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Matthew Reeder Artistic Director

Celene Mielcarek Development Director

BackStage Theatre Company Presents

A Scent of Flowers by James Saunders

Directed by Matthew Reeder The Building Stage 412 N. Carpenter St. Reservations: (312) 773-BTSC www.backstagetheatrecompany.org There will be two 10 minute intermissions. Our Mission BackStage Theatre Company uses the intimate experience of theatre to explore the human experience of family.

BackStage Theatre Company is an Artist-in-Residence at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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P R O D U C T I O N S TA F F Director......................................................................................................................................Matthew Reeder Assistant Director................................................................................................................................Jen Poulin Production Stage Manager.................................................................................................... Lindsey Miller* Assistant Stage Manager..............................................................................................................Kyle Stoffers Scenic Designer.............................................................................................................................. Heath Hays* Lighting Designer...............................................................................................................................John Kelly Props Designer....................................................................................................................Angela M. Campos Costume Designer/Dance Captain.............................................................................. Megan E. Sullivan* Sound Designer........................................................................................................................Stephen Ptacek Fight Director............................................................................................................................... Tony Bozzuto* Technical Supervisor..................................................................................................................Sean Sullivan*

CAST Zoe............................................................................................................................................................ Jess Berry Godfrey..................................................................................................................................... Patrick De Nicola Edgar.............................................................................................................................................. Michael Pacas* Agnes.................................................................................................................................. Mary Anne Bowman David.........................................................................................................................................................Ron Butts Sid......................................................................................................................................................... Eric Paskey* Fred....................................................................................................................................................Jon Stutzman Scrivens........................................................................................................................................ Josh Hambrock * ensemble member of BackStage Theatre Company

S TA F F Artistic Director.......................................................................................................................Matthew Reeder Development Director........................................................................................................ Celene Mielcarek Interim Managing Director................................................................................................Tara Smithberger Associate Artistic Director.............................................................................................................. Jen Poulin Assistant Development Directors................................Amy Abramson, Susan Hamel, David Zoltan Casting Director.................................................................................................................................... Jana Liles Public Relations Consultant .............................................................................................. Vallea Woodbury

ENSEMBLE Tony Bozutto Heath Hays Jessica Keuhnau Lindsey Miller

Michael Pacas Eric Paskey Megan Sullivan Sean Sullivan

Rebekah Ward Brandon Wardell

B OA R D O F D I R E C TO R S Aaron Andersen, Chair Zachary Cook, Secretary Anthony Downing Heidi Downing

Jack Hickey Amy Monday Brandon Williams, Treasurer

SPECIAL THANKS St. Lukes Lutheran Church of Logan Square Aberdeen Tap, Opening Night Menu Sponsor Kyle Stoffers Ball State University Department of Theatre and Dance BackStage Theatre Company 3


CAST BIOS Jess Berry – Zoe Jess is thrilled to be working with BackStage Theatre for the first time. Most recently, she was seen in Griffin Theatre’s Punk Rock directed by Jonathan Berry. Other Chicago credits include Cut to the Chase (The Artistic Home) and performing the understudy role for Jeff-Nominated Sweet Bird of Youth (The Artistic Home). Jess is also a graduate of the Artistic Home Training Studio. Patrick De Nicola – Godfrey Patrick De Nicola is working with Backstage Theatre Co. for the third glorious time in his Chicago career. Previous Backstage credits include: Felix in Memory, and Boy in Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby. Other Chicago credits: The Gift Theatre Co. as Butch in Absolute Hell, Henry/Paul in The Ruby Sunrise, and Pete in Almost Maine, American Theatre Co. as Sonny in The Original Grease (Winner: Jeff Award for Best Musical), Chicago Children’s Theatre as Anthony in the World Premiere of Jackie and Me, and Collaboraction’s Sketchbook 9. Patrick is a graduate of Second City and is currently writing/acting in a comedic web series based on his Italian family called Tony and Miranda (On YouTube). Love and thanks to his famiglia, Annie, The DiMarias, his supportive and loving friends (but not the unsupportive or unloving ones), Backstage, and the wonderful Mr. Reeder. Patrick is a graduate of Emerson College (Boston, MA) with a BFA in Acting and a BA in Film. Michael Pacas – Edgar MICHAEL PACAS recently appeared in the title role of Stage Left Theatre’s The Fisherman. A BackStage Theatre ensemble member, Michael appeared in The Play About The Baby; The Skin Of Our Teeth and Terra Nova, and directed Medea. He appeared in Ulysses/Bailiwick’s Corpus Christi (Joseph Jefferson Award / After Dark Award: Ensemble). Other acting credits include Barrymore (which he also directed & produced); Porchlight’s Miracle On 34th Street and Sunday In The Pard With George; The Hypocrites’ The Threepenny Opera and Equus; Griffin’s The Robber Bridegroom. Michael gives special thanks to Tim, and the rest of his extended family. Visit (http://pacas.ws) for more info! 4 BackStage Theatre Company

