EVERYMAN THEATRE GR E AT STOR I ES, W E L L TO L D.
A NOTE FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR By Vincent M. Lancisi, Artistic Director
his season I’ve selected three new plays in the lineup: The Roommate, Dot, and Los Otros. There is an abundance of new playwrights out there offering unique and fresh perspectives for audiences across the country. These current plays speak directly to us today, offering universal truths that reflect on the past and are worthy of consideration on our paths to the future. The Roommate is a perfect example of such a play. I am thrilled to introduce you to playwright Jen Silverman. If you’re not already familiar with her work, Jen is a dynamic and important new voice in the theatre. The play you are about to see caught me off guard at The Humana Festival of New Plays in Louisville. Her characters charmed me from the start and I laughed my way through the play rooting for them both to get what they want out of life. I found it to be a comedy of today, of issues that come directly from our times. It’s a play filled with discovery, with need, with listening and give and take. And it’s tremendously fun. No two Jen Silverman plays are alike. They differ wildly in style, substance, tone and subject matter. Strike that, they are usually about women. But other than that one important theme, they are completely unique and
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original. Each play is dynamic and fascinating in its own right. Her voice is versatile and important and it’s my pleasure to feature one sample of her brilliance here in The Roommate. Jen has created a new stock character for this play in Sharon. Sharon is that woman we all know, who lived her whole life by the rules—perhaps you even are her. She entered into the social contract of marriage and motherhood with a full commitment to serving others. After 25 years or so, she had the rug pulled out from under her and found herself alone in a big house. Her husband gone, her child grown and moved far away, she was left wondering, what happened? Many playwrights might have chosen this character for a tragic heroine, but Jen decided to pen a comedy asking, what if? What if she put an ad in the paper for a roommate? What if that roommate was completely different from her? What if she had the opportunity to discover who she really is? What if she could be naughty, and playful, and have a coming of age experience later in life? Playwright Jen Silverman looked around her and noticed a lack of good roles for women in their fifties in American Theatre. Instead of complaining about it, she wrote a play with two characters for actresses in this stage of life. A play that has something to say and a unique vantage point—and it’s brilliantly funny to boot. Meet Jen Silverman. She’s an important new voice in the theatre. I hope you like her as much as I do.
Vincent M. Lancisi, Founding Artistic Director Jonathan K. Waller, Managing Director
THE ROOMMATE Playwright JEN SILVERMAN Director JOHANNA GRUENHUT
Sharon.................................................................. DEBORAH HAZLETT* Robyn.............................................................................BETH HYLTON* Set Design TIMOTHY R. MACKABEE
Lighting Design JESSE BELSKY
Sound Design STOWE NELSON
Costume Design SARAH CUBBAGE
Props Master JILLIAN MATHEWS
Dramaturgy JOHANNA GRUENHUT
Stage Manager CAT WALLIS*
Time: Present Place: The kitchen of Sharon’s house located in Iowa City, Iowa. Summer. This production will be performed in one act with no intermission. This production uses herbal cigarettes.
PLEASE TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES. NO TEXTING. NO EATING IN THE THEATRE. The Roommate is produced by special arrangement with United Talent Agency. World premiere in the 2015 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre Of Louisville. The videotaping or making of electronic or other audio and/or visual recordings of this production or distributing recordings on any medium, including the internet, is strictly prohibited, a violation of the author’s rights and actionable under United States copyright law. *Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
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THE PLAYWRIGHT Hailing from Connecticut, Jen Silverman is a playwright whose work has been featured in New York City since 2011. Silverman decided to take a different path from her parents, a physicist and chemist, when she received her Bachelors in Comparative Literature from Brown University, and her Masters in Playwriting from the University of Iowa. After graduating, 2013 proved to be a breakout year for Silverman, when she received both the Yale Drama Series Award and the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award for her play Still. Silverman’s work has been produced off-Broadway by Playwrights Realm (Crane Story) and off-off-Broadway by Clubbed Thumb (Phoebe in Winter). Though her reputation was well-established in the New York theatre community, she did not gain national attention until The Roommate was performed at the 2015 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Kentucky’s Actors Theatre of Louisville. Since then, her work has sparked the interest of theaters around the country. During the 2016-2017 season, her regional credits will include Yale Repertory Theatre (The Moors), Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops), and San Francisco Playhouse (The Roommate) among others. This success comes after three years on the Los Angeles-based Kilroys list of underproduced female playwrights. The future looks bright for Silverman, though, who is the 2016-2017 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark. This fellowship will allow her to focus solely on the writing, development, and production of old and new works alike.
