designers, and actors address the challenges of telling complex, human stories with such creativity. Why have you taken on a leadership role as a 35 Below Ambassador and in The Hunt? Anik: It’s a great privilege to be on the ground floor of a new grassroots effort at an established cultural organization. We’ve been lucky to become personal friends with the Huntington’s amazing artists and lucky to be able to help build a tremendous community of other theatre lovers that we’re thrilled to be a part of. Sita: We’ve found that our backgrounds and skills really differ from those we meet at the Huntington and that they can really help complement its efforts to build support from a new generation. Alex: Being donors and members of The Hunt gives us a stake in Boston and makes us more a part of the community. Seeing great performances, meeting others who share our interests, and going to restaurants after performances and talking about what we’ve seen — sharing these great experiences together has made us closer as a couple. Any final thoughts? Sita: I encourage anyone who is culturally curious to come to the Huntington to see its great work. I suspect you’ll be motivated to get involved, just as we were. Rumena: Socially, intellectually, artistically — the Huntington engages all of our senses. Attending feels like a gift that I would like to share with other members of my generation. Alex: We’re so proud to take a stake in the Huntington, and we would encourage everyone to join us. To read the full interview visit huntingtontheatre.org/thehunt SEEKING A NEW GENERATION OF HUNTINGTON SUPPORTERS THE HUNTINGTON’S 35 BELOW PROGRAM IS ONE OF MANY INITIATIVES TO MAKE THEATRE ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL, OFFERING $25 TICKETS TO ANY PERFORMANCE AND HOSTING RELATED PRE AND POST-SHOW EVENTS FOR PATRONS AGED 35 AND UNDER. THIS FALL MARKED THE LAUNCH OF THE HUNT, A SPECIAL ANNUAL GIVING PROGRAM FOR YOUNG DONORS. THE HUNT’S GOAL THIS SEASON IS TO RAISE $10,000 TO BE THE SCENIC DESIGN PRODUCTION SPONSOR FOR BECOMING CUBA, AND AS OF THIS PRINTING, THEY ARE MORE THAN HALFWAY THERE. Alex Senchak and Remena Manolova Sita and Anik Merchea 18 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 Honoring Trustee John D. Spooner and The Jungle Book Director Mary Zimmerman Spotlight Spectacular Chair XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Susan B. Kaplan SAVE THE DATE A SENSATIONAL EVENING OF ENTERTAINMENT AND CELEBRATION! John D. Spooner This year’s Spotlight Spectacular will celebrate Huntington Trustee John D. Spooner — financial advisor, Improper Bostonian columnist, and the celebrated author of No One Ever Told Me That (#1 Boston Globe best seller). The Boston Globe calls John “a national treasure” and Inc. Magazine describes him as “a phenomenon.” The event will also honor Tony Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Mary Zimmerman, director of The Jungle Book and Candide at the Huntington. Mary’s groundbreaking work has been lauded for its originality, and USA Today calls her “one of the country’s most imaginative writers/directors.” Chaired by Huntington Trustee Susan B. Kaplan, the spectacular event features a cocktail hour, live performances from Jungle Book artists, dinner provided by Trustee Neal Balkowitsch of MAX Ultimate Foods, and stunning décor designed by renowned event planner Overseer Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events. The annual gala benefits the Huntington’s award-winning education and community programs that reach more than 33,000 people each year. To sponsor a table, reserve tickets, or for more information: Alli Engelsma-Mosser at 617 273 1522 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mary Zimmerman BUILDING A LEGACY OF GREAT THEATRE: THE HUNTINGTON LEGACY SOCIETY You can play a lasting role in securing the Huntington’s strong, successful future beyond your lifetime by making a bequest or other planned gift as part of your estate plan. No amount is too small. As a Huntington Legacy Society member you will enjoy benefits and recognition today for your future gift, including: • Acknowledgement in Huntington program books • Invitations to Huntington Legacy Society events • Private backstage tours upon request If you have already included the Huntington as part of your will or estate plan and would like to be recognized as a Founding Member of the Huntington Legacy Society, or if you wish to discuss how you can participate, please contact David Dalena, Senior Director of External Relations, at 617 273 1547 or email@example.com. LIZ LAUREN huntingtontheatre.org/spectacular HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 19 UPCOMING EDUCATION EVENTS – JOIN US! AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION Participants in the August Wilson Monologue Competition learn about August Wilson’s life and legacy and then bring his iconic characters to life on our stage in February. Three students will be chosen from the eleven school winners to advance to the National Finals in New York City. Regional Finals: February 1 at 9am. Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA National Finals: May 5. Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre, New York City. Supported by BPS Arts Expansion Initiative at EdVestors POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Out Loud is a free national competition that the Huntington has run in Massachusetts since its inception in 2006. Last year, over 21,000 students from 80 high schools participated. This year’s classroom competitions occur in the fall and winter, followed by school and state-wide competitions. State Semi-finals: March 1 and 2, times and locations TBA. Massachusetts State Finals: Sunday, March 9 at 9:30am. Old South Meeting House, Boston National Competition: April 28-30. Washington, DC. For video and more information: huntingtontheatre.org/poetry Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council STUDENT MATINEE SERIES Make the Huntington part of your school’s experience this year! Our Jungle Book student matinees were sold out. Don’t delay, reserve seats for your students today! All student matinee performances begin at 10am and include a lively post-show Actors Forum with members of the cast. Student groups are also welcome at regularly scheduled performances. The Seagull: April 3 (ASL-interpreted). Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre. Becoming Cuba: April 11 and April 17. South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Smart People: June 6 (Audio-Described). South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. TICKETS: $15 per student. For more information or to reserve tickets, please contact Meg O’Brien at 617 273 1558 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more: huntingtontheatre.org/studentmatinees THE JUNGLE BOOK SETS RECORDS IN ACCESSIBILITY! The Huntington’s department of education and community programs reaches out to the local blind and Deaf communities to gather their votes on what productions in the upcoming season they’d like to see ASL interpreted and/or Audio Described. Voters were virtually unanimous in their desire to attend and experience The Jungle Book. Nearly 200 Deaf or hard of hearing patrons from the community, Boston’s Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Newton South High School’s METCO Program and more than 40 blind/low-vision patrons from the community and students from 2013 August Wilson Monologue Competition Boston finalists; 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud finalists; students at The Jungle Book student matinee. 20 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 MORE THAN 1,600 STUDENTS FROM GREATER BOSTON ATTENDED THE HUNTINGTON’S FALL PRODUCTION OF THE JUNGLE BOOK AT TWO SOLD-OUT STUDENT MATINEES. DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY PROGRAMS DONNA GLICK AND EDUCATION’S PROFESSIONAL INTERN ANNEKE REICH SHARE THEIR REFLECTIONS ABOUT STUDENT MATINEES FROM THEIR VASTLY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. THE IMPACT OF STUDENT MATINEES What is your favorite part of a student matinee performance and why? Donna: I have the pleasure of welcoming the audience at the beginning of each student matinee. While the information that I give to students and teachers is often standard, I always mention a theme or dramatic moments that they should focus on while watching. It’s amazing how many times I have said that while a play is about this or that theme or issue, “the core of the play’s meaning or message is about love.” It’s never a stretch to make that statement, no matter the time period, the play’s genre or storyline, love — the gaining, losing, or never having — is embedded in so many of the Huntington’s productions and is often central to the experience for both actors and audience. Anneke: The post show talk-back between the actors and students is so inspiring. The students devise such thoughtful, poignant questions from watching the play. It was evident to me how engaged they were with the show by their questions, which the actors clearly were thrilled to answer. How are today’s student audiences similar to and different from those of 20 years ago? Donna: Student matinee audiences have changed over 23 years in visible ways, from clothing styles to the technical contraptions that young people carry with them, and that they can’t imagine being anywhere without those smartphones, headphones, iPads, etc. But when I stand at the edge of the theatre looking over a sea of faces that are barely exposed in the light from the stage, I am moved by a timeless experience. I observe young people not only take in the action of the play, but look as if they are holding their breaths, afraid to exhale, to lose the intimate connection between them and the actors. The