Mary Anne Bowman – Agnes Mary Anne was most recently seen in the title role of Project 891 Theatre Company’s production of Our Leading Lady. She has also worked with a number of other Chicago area theaters, including Griffin Theatre, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Prop Thtr, Circle Theater, Trap Door Theatre and Bailiwick Repertory (1.0). She is a member of Emeritus of Babes With Blades, a company specializing in plays featuring stage combat roles for women. She is thrilled to have the opportunity of collaborating with Backstage Theatre on Mr. Saunders’ marvelously evocative and elegiac play. To the pole star and heart of all things, Michael John, profoundest love and humble gratitude. Ron Butts – David Ron is happy to be working with BackStage for the third time. Chicago credits include: Lighthousekeeping (New Leaf Theatre); Of Mice and Men (both at Steppenwolf for Young Audiences and Oak Park Festival Theatre); Resurrection Blues and Democracy (Eclipse Theatre); How I Learned to Drive and Beauty on the Vine (BackStage Theatre); Half of Plenty (American Theatre Company); The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Collaboraction); Philadelphia Story (Remy Bumppo); Sailing to Byzantium (Caffeine Theatre); The Invention of Love (Court); and understudying on Love Song (Steppenwolf ). Ron received his MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Jon Stutzman – Fred Jon is excited to be working with Backstage Theatre Company for the first time. Recent credits include Moby Dick and the Franklin Expedition here at the Buiding Stage, and the Copperhead at City Lit. Jon has worked at Lifeline, the Artistic Home, Steep, Griffin, New Beast Theatre, Adventure Stage, Pegasus Theatre, and the Side Project. Thanks to Megan for all of her support.


C A S T B I O S ( c o n t .) Eric Paskey – Sid Eric Paskey has been an ensemble member with BackStage since 2006. He is a graduate of Kent State University, with additional training from Black Box Acting Studio and ImprovOlympic. He was most recently seen as one of the Clowns inThe 39 Steps at the Shawnee Theatre in Bloomfield, Indiana. Eric has also appeared as Andy in Aunt Dan and Lemon (BackStage), Dinsdale in The Ruling Class (BackStage), and Stumpy in The Ballad of the Sad Café (Signal Ensemble). When not performing, he is a devoted fan of Cleveland’s professional sports teams, a pitcher for the Second City and ImprovOlympic softball teams, and a two-time champion of his fantasy football league. Eric thanks Rachel and his family for their continued love and support.

Josh Hambrock – Scrivens Josh is truly honored to be back at work with Backstage after appearing in last season’s production of Memory. Josh most recently appeared in Timeline Theatre’s production of Enron, where he finally fulfilled his childhood dream of playing a Velociraptor. Some other Chicago credits include: Benjamin in Pluto is Listening (Infusion Theatre), Mike in The Philadelphia Story (Circle Theatre), Azdak/Singer in Voodoo Chalk Circle and Pip/Stubb/Flask in Moby Dick (State Theatre of Chicago), and Hank in Paper Thin Walls (Abraham Werewolf ). Many, many thanks to Matthew Reeder and Backstage for this opportunity, as well as to his always supportive family and friends. Josh studied Acting and Political Science at Indiana University.