IN HER WORDS On her influences: My early exposure to theatre was almost entirely female writers. I didn’t have the feeling of, “Is there a seat at the table for me?” In my mind there was this table full of super-bold, outrageous, strong, political women. I looked at them and I was like, “Oh! Yes, please! Me too! I want to talk!” On the lack of roles for middle-aged women: “...Women are allowed to be onstage as long as they’re talking about their husband,” she said about this piece. “I’m interested in the territories that these exceptions are taking up and being part of that conversation. And that to me feels personally and politically and artistically important.”
Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops by Jen Silverman at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, featuring Beth Hylton (far left) who plays Robyn in The Roommate at Everyman.
On representing the underrepresented: “[I’m] really interested in narratives for both queer characters and female characters that are way more complicated and way more authentic than the real estate that’s usually given to us.”
Comprehension: Jen Silverman has been writing plays for many years, but did not see great success until 2015. What launched her career, and what will the Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship have the freedom to do in the 2016-2017 Season nationally? Reflection: What aspects of Jen Silverman’s background prepared her for a career in playwriting? How do we see elements of her past reflected in her current production, The Roommate?
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THE PLAY SETTING
The kitchen of Sharon’s house located in Iowa City, Iowa. Summer, present day.
Two vastly different women make personal discoveries as they navigate the next chapters of their lives.
THE CHARACTERS Sharon (played by Deborah Hazlett) is a woman in her fifties who is recently divorced. With a son living in New York, she finds herself alone and taking in a roommate. Sheltered and having lived a life focused on others, she is now coming into a freedom and an independence that both challenge and excite her.
Robyn (played by Beth Hylton) is a woman in her forties who identifies as a lesbian fleeing her past. A free spirited vegan, she retreats to Iowa to connect to a quieter life. She is on a mission to prove a point but finds Sharon instead. Sharon’s son is an unseen character, but he has an impact on the plot. He is Sharon’s only child. He lives in New York and works in the fashion industry. He talks on the phone with Sharon regularly. Amanda is an unseen character, but she has an impact on the plot. She is Robyn’s only child living and working in New York as a temp in a law firm. She does not have a relationship with Robyn currently.
“I guess everybody wants to start over. Just burn it all down and start over.” -Sharon in The Roommate
"It'll probably be bad, all first poems are bad poems. There's a great liberty in being bad." -Robyn in The Roommate
“My roommate is very she’s very there’s something very about her the thing is … she’s an interesting person. She knows things.” -Sharon in The Roommate
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HIGHLIGHTS OF WOMEN IN PLAYWRITING 935
Hrotsvitha, the first female playwright, is born. A German dramatist and poet, her plays often include women as central characters. As a nun, she argues that she is a divinely inspired writer. Hrotsvitha
Rachel Crothers begins her a successful career as a Broadway playwright with her play The Three of Us. Crothers’ plays often dealt with moral problems affecting women. Other plays include As Husbands Go (1931) and Susan and God (1937). Rachel Crothers
Zona Gale becomes the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Miss Lulu Bett. Zona Gale
Lorraine Hansberry is the first African-American female playwright to have her work produced on Broadway with A Raisin in the Sun. The play opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and is well-received by audiences. Lorraine Hansberry
Wendy Wasserstein is the first female playwright to win a Tony Award for The Heidi Chronicles. Her play would later be adapted for television.
Ellen Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker and Joan Allen in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles.
Everyman begins their Salon Series consisting of plays written by women and produced by the women of Everyman and the Baltimore community. Patrons at the Salon Series
Waitress opens on Broadway, marking the first time any play on Broadway has boasted an all-female creative team.
Everyman Theatre produces The Roommate, written by Jen Silverman and directed by Everyman Artistic Associate, Johanna Gruenhut.