expectancy of an unforgettable experience is palpable, and in those moments 2013 looks and feels just like 1990. How did your memories of being a student audience member inform your work as teaching artist as you prepared the students to see the show? Anneke: I was lucky enough to see some incredible theatre while I was a high school student and was inspired both academically and artistically by these plays and the discussions I had with my teachers and peers about them. In preparing to visit schools as a teaching artist before my students saw The Jungle Book, I remembered how much I loved learning about the story behind the story that the audiences see on stage. I was also always eager to dig deeper into the source material behind a script and find ways to analyze it and to relate it to material I was learning in school at the time. So as a teaching artist, I focused on engaging my students with inside information regarding the original script providing a setting for them to engage in a discussion about the material with each other. It has been an honor being a teaching artist myself! Perkins School for the Blind attended three performances of The Jungle Book, making it the most accessible production in the Huntington’s recent history. The Huntington Theatre Company continues its commitment to providing accessible theatre by offering ASL interpretation for The Seagull on April 3 at 10am and April 4 at 8pm and audio-description of Smart People on June 6 at 10am and June 14 at 2pm. For more information, please contact Meg O’Brien at email@example.com or 617 273 1558. Supported by Liberty Mutual Insurance Students at The Jungle Book student matinee; actors from The Jungle Book talk to students after a student matinee performance; ASL Consultant Ayisha Knight-Shaw at The Jungle Book student matinee. PHOTOS: DAVID MARSHALL HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 21 HUNTINGTON NEWS STAGE & SCREEN AT THE COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE Stage & Screen, a collaboration between the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Huntington, explores the depictions of shared themes in Huntington productions and acclaimed films. Our next screening is on Monday, January 6 at 7pm with the award-winning film Secretary starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Venus in Fur director Daniel Goldstein and actors Chris Kipiniak and Andrea Syglowski. The conversation will be moderated by The Boston Globe’s “Love Letters” columnist, Meredith Goldstein. In Secretary, after a bout of illness, Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) moves back in with her dysfunctional family, ready to start anew. Despite a few strikes against her she applies for a secretarial position at the law office of E. Edward Grey (James Spader). At first the work seems quite boring — typing, filing, and coffee-making — but Lee tries hard to please her new boss. Slowly Lee and Mr. Grey embark on a more personal relationship behind closed doors, crossing lines of conduct into a deep realm of human sexuality, a unique love affair in which the roles of dominance and submission suit both of them perfectly. Tickets to Secretary are $11 ($8 for Huntington subscribers with code HUNT14) and may be purchased online at coolidge.org or at the Coolidge box office, located at 290 Harvard Street, Brookline. Stay tuned for more information about screenings during Becoming Cuba and Smart People! LIZ LAUREN Timothy Wilson, Thomas Derrah, and Akash Chopra in The Jungle Book (2013) THE JUNGLE BOOK BREAKS RECORDS! Thank you for making The Jungle Book the most successful production in the Huntington’s 31-year history. The show was extended twice due to popular demand and over 35,000 people attended The Jungle Book! The Jungle Book was the largest and most ambitious show the Huntington has ever produced. Between the director, music director, actors, musicians, choreographers, designers, technicians, our production team, and a host of other artisans, it took 150 people behind the scenes at the Huntington to make this production come to life every night. The Jungle Book literally took a man-village, and we could not have made the jungle swing and sway without you! NE OU WS SEA R 20 ABO SO 13- UT N 20 14 22 BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800 WHILE WE STILL HAVE A FEW MORE FANTASTIC SHOWS TO COME THIS SEASON, WE ARE ALREADY IN THE THICK OF PLANNING FOR OUR 2014-2015 SEASON! Subscribers: you’ll be among the first to know about the rest of next year’s lineup. We plan to announce the season and mail renewal packets in February. Stay tuned for more information about our 2014-2015 season! And please make sure we have your email address on file so we can be in touch. Send your address to firstname.lastname@example.org. VENUS IN FUR S 5 •f7PM M 6 7 T 8 •f7:30PM W 9 *7PM T 3 10 •7:30PM F 4 •f8PM S •f8PM AVENUE OF THE ARTS / BU THEATRE 12 19 •2PM •2PM 13 7PM 11 ••8PM PERFORMANCE CALENDARS JANUARY – JUNE 2014 CALENDAR KEY (o) 35 BELOW WRAP PARTY A special evening for young professionals aged 21 – 35 complete with a post-show party. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/35below for more information. •2PM 8PM 14 •7:30PM 15 22 •7:30PM •7:30PM •7:30PM •2PM 16 d7:30PM 17 •8PM 18 •2PM 8PM 20 h2PM 7PM MLK, JR. DAY 21 28 •7:30PM 23 •7:30PM d2PM 24 •8PM 25 •2PM 8PM 26 2 27 29 30 •7:30PM 31 •8PM 1 •7:30PM •2PM 8PM JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2014 THE SEAGULL 2PM (@) ASL-INTERPRETED For Deaf and hard-of-hearing audience members. Call 617 273 1558 for more information. S 9 •f7PM M 10 11 T 12 •f7:30PM W 13 *7PM T 7 14 •7:30PM F 8 •f8PM S ••f8PM (~) AUDIO-DESCRIBED For blind and low-visioned audience members. Call 617 273 1558 for more information. 8PM AVENUE OF THE ARTS / BU THEATRE 16 23 h2PM 15 •8PM •2PM (d) ACTORS FORUM Participating members of the cast answer your questions following the performance. •2PM 7PM 17 24 31 18 •7:30PM 19 26 •7:30PM •2PM •7:30PM d2PM 20 d7:30PM 21 •8PM 22 •2PM 8PM 25 1 27 •7:30PM 28 •8PM @•8PM •7:30PM 29 •2PM 8PM 30 •2PM 2 •7:30PM 3 @ds10AM 4 •7:30PM 5 •2PM 8PM (f) FIRST LOOK (h) HUMANITIES FORUM A post-performance talk on the historical and literary context of the show featuring a leading local scholar. 6 2PM MARCH - APRIL 2014 M 31 1 •f7:30PM BECOMING CUBA S 30 •f7PM (•) POST-SHOW CONVERSATIONS Dynamic post-show conversations with fellow audience members and Huntington staff held after most every performance (except select Saturday and Sunday evenings). T 2 W 3 •7:30PM T 28 4 •7:30PM F 29 •f8PM S •f8PM SOUTH END / CALDERWOOD PAVILION AT THE BCA 6 13 h2PM 5 •8PM ds10AM •8PM GOOD FRIDAY •2PM 8PM •2PM 7 7PM 8 •7:30PM 9 *7PM 10 •7:30PM ds10AM d7:30PM 11 18 25 •7:30PM 12 19 •2PM 8PM (*) PRESS OPENING NIGHT (s) STUDENT MATINEE For groups of students in grades 6-12. Call 617 273 1558 for more information. 14 PASSOVER BEGINS EASTER 15 22 29 7:30PM PASSOVER ENDS 16 23 30 •2PM 17 •7:30PM d2PM •8PM •8PM •2PM 8PM 20 27 21 PATRIOTS DAY 24 1 7:30PM •2PM 2PM •7:30PM •7:30PM 2PM 7:30PM 26 •2PM 8PM TICKETS PRICES Start at $25 35 BELOW $25 for those 35 and under at every performance STUDENTS (25 AND UNDER) & MILITARY $15 GROUPS (10+) Discounts are available for Groups of 10 or more, plus groups have access to backstage tours, talks with artists, and space for receptions. Contact 617 273 1525 or email@example.com. 28 2 8PM 3 2PM 8PM MARCH - MAY 2014 SMART PEOPLE S 25 •f7PM Braille M 26 27 MEMORIAL DAY T 28 •f7:30PM W 29 •7:30PM T 23 30 •7:30PM F 24 •f8PM S •f8PM SOUTH END / CALDERWOOD PAVILION AT THE BCA 1 8 h2PM 31 ••8PM •2PM 8PM •2PM 2 7PM 3 •7:30PM 4 *7PM 5 •7:30PM •2PM 12 •7:30PM d2PM 6 ~ds10AM 7 •8PM •2PM 8PM SUBSCRIBERS Receive $10 off any additional tickets purchased. Prices include a $2 per ticket Capital Enhancement fee. 9 16 •2PM 10 •7:30PM 11 18 •7:30PM 13 d7:30PM •8PM 14 ~•2PM 8PM 15 22 2PM 17 24 7:30PM 19 •7:30PM 20 •8PM 21 28 8PM •7:30PM •2PM 8PM 2PM 8PM 23 25 2PM 7:30PM 26 7:30PM 27 29 2PM MAY - JUNE 2014 HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 617 266 0800 HUNTINGTONTHEATRE.ORG 23 NT ING CO T TO MP HE N AVE AN ATR & S NU Y E O E UT OF H E TH ND E A UN R IN RES IDE N NC A R OR E EA T I MA R ST J D TB IC EA U DI N OS RE CA BO TON C T LD I O ER S R HU PET W O O D M INSIDER EVENTS JOIN US FOR POST-SHOW TALK BACKS FEATURING BOSTON GLOBE GUESTS Wednesday, January 22 • The Boston Globe’s “Love Letters” columnist Meredith Goldstein will give her take on Vanda and Thomas’ relationship in Venus in Fur. Thursday, March 20 • The Boston Globe Arts Editor Rebecca Ostriker will lead a post-show talk back with the cast of The Seagull. Friday, April 25 • Boston Globe photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Essdras M. Suarez will lead a post-show discussion about his experience in Cuba as a photo journalist. Stay tuned for more information on Boston Globe post-show talk backs happening later this spring! BREAKING GROUND Chris Kipiniak and Andrea Syglowski in Venus in Fur (2014) January 30 – February 2 • South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Join us for Breaking Ground, the Huntington’s festival of new play readings, a vital part of our new play development program. Over the last seven years, Breaking Ground plays have gone on to appear at the Huntington as well as theatres in Boston, across the country, and internationally. Readings are free and open to the public. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/breakingground for more details. 4 BO H U S NT 6 1 TO N I N G 7 TO 2 , 61 66 MA N A 7 0 7 26 9 0 21 VE 6 0 15 - N U 0 8 MA 4 E hu 0 0 IN 60 6 nt BO in X gt O FF on IC th E ea tr e. or g AN MIC RSITY HA EL MA SO IVE AG I NG DI RE CT O NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION US POSTAGE PAID BOSTON, MA PERMIT # 52499 TS R 26 CECILLE JOAN AVILA