PRODUCTION TEA M BIOS Lindsey Miller – Production Stage Manager Lindsey Miller is glad to be working with Matt and the BSTC crew again. She last stage managed Play About the Baby. Other credits include Duchess of Malfi and Conquest of the South Pole (Strawdog Theater), Ironmistress (Oracle), The Fever Chart (eclipse),Wuthering Heights (Lifeline), and The Ring Cycle (Building Stage). Kyle Stoffers – Season Intern/ Assistant Stage Manager Kyle Stoffers is a entering his third-year of Undergraduate work at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana studying Theatre Production: Directing. He is thrilled to be here in Chicago working with the great people at BackStage Theatre Company. Kyle’s production credits include assisting on The Thugs and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Ball State, as well as singing/acting in the final reading of the rising star musical The Circus in Winter, as well as other community theatre productions. This coming academic year he will be assistant directing the premier of John Cariani’s new play Love/Sick and directing Rachel Axler’s play Smudge at Ball State. He’s proud to have worked on A Scent of Flowers with such a wonderful group of people and can’t wait to come back to start his own career in Chicago. Heath Hays – Scenic Designer Heath is a BackStage Ensemble member, where he has designed set for Memory, Play About The Baby, Aunt Dan & Lemon, On An Average Day, The Memory of Water, Beauty on the Vine, Bloody Bess and Zombies from the Beyond as well as the Jeff-recommended shows Waiting for Lefty

and Medea. He served as lighting designer for BSTC’s Memory and A Number. He also designed sound for BackStage’s Three Days of Rain, Orange Flower Water, The Ruling Class and Seanachi Theatre’s drama Whistle in the Dark. He designed set for Infamous Conmmonwealth Theatre’s Keely and Du, GreyZelda’s Jeff-recommended production of A View From The Bridge as well as their Desire Under the Elms, and Hell in a Handbag’s Caged Dames. Heath has also worked for Grounded Theatre, Arena Dinner Theatre, and Village Players. John Kelly – Lighting Designer This is John’s first lighting design for BackStage Theatre Company. Elsewhere in Chicago, John has worked with Mortar Theatre, Eclipse theatre, Underscore Theatre, Urban Theatre Company, Polarity Theatre, RedTwist, Cold Basement Dramatics and Stage 773. Megan Sullivan – Costume Designer Megan has worked with BackStage Theatre Company since 2004, serving as a Designer (Costumes, Properties, Sound), Manager (Production, Stage), Performer, Director, Ensemble member, and Associate Artistic Director (2005-2007). Costume Design credits for BSTC include A Number, The Play About The Baby, and the Jeff-recommended production of Anton in Show Business. Hailing from the ‘burbs of Detroit, Megan is a director, designer, performer, and instructor in theatre, dance, and music with various genres and groups in Chicago and proudly married to Sean Sullivan (Technical Supervisor), whom she met while working with BSTC.