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The creative team of Waitress, including Sara Bareilles who wrote the show’s music and lyrics.
Beth Hylton and Deborah Hazlett in rehearsal for The Roommate.
THE SALON SERIES AT EVERYMAN THEATRE
Everyman Theatre’s Salon Series reading of Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage.
t is our goal at Everyman to represent a diverse community in the stories that are told on our stage, and for these stories to reach and resonate with a vast population. We strive to provide opportunities for women’s voices to be heard at Everyman, both artistically and institutionally. With this in mind, we founded the Salon Series, spotlighting plays written and directed by female theatre professionals. We invite you to celebrate with us the artists and audiences alike, who make this experience unique to Everyman. The Salon Series is a series of play readings directed by the women of the Resident Acting Company. Our rehearsal hall will transform into a funky, strippeddown performance space with a bar, where audience and performer come together for conversations and cocktails.
DYNAMIC PLAYS, SOCIAL SETTING
SALWOMEN’S N SER ES VOICES October 31 TOP GIRLS By Caryl Churchill December 12 THE BOOK OF GRACE By Suzan Lori Parks Directed by Deborah Hazlett February 6 THE RUBY SUNRISE By Rinne Groff Directed by Megan Anderson March 27 THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE By Julia Cho June 5 TROUBLE IN MIND By Alice Childress Directed by Dawn Ursula
SCHEDULE Drinks and hors d’oeuvres 6 PM Readings 7 PM TICKETS $15 Adult $5 Student (with ID) LEARN MORE everymantheatre.org
Parity: The quality of being equal, especially considering status or pay.
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CAN YOU REALLY START OVER AFTER HITTING ROCK BOTTOM AFTER 50? By Kati Reijonen, Huffington Post
am not going to answer this question because it is pointless. There are many people, such as myself, who have to start over anyway, no matter what their age. Life seldom asks you questions. It pushes you into situations where you either swim or sink. So, what did I do when I found myself jobless, moneyless, marriageless and, well, clueless, at an age when people normally start pondering questions like which country club to join and with whom to play bridge, to kill the afternoon boredom that is the necessary by-product of the life of leisure? I did what everybody else does when life falls apart: I freaked out, panicked and started to contemplate ways to stop existing. Then I hit the rock bottom and fell into such pain that even my ever vigilant Ego got silent for a second, long enough for me to have time to send a desperate plea for mercy to whatever/whoever is up there. I did not get any answers, the way Moses got the tablets of stone in the Mount Sinai. But I got a sudden inspiration to become a meditation teacher. This was a rather curious choice of vocation, as I barely knew what meditation was. At first it looked as if I was to become a meditation teacher to, well, teach meditation. But it turned out that I needed to take the course because it made me meditate.
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The occasional Shivasana-moments in my occasional yoga classes weren’t enough. I needed to dig deep into what meditation really was. And I needed to commit myself to practicing it. Meditation woke me up. I know this is a cliché and like most clichés, this one is true, too. I woke up, slowly but surely, and got in touch with the The Real Me. She had always been there, of course, under the misty layers of what I had been trained to think was me but wasn’t. I wish I could say that the rest was history. It wasn’t. But it was a beginning of a new, more awakened life. Here is what I discovered: I had seen my sorry situation as a dead-end, not because it was but because I resisted it. I resisted it because it made me feel like a loser. I felt like a loser because I kept doing what we do all the time: compared my failures to other people’s success stories. What I needed to do first was to accept my situation, in all its crapness. It was hard. But what choice did I have? What had happened, had happened, and there was no way to make it unhappen because we cannot go back to our past, to fix things so that what has happened would not happen. And thank Goddess for that, for if we could travel back in time, no one would ever be here, in the Now, to deal with the acute issues, because everybody would be busy in the past, trying to prevent disasters from happening. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to accept what happened — you only need to accept that what happened did happen and, because it did, you are where you are.