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P R O D U C T I O N T E A M B I O S ( c o n t .) Sean Sullivan – Technical Supervisor Sean hails from Ohio, where he earned a BA in Theatre from The Ohio State University. He has been an ensemble member, actor and designer/carpenter with BackStage Theatre Company since 2004. Sean freelances as a carpenter and stagehand in theatre and television for companies such as Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc. and Harpo Studios. He is also a member of Actor’s Equity, represented by Stewart Talent Agency and is currently starring as “Johnny Cash” in the Chicago cast of the Tony Award Winning musical, Million Dollar Quartet. Sean takes the most pride in having met and married fellow BSTC ensemble member and best friend, Megan E. Sullivan. Angela M. Campos – Props Designer Angela returns again to BackStage with her fourth production. Earlier this season, she designed the set for BSTC’s production of A Number. Other Chicago credits include The Nutcracker and Death and Harry Houdini (The House Theatre of Chicago);Memory and Three Days of Rain (BackStage Theatre Company); Romeo and Juliet (First Folio Theatre); Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Polarity Ensemble); Theories of the Sun and Heddatron (Sideshow Theatre Company); and Cloud 9 (The Gift Theatre Company). She would like to thank the cast and production staff, and her friends and family for all their unwavering support and dedication. Stephen Ptacek – Sound Designer Stephen Ptacek is a Chicago based Sound Designer, Musician and Playwright. He has worked with a plethora of Chicago Storefront companies, and this is his third production with BackStage, previously providing sound design for Memory and Beauty on the Vine. He received a Jeff Award in 2008 for his Sound Design work on Adam Rapp’s Faster (Side Project) and is a company member with Dog & Pony. In addition to his theatre work, he is also a percussionist with El Is A Sound Of Joy, an experimental Jazz/Rock collective. Stephen is also a faculty member with the MidCoastFreeSchool, a non-profit arts education program. Tony Bozzuto – Fight Director Onstage, Tony was last seen in this season’s A Number, the Jeff Recommended Memory and Orange Flower Water, and in On An Average Day. For about seven years, Tony has been honored to work his way around the Chicago theatre scene with such talented companies as Lifeline Theatre, Next Theatre, Metropolis PAC, and, of course, BackStage Theatre Co. Whether on stage, television or film, Tony credits much of his skills and successes to his studies at the incomparable Hilberry Theatre in Detroit, MI, where he received his MFA. Rachel “Goose” Haile – Dialect Coach Goose is deliriously happy to be working for the first time with Backstage. Over the last 6 BackStage Theatre Company

few years, she has taught world accents at dozens of theaters around Chicago (and one in New Zealand). Her favorite scene involved a Grenadian speaking with a Polish woman and a black character from London. In her day job as a travel specialist, Rachel sends happy couples on far-flung adventures around the planet. When she is not working, she’s on the road herself. Rachel and her husband have visited 20 countries together and lived abroad twice. Next up: a three-week trip to Western Australia and a month-long voyage to India. Matthew Reeder – Artistic Director Matthew is the Artistic Director of BackStage Theatre Company. Directing credits include last season’s acclaimed Three Days of Rain, the Jeff Recommended productions Memory, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and The Play About The Baby and Jeff Nominated On An Average Day. Matthew’s credits also include the critically acclaimed production of Paula Vogel’s How I Learned To Drive. Matthew has directed Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Metropolis Performing Arts Center. Matthew is also a regular at Adventure Stage Chicago, where he recently directed the wildly popular theatrical adaptation of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, Louis Sachar’s Holes, as well as The Shakespeare Stealer, and Still Life with Iris. Other selected directing credits include Accomplice for Noble Fool Theatricals, The Glass Menagerie for Illinois Repertory Theatre, A Tempest by Aime Cesar for the Playing French Festival at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Woman in Black for Blue Ridge Theatre Festival. Matthew’s production of David Ives All in the Timing and English Made Simple was featured at the 1999 Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Sibiu, Romania. Matthew holds an M.F.A in Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a B.S. in Musical Theater from Ball State University. Jen Poulin – Assistant Director/ Associate Artistic Director Jen Poulin is thrilled to serve BackStage Theatre Company as Associate Artistic Director. Her journey began with a magical experience stage managing Aunt Dan and Lemon in 2009. She has also stage managed A Number, Three Days of Rain, and Memory. This season, Jen directed the first two installments of The Listening Series, BackStage’s new off-night adventure. Other projects for 2012 include stage managing The Cripple of Inishmaan at Redtwist Theatre, and directing Savage Land for the 2012 Dionysis Cup Festival of New Plays, hosted by Polarity Ensemble Theatre. She has had the pleasure of working with many fine Chicago companies, including Strawdog Theatre Company, WildClaw Theatre, Serendipity Theatre Collective, Steep Theatre Company, Mary Arrchie Theatre Company, and Silk Road Theatre Project. Jen holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. Love and thanks to our excellent production team and cast, family and friends, and The Boy.