The next thing to do was to give a closer look at my anguish. What did it consist of? There was disappointment. I felt betrayed. Life had let me down. Disappointment follows when things don’t go the way we have expected. We are trained to think that when we walk the safe side, we have the right to expect to be safe. But life does not work that way. Life has a course of its own.
of options we see in front of us — or the total lack of them. If, instead, we close our eyes, take a few deep breaths and look within, we realize that we have always been free. Freedom is detachment. It is faith that whatever happens, we’ll be fine. There is no need to frenetically search for something out there to be okay, when you understand that everything we need is and has always been right here.
There was also envy, grief and fear. I was envious of people who had what I had been ripped off of. For most of my life I had compared myself to others. But then I figured out that not only were Beth Hylton checks out the costume such comparisons detrimental to my own designs for The Roommate at first rehearsal. well-being, they were also based on the false premise that me and the rest of the people were separate and destined to compete with one another, as if the Universe was be a giant game. It isn’t. There is no competition. We are in this together, like the bulbs in Christmas lights. We either glow together or go out together. The sense of unity was one of the first revelations meditation gave to me. It is natural to grieve a loss but what was I afraid of? I was afraid of my future that had suddenly become totally unpredictable. I was screwed-up, so to speak. With a closer look I noticed, much to my surprise, that what I really was afraid of, was the unexpected freedom that I had suddenly been bestowed. Freedom is a funny thing. It is simultaneously wonderful and scary. But here’s the thing: it is only scary if we let ourselves to get confused by the gazillion
When you get that, you are free and will cope with whatever situation you find yourself in.
Comprehension: What did choosing to become a meditation teacher unlock for Kati? Kati breaks down the emotional response she has to her transition. Summarize the feelings she identified and why these manifested. Ultimately, what does Kati learn about her new freedom? Reflection: Can you relate to the feeling of “starting over” or “beginning again”? Identify those key moments in your life thus far. How do you feel about Kati’s philosophy on freedom? By listening to herself, she was able to identify a path forward. As you look ahead to your future, what does your path look like? Describe your next steps professionally and personally.
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STUDY OF RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ADULT CHILDREN AND PARENTS By Diane Swanbrow, Medical News Today
he majority of parents and adult children experience some tension and aggravation with one another, a new study suggests. But parents generally are more bothered by the tensions—and the older the child, the greater the bother. “The parent-child relationship is one of the longest lasting social ties human beings establish,” said Kira Birditt, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR). “This tie is often highly positive and supportive but it also commonly includes feelings of irritation, tension and ambivalence.” For the study, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Birditt and colleagues at Purdue and Pennsylvania State universities analyzed data on 474 parents and adult children who were at least 22 years old. The adult children lived within 50 miles of their parents. African Americans made up one-third of the sample and the rest were European Americans. The researchers asked about tensions related to a variety of topics, including personality differences, past relationship problems, children’s finances, housekeeping habits, lifestyles, and how often they contacted each other.
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Parents and adult children in the same families had different perceptions of tension intensity, with parents generally reporting more intense tensions than children did particularly regarding issues having to do with the children’s lifestyle or behavior (finances, housekeeping). According to Birditt, tensions may be more upsetting to parents than to children because parents have more invested in the relationship. Parents are also concerned with launching their children into successful adulthood. Both mothers and fathers reported more tension in their relationships with daughters than with sons. Daughters generally have closer relationships with parents that involve more contact which may provide more opportunities for tensions in the parent-daughter tie. Both adult sons and adult daughters reported more tension with their mothers than with their fathers, particularly about personality differences and unsolicited advice. “It may be that children feel their mothers make more demands for closeness,” Birditt said, “or that they are generally more intrusive than fathers.” Birditt found it surprising that parental perceptions of tension increased with the adult children’s age, particularly about topics having to do with how they interact (e.g., personality differences). “Middle-aged children may be less invested in the parent-child tie than young adult children because they’re more likely to have formed their own families and experience multiple
role demands,” Birditt said. And as parents age and come to want or need more from their relationship with adult children, adult children may pull away, creating greater relationship tensions. Although most parents and adult children experience at least a little tension, Birditt found that some topics were more harmful than others to parentchild relationships. “Relationship problems like basic personality differences and parents providing unsolicited advice tend to cause more problems,” Birditt said. “It may be that these kinds of tensions are longer-term, and reflect deep-seated conflicts that you just can’t escape, whereas conflicts about lifestyles, education or finances can sort of be put off to the side if you make an effort.”
likely parents and children were to use constructive strategies and the more likely they were to try avoiding the issues or use destructive strategies such as yelling or arguing. And according to Birditt, that is bad news. Avoidance and destructive strategies are associated with poorer quality relationships overall.
Beth Hylton and Deborah Hazlett in rehearsal for The Roommate.
In related, unpublished research, Birditt analyzed the strategies parents and adult children used to cope with relationship tensions. The good news is that both parents and children were most likely to deal with problems constructively by trying to accommodate each other’s wishes when problems came up, working to find solutions to problems, and trying to accept and understand the other’s point of view. The more intense the tension level, though, the less
“The old adage, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,’ isn’t good advice for parents and adult children,” she said. “Avoidance doesn’t work as a strategy for dealing with conflicts. It appears to make things worse.”
Comprehension: As children age, what are the primary factors that contribute to challenging relationships with their parents? Based on this study conducted by UMISR, who has more tenuous relationships, with which parent, and why? What strategies are harmful to long-term positive relationships with parents? Reflection: How do you relate to this research within your own family dynamic? Describe key relationships and how they have changed as you continue to age? The Roommate explores mothers’ relationships with their children. Examine how each woman feels about her child. Do you feel the tensions apparent in their relationships support or undermine the research in this article and why?
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TYPES OF CONFLICT IN THEATRE Conflict: Competitive or opposing action of incompatibles. Opposing needs, drives, wishes, on external or internal demands.
Conflict causes the action that drives the play from start to finish. Two major types of conflicts that you will see dramatized on stage are internal conflict and external conflict. Internal Conflict Internal conflict is a type of conflict that occurs within a character's mind (i.e. a struggle with him/herself). The struggles of internal conflict often focus on self-doubt, values, and personality. The problem and the solution both reside in this one person.
Internal Conflict in The Roommate Draw and caption the internal conflict for either Sharon or Robyn here.
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External Conflict External conflict deals with a problem someone is experiencing with a force or forces in the outside world. There are several subcategories of external conflict. Among these are: Person vs. Person: A person conflicting with another person (Example: Susan and Roat in Wait Until Dark) Person vs. Nature: A person battling against a great force of nature (Example: Tornado) Person vs. Society: A personâ€™s beliefs or actions go against the majority (Example: Rosa Parks refusing to move on the bus) Person vs. Supernatural: A person dealing with a being not from this world, often with powers that defy the laws of nature (Example: The story of Dracula)
External Conflict in The Roommate Draw and caption the external conflict for either Sharon or Robyn here.
Comprehension: Summarize the main differences between internal and external conflict. Reflection: How do you see external and internal conflict in The Roommate?
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CURTAINS UP ON CAREERS: STAGE MANAGER Interview with The Roommate Stage Manager, Cat Wallis
Everyman Theatre: When did you first develop an interest in stage management? When did you decide to pursue it professionally? Cat Wallis: I stage managed my first show in high school, Steel Magnolias, and knew pretty early afterwards that it was the right fit. I decided to study stage management and production in college and stage managed my first show when I was 19. The rest is history. That was that. ET: What are some of the responsibilities associated with being a stage manager? CW: The stage manager acts as the go-between for all staff involved on a production: the production staff (like designers and crew), the actors, the director and the full time staff at Everyman (those in production as well as administration). I am the primary communicator making sure that everyone is informed of what's going on in rehearsal as well as changes in design. I reflect the needs of the actors as they make discoveries in rehearsalâ€”adding a new prop, making an adjustment to the set... any updates or adjustments as necessary. I also schedule rehearsals and communicate the
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schedule to the production staff. I, along with the assistant stage manager, take down blocking, record scene changes, and note all cues for lights and sound in my prompt book. Once the show is open, I am responsible for running the show from the booth. I call the cues, lead the crew and support the artistic work onstage by having the eye for consistency needed for performing the show eight times a week. ET: What excites you about working on The Roommate? What challenges does it present for a stage manager? CW: I am most excited by working on a play with all women in the room! That has not happened for a very long time and it makes for a very fun room. I love working on new plays. The works that haven't been done so many times that all the challenges have been solved. There isn't a "right way" to do a play. When there is no precedent, it challenges the artistic team to find the most interesting way to work. The Roommate only has two cast members. This can make scheduling a challenge as there is rarely a time when they aren't both on stage. Making time for costume fittings and other appointments with actors can be tricky. ET: Walk us through a typical day of stage managing for The Roommate during rehearsal.