D I R E C TO R ’ S N O T E S - D I S C OV E R I N G A S C E N T O F F LOW E R S A few years back, I was at the local library with my almost four-year old son. This small suburban library is easily overlooked while driving down the street. As libraries go, it is pretty insignificant. With the exception of a pretty great children’s section in the basement, this library feels like a relic; the sad remains of a good idea that never took hold. On this particular day, my son had a hulking coffee table book of Hubble space images sprawled across the floor of the non-fiction section. As he looked at a two-fold spread of a picture of deep space, I casually glanced at the emaciated shelves of the “drama” section. I’d looked at those neglected shelves many times before, not that there was much to look at. There were perhaps two rows of old loosely stacked drama books, and they rarely featured anything other than a few copies of Neil Simon, Tennessee Williams and perhaps a few dog-eared copies of “Death of a Salesman.” So as my kid flipped the page of his book to a new photo of some nebula or other, I gave the playscripts a quick once-over. Nothing much had changed. But squeezed in at the very end of the section, I noticed an ancient looking acting edition of a play I’d never heard of. I pulled it out and glanced casually at its cracked and fading cover: Next Time I’ll Sing To You, by James Saunders. Never heard of the play or the playwright. Flipping the thin book over, I read the synopsis that briefly outlined the story between the covers. It was apparently about a man who chose to leave his life and family behind for the life of a hermit. And apparently, it was based on the life of an actual person. It sounded mildly intriguing. I opened it, and glanced at the publishing date. 1962. My snobby contemporary sensibilities took over and began whispering don’t bother into my ear. But I had been working on selecting a BackStage season at that time, and I had recently run out of reading material. So I shrugged my shoulders and checked it out on impulse. The script collected dust in my bag for over a week. I finally remembered it and began to casually browse the first few scenes . . . and was totally unprepared for what I found. What I found was a deeply surprising, intensely inventive and lyrical piece of experimental theatre whose first few pages completely disarmed me. I closed the book once or twice, reading and re-reading the author’s name, looking for at least a hint of recognition. But none came. I couldn’t understand it. I should know who James Saunders is, I thought. This play was no one-off. This play felt vital and visionary and three decades ahead of its time. Halfway through this sucker-punch of a play, I turned wide-eyed to my wife and said “I’ve never read anything like this.” Whoever this James Saunders was, he was working on par with some of the great theatre experimenters; Beckett, Ionesco, Pirandello, Genet, Pinter … but somehow, Saunders was different. As in the plays of the aforementioned authors, there was deep narrative and conceptual innovation in this play, but unlike the same authors, there was hot blood pumping from a heart that seems to be notably absent from the great works of so many of these playwrights. Despite their dramatic and literary significance, the bleak worldview of these “Absurdist” playwrights has been a lifelong turnoff for me, both as an artist and a human being. But Saunders was doing something different. If Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and (to a lesser degree) Pinter seemed to build their plays around the idea of the futility (“absurdity”) of life, Saunders had written a play about the devastating beauty and wonderful sadness at the center of living. Saunders play was sad, yes, but it was also funny and very much alive. In Saunders’ play, being human was equal parts ecstatic love and contemplative melancholy. Being alive is an ecstatic, lonely and complex gift cut through with equal parts joy and grief. Despite my enthusiasm for Next Time I’ll Sing To You, it didn’t take me long to realize that the story of this particular play was not exactly right for a BackStage Theatre Company season. But in my enthusiasm I was convinced I had made a re-discovery of some long-forgotten playwright, so I ordered as many of Saunders’ scripts as I could from the libraries around the area, to see if he had written something that was even remotely as exciting as Next Time I’ll Sing To You, one that we could sandwich into our company mission of “the exploration of family.” Slowly, a few of Saunders’ titles trickled in, all possessing the same transporting mix of invention, lyricism and humanity. Finally, A Scent of Flowers arrived. I read it once, and knew I had found exactly what I was looking for. A Scent of Flowers was both similar and notably different than Next Time I’ll Sing To You. While the story of Next Time I’ll Sing To You was written in widescreen (its scenic centerpiece was a huge, dilapidated theatre), Scent of Flowers was stunningly intimate. Traversing a funeral parlor, a church and a grave site, the family at the center of A Scent of Flowers is presented in disarming close-up. As Zoe and her family experience the premature death of a beloved family member, the entire journey of their lives, both internal and external, conscious and subconscious are examined in exquisite, lyrical detail. The play was both stunning in it’s scope and invention, yet searing in its intimacy. In short, I had found a perfect play for BackStage Theatre Company. My puzzlement over the shade that is drawn around James Saunders continues to mystify me. Despite the fact that Next Time I’ll Sing To You helped launch the theatrical career of Michael Caine, despite the fact that the 1965 opening night of A Scent of Flowers earned a reported fifteen encore BackStage Theatre Company 7