CW: During rehearsal my work day begins about an hour before actors and the director arrive. The assistant stage manager and I setup the rehearsal room with the right props for that days work, answer any emails from the day before to designers or theatre staff, and prep the daily notes and call forms for the next day. When it is time to begin, the director begins working with the actors and I track changes and choices (where and when actors cross the stage/sit/stand) as well as how props and furniture are used. I manage the time of the rehearsal as wellâ€”when breaks need to be taken, if we are planning to work on more scenes, I make sure that they are covered and that the show stays on schedule (or at least I try to do that!). At the end of the day, actors are dismissed, the director and I make a plan for the next rehearsal and go over any notes that need to be passed on to the design/production and theatre staff. I write everything up and pass the information on to all the right people. Usually I do a drive-by meeting with some theatre staff after rehearsal as well. That all ends up taking another hour.
ET: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing stage management as a career? CW: Build those skills! Knowing as much as possible about how all the different aspects of theatre work is helpful to being a stage manager. Being able to sew, knowing how to hang a light, knowing how to build scenery and doing a little work in all the various areas of theatre makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with all the different people I interact with. Shadowing a stage manager is a good way see how others are working so that you can "borrow" the things that work for them. Watch directorsâ€”stage managers work the closest with the director and all directors work differently. Being able to be the most helpful to them is important.
Stage Manager Cat Wallis in rehearsal for The Roommate.
ET: What has been one of your favorite productions to stage manage and why? CW: This is a really hard question! There have been lots of productions that I have enjoyed and all for different reasons. What comes to mind first is a production of Uncanny Valley I did three years ago. While it was a hard play to rehearse, it was so rewarding to work on each day. The actors were two of the nicest people ever and it was a beautifully designed show. Audiences loved it and that's always fun.
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THEATRE ETIQUETTE: PREPPING TO SEE A PLAY The beauty of live theater is that the audience is just as much a part of the action as the performers. When you come and see a play remember... Respectfully enjoy the show. While we encourage you to laugh when something is funny, gasp if something shocks you, and listen intently to the action occurring, please remember to be respectful of the performers and fellow audience members. Please turn off or silence all electronic devices before the performance begins. There is no texting or checking your cell phone during the show. The glow of a cell phone can and will be seen from stage. Photography inside the theatre is strictly prohibited. Food and drinks are not allowed in the theatre. Food and drinks should be consumed in the Everyman lobby before or after the show or during intermission. Be Present. Talking, moving around, checking your phone, or engaging in other activities is distracting to everyone and greatly disrupts the performanceâ€™s energy. Stay Safe. Please remain seated and quiet during these moments. Should you need to leave for any reason, re-entrance to the theatre is at the discretion of the house manager. In case of an emergency please follow the instructions shared by Everyman staff members.
DEEPER DIVE Explore Iowa City: www.iowacitycoralville.org Check out an event with DewMore Baltimore, Baltimoreâ€™s finest slam poetry team: www.facebook.com/DewMoreBaltimore Learn about different types of scams and how to protect yourself against them: bit.ly/RMPlayGuideFBIScams Learn French (or any other language) just like Sharon with this completely free language learning program: www.duolingo.com
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Take a closer examination of the world of The Roommate by visiting these helpful and fun resources... Live life to the fullest. Sign up for this free online community where you and your friends can create bucket lists and help each other check things off! www.bucketlist.net Take a look at all the things The Bronx has to offer: bit.ly/RMPlayGuideBronx Marijuana and its status in our country: bit.ly/RMPlayGuideVox
EXTENSION PROJECTS Beth Hylton played a stage manager in Everyman’s 2014/15 Season production of The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck. Photo by Stan Barouh.
Be the Stage Manager: Creating and Calling Cues Watch Stage Manager, Mark Stevens, calling some of the lighting, follow spot and set cues for the San Diego REP’s musical production of Hairspray: youtu.be/5TXBqdDAXgE Using The Roommate, write in your own cues for lights and sound. Have students in class be the actors performing, reading the lines, and practice “calling the show!” For an added challenge, write in cues to the script and pass your paper to a partner. Now execute the same process but calling someone else’s cues. What is challenging about this process? How were the experiences different? Be the Playwright: Writing Contemporary Dialogue The playwright is not always in the room with the actors and director so the script is an confirmed map full of necessary information for the artists. As artists we need to be expert observers. Start with reality. Write down a conversation that you hear between two individuals. This can be between family,friends, or something overheard in the hallway. Focus on translating exactly what is said on to paper. The Roommate reads and plays naturally to a modern audience. Share this dialogue with two actors in the classroom. Have different pairings read the work and allow the playwright to edit what the actor's say. Is it dramatically interesting? What language needs to be added or subtracted to convey the meaning. Craft supportive stage directions to help guide the actor's interpretation in order to achieve a honest portrayal of what occurred. • What was challenging about the editing process? • Did the piece transform from what you had originally intended? How did it evolve? • What is the value of hearing the work read aloud? • As an actor,what information in the text was helpful in bringing the story to life? See the back of the Play Guide for final project! THE ROOMMATE PLAY GUIDE | 17
POST-SHOW QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION Use these questions as a launchpad for conversation about The Roommate. Production • How does the use of music affect the mood of the play? What significance does the music hold? • How did the design elements of this production work together to bring the world of the play to life? Theme and Content • If you were to run away and start anew, where would you go? Who would you be? • Do you think there is a point in life where it is too late to start over? Character • How do each of the women evolve through the show? • Both Robyn and Sharon struggle to be good parents. How do each of the women show their strengths and weaknesses as moms in the play? • Robyn and Sharon are quite polar opposites but they seem to get along, learn from, and understand one another. What are some other famous examples of two very different people who are friends? • Which characters did you connect to and why? • How do the women change and grow throughout the play and why? • Characterize the relationship each mother has with their child. Describe what you find effective about each parenting style. What would you do differently? • Robyn and Sharon have different energies. Identify other examples of opposing relationships in your world. • Each character discovers a new direction that life takes. What do you think happens to each of these women after the play? • As they take ownership over their lives, define your personal goals. Where do you want to be going and how can you get there?
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Other questions Iâ€™d like to ask the artists when I meet them at the post-show workshop:
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THE ROOMMATE GLOSSARY The Bronx: New York City’s northernmost borough. Located to the northeast of Manhattan.
Iowa New York City
Capitalist Economy: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Cedar Rapids: The second largest city in Iowa, located just north of the state’s capital, Des Moines.
Map of the United States of America
Gerber: A company specializing in baby foods and products. Goya: Also known as “bitter melon”, Goya is a vegetable mostly consumed in tropical countries. The Bronx
Harvard Business Review: a business management magazine published by Harvard Business Publishing. Iowa City: A city located in Johnson County, Iowa. It is the fifth largest city in the state with a population of 74,220. Well known for the University of Iowa, the city’s love of education can also be found in the Iowa City Workshop, whose graduates have included Flannery O’Connor and John Irving. Mi casa es su casa: A Spanish saying meaning “my house is your house.” In other words, “make yourself at home.” Nigerian Prince Scam: Defined by the Better Business Bureau as “one of the nation’s longest-running scams,” the Nigerian Prince Scam or Nigerian Letter Scam, is a “fund transfer” con in which victims are reached by fax, letter, phone, or e-mail. “The sender, who claims to be a government official or member of a royal family, requests assistance in transferring millions of dollars of excess money out of Nigeria and promises to pay the person for his or her help. The message is always of an ‘urgent, private’ nature.” Ophthalmologist: An eye surgeon.
Map of New York City and surrounding boroughs
Park Slope: A neighborhood located in northern Brooklyn, New York. Parlez-vous Français?: French for “Do you speak French?”