D I R E C TO R ’ S N O T E S - D I S C OV E R I N G A S C E N T O F F LOW E R S curtain calls, won the Evening Standard Award for promising new playwright, marked the West End debut of a very young Ian McKellan in his first ever award-winning acting role, despite the fact that Tom Stoppard claims that sitting in the audience for Next Time I’ll Sing To You was the singular transformative moment that made him want to write plays, despite the fact that if you look back far enough in time, you will read James Saunders name mentioned in early articles about the Absurdist theatre movement . . . despite all of this, I have not come across a single person, theatre artist or otherwise, who knows who the hell James Saunders is. During the pursuit of two theatre degrees, I don’t recall ever seeing his name in a textbook, on a professor’s shelf or in a university library, and I never heard his name mentioned in a class. Researching the production history on A Scent of Flowers, there is little to no information that tells us that this playwright has had any meaningful introduction to American audiences. It is a mystery to me. Now here you are, sitting in this theatre, about to see the Midwest premiere of a play that was written in 1965. Getting to this point has been a strange brew of happenstance, detective work and audacity. Working on an old play that no one knows about by a playwright that no one has heard about is not the safest of theatrical endeavors. I know this. But discovering (or rediscovering) a play and being dazzled by the potential and wonder of it, and transforming that dazzle into an ephemeral gift that we will hand to you when you walk into the Building Stage . . . in that joyful process of discovery, dazzle and gift-giving lies the purest example of why we do what we do. That is what making theatre is all about.

DONORS Thank you to our generous supporters. Your gifts make our productions possible. $2500+ Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation $1000 - $2,499 Illinois Arts Council, a state agency Timothy Cagney & Michael Pacas CNA Foundation $250 - $999 Anonymous Heidrun Unterbeck& Anthony Downing Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Richard & Kathleen Katz Kenneth J. Poje Eugene Poulin Hubert Reeder Frank & Karen Schneider Timothy & Cynthia Shanahan Bill & Orli Staley Foundation Mary & Richard Veed $100 - $249 Aaron Andersen & Amy Daigler Ron & Barbara Butts Zach Cook Mark & Randy Daigler Susan V. Downing Isabelle Goossen

Sheldon & Martha Lazar Eugene Miller Amy and Paul Monday Roberta Olshansky Rich Pokorny & Ellen Wehrle Rebecca & James Reeder Matt Roth & Terri Hilton Judith Schiefelbein Kimberly K. Taylor Michael Pauken & Marc Harshbarger Donors Anonymous (6) Amy Abramson Alfred Andreychuk Carole B. Breckbill William & Pamela Cramer Gretchen Crone Erna Dinata John & Tess Green Kathy Konieczny Mr. & Mrs. Roy C. Lundin Celene Mielcarek Ronald & Karen Payne Mr. & Mrs. Arlen Rubin Noel Spain Sheila R. Ukman Stephen W. Ryan Eva M. Skowronski Colin Theis In Kind Donors The Aberdeen Tap Adventure Stage

Anita Dee Yacht Charters Auditorium Theatre Bwa-HAH! Brewery Chicago Architecture Foundation Chicago Botanic Gardens Chicago History Museum ComedySportz Court Theatre Chicago Symphony Orchestra Zachary Cook Gibsons Steakhouse Goodman Theatre HL Games Homey Art Studio Hubbard Street Dance Company Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center iO Theatre L20 Luna Negra Luxe Salon Mercury Theatre Next Theatre Redmoon Theatre Rhapsody Restaurant River North Dance Company Shedd Aquarium Strange Tree Theatre Sutton Studios TRU Urban Oasis

This listing includes gifts received August 1, 2011 – June 18, 2012 Join our family of supporters by making a gift at backstagetheatrecompany.org/support.

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