Penny candy: In the United States, a term used to refer to candy sold by the piece instead of in bulk. Senegal: A country on the west coast of Africa. Slam Poetry: A type of poetry, usually performed at a competition. Slam poems typically tell a personal story and are often performed very dramatically. Voodoo Doll: A doll made to represent someone. The doll is then manipulated by burning, sticking with pins, or molding (among other methods) in order to cause some sort of change, either good or bad to the person represented.
EVERYMAN THEATRE | 20
Map of the state of Iowa
CURRICULAR TIE-INS Common Core State Standards CCSS. ELA-Literacy, CCRA. SLS 1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussion (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners and topics, texts, and issues building on other’s ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. CCSS. ELA-Literacy. RL. 11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g where the story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed) CCSS. ELA-Literacy. CRA RS Lit 1 Determine two or more themes of internal ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account. National Core Arts Standards TH Re 7.1 Perceive and analyze artistic work. TH Re 8.1 Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. TH Re 9.1 Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work. TH Cn10.1 Synthesize and relate knowledge and TH Cn10.2 Relate artistic and cultural ideas and works to societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
SOURCES Capitalism. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016. Docimo, Katherine. “Types of Conflict In Literature.” Storyboard That. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016. “The Nigerian Prince: Old Scam, New Twist.” The Nigerian Prince: Old Scam, New Twist. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016. Reijonen, Kati. “Can You Really Start Over After Hitting Rock Bottom After 50?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 June 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016. Swanbrow, Diane. “Study of Relationships Between Adult Children and Parents.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 9 May 2009. Web. 05 Oct. 2016. “Jen Silverman.” Jen Silverman. Web. 03 Oct. 2016. Tran, Diep. “The Many Lives of Jen Silverman.” AMERICAN THEATRE. Theatre Communications Group, 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Oct. 2016.
THIS PLAY GUIDE CREATED BY Brianna McCoy, Director of Education Andrew Stromyer, Education Coordinator Brenna Horner, Education Program Assistant Kiirstn Pagan, Graphic Designer
EVERYMAN THEATRE IS LOCATED AT 315 W. Fayette St. Baltimore, MD 21201
CONTACT INFORMATION Box Office 410.752.2208 Administration 443.615.7055 Email email@example.com
THE ROOMMATE PLAY GUIDE | 21
TEEN PROGRAM DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE POTE
FOUNDATIONS OF ACTING SERIES Discover the artist within! Exercise your creativity, strengthen your artistic core, and hone theatrical skills. Five in-depth experiences taught by talented Everyman Theatre Artists. Take one, take them all! Foundation 1: Creating a Physical and Vocal Life October 29-November 19, 10:30 AM-1 PM Foundation 2: Auditioning Technique Weekend Workshop January 27 & 28, 11 AM-4 PM Foundation 3: Text Analysis January 7-February 4 (No class Jan 28), 10:30 AM-1 PM Foundation 4: Musical Theatre Brush-Up February 11-March 4, 10:30 AM-1 PM Foundation 5: Character Development April 22-May 13, 10:30 AM-1 PM $950 for full series (five classes) | $200 for individual classes
“I CAN SAY WITAHT I CONVICTION THN MY HAVE GROWN IOUGH ARTISTRY THR M.” THE PROGRA Everyman
“EVERYMAN TH A MAGICAL PLA EATRE IS YOU HAVE THECE WHERE A TO BE CREATIVBILITY E.” Everyman High Sc
hool Stud ent
TNT: THEATRE NIGHT FOR TEENS Students in grades 9-12 are invited to TNT, a teens only event which takes the show to a whole new level. Pay just $10 for dinner, artist meet-and-greet, performance, discussion and dessert. Event starts at 6 PM the first Tuesday of each show’s run.
The Roommate October 25 Dot December 6 Great Expectations January 31 Los Otros March 21 Noises Off May 16
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EVERYMANTHEATRE.ORG/EDUCATION | 443.615.7055 x7142
DESIGN YOUR OWN PRODUCTION IMAGERY For each production at Everyman, our Marketing Department works with an artist to create imagery that conveys a visual story. You can see the The Roommate imagery on the cover of this guide. Now itâ€™s your turn! Design your own production artwork here...
This Play Guide was created for Everyman Theatre's high school matinee program to provide to Baltimore City students before experiencing the...