The Thanksgiving Play Program

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GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE AUDREY SKIRBALL KENIS THEATER

GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE

THE G S I K V I N N A G H T PL AY


WELCOME TO

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

PHOTO BY JEFF LORCH

MATT SHAKMAN

Welcome to The Thanksgiving Play—a brilliant satire from the wonderful mind of L.A.-based playwright, Larissa FastHorse. As Larissa’s incisively-drawn characters gather with the best intentions to create a Thanksgiving play that honors Native Americans, they find they are undone by those same intentions. In an interesting moment of life imitating art, the Geffen experienced our own version of this when we designed marketing materials for our season brochure. Attempting to convey the sharp, skewering nature of the piece, we devised a dinner table-style tableau centered on a pilgrim’s hat shot through with arrows. We ran the image by Larissa and happily went to print. After the brochure was mailed, we heard from a Native American woman that the illustration we created was eerily similar to the old Massachusetts Turnpike signs. This image was deeply painful to many Native Americans and had been replaced after a concerted struggle. Here we were, triggering this person and surely others in the name of marketing a comedic play. 2 P L AY B I L L

By unconsciously portraying the pilgrim as the victim, we were inverting the point of the play—and the true history of what happened to Native Americans under British/American colonization. But even though having the best intentions can’t protect you from sticking your foot in it—as we did—you can’t shy away from these conversations. Where we failed, Larissa succeeds. Somehow, she manages to laser in on larger questions about cultural identity and history while making us laugh the whole time—a remarkable feat of dramatic gymnastics. It is a joy to have Michael John Garcés, artistic director of Los Angeles’s Cornerstone Theater Company, at the helm. He has assembled a superb group of actors and designers to bring this piece to life, and we are thrilled to share their work with you. Enjoy the show! Matt Shakman Artistic Director


BOARD OF DIRECTORS Howard Tenenbaum

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

GIL CATES, JR.

CHAIR

Patricia Kiernan Applegate

Frank G. Mancuso Chairman Emeritus

Beth Behrs

Ron Meyer

Dr. Gene D. Block

Jerry Moss

Kevin Bright

Bruce M. Ramer Founding Chairman

Gil Cates Jr. Executive Director

Victoria Mann Simms Andy Spahn

Mary Ann Cloyd

Steven Spielberg

Merle Dandridge

Steve Tisch

Dr. Brad Edgerton

Dr. Charles E. Young Chairman Emeritus

Mark Fleischer Sue Fleishman Patricia L. Glaser Adi Greenberg Vice Chair Arthur Greenberg Martha Henderson Chair Emeritus Loretta Everett Kaufman

IN MEMORIAM Gilbert Cates Founder Marcia Israel-Curley Audrey Skirball Kenis Charles Kenis Karl Malden Jerry Perenchio

Carla Malden

Edie Wasserman

Brian Mann

Lew Wasserman

Barry Meyer Danny Passman Holly Rice

LEGAL COUNSEL Peter Rosen

Pamela Robinson Chair Emeritus

Latham & Watkins LLP

Linda Bernstein Rubin Teri Schwartz

ADVISORY BOARD

Matt Shakman Artistic Director

Miranda Tollman Chair

Richard Sherman

Stephanie Carson

Fred Specktor

Lori Collins

Cynthia P. Stafford

Ellyce R. Cooper

Kimberly Steward

Debra Davis

Marc Weinstock

Ann Gianopulos

Kevyn Wynn

Priscila Giraldo

FOUNDING TRUSTEES Kirsten Combs Robert A. Daly David Geffen Herbert M. Gelfand Chairman Emeritus

PHOTO BY JEFF LORCH

Harold A. Brown

Kirsten Hansen Eric Heer Laura Kennedy Wendy Kurtzman Hannah Linkenhoker

Welcome to The Thanksgiving Play, the second production in our Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater 2019/2020 season. As the holidays approach, we are immensely proud to bring this bold, hilarious, thought-provoking production to the Geffen stage— it’s sure to be a conversation starter around the Thanksgiving table! As we continue our 24th season at Geffen Playhouse, there is already much to celebrate. I am particularly happy about the recent launch of our new website and how it showcases what the Geffen has to offer, as well as what we’re all about. We are constantly searching for ways to broaden our accessibility in an effort to bring the innovative and boundary-pushing art on our stages to as many people as possible. Our new website is just one of the many facets in achieving this, by dramatically increasing the functionality and ease of our online presence while injecting our own theatricality as well. This is theater at play! I invite you to go to geffenplayhouse.org today for a more in-depth look at everything that’s happening both on our stages and behind the scenes. From all of us here at Geffen Playhouse, thank you for supporting live, local theater. Enjoy the show!

Tiffany Mayberry John McCrite

Quincy Jones

Eric Rollins

Jeffrey Katzenberg

Allen Shay

Glorya Kaufman

John Sonego

Ginny Mancini

Laurie Ziegler

Gil Cates, Jr. Executive Director

G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 3


THE GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE PRODUCTION OF

THE THANKSGIVING PLAY WRITTEN BY

LARISSA FASTHORSE DIRECTED BY

MICHAEL JOHN GARCÉS SCENIC DESIGNER

COSTUME DESIGNER

SARA RYUNG CLEMENT

GARRY LENNON

LIGHTING DESIGNER

SOUND DESIGNER

TOM ONTIVEROS

CRICKET S. MYERS

PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER

CASTING DIRECTOR

SAMANTHA COTTON

PHYLLIS SCHURINGA, CSA

OPENING NIGHT

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2019

The Thanksgiving Play is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., a Concord Theatricals Company Playwrights Horizons, Inc., New York City, produced the World Premiere of The Thanksgiving Play in 2018 The Thanksgiving Play was commissioned and originally produced by Artists Repertory Theatre (Portland, Oregon) Damaso Rodriguez, Artistic Director; Sarah Horton, Managing Director

4 P L AY B I L L

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS CIRCLE MEMBERS

Laurie & Bill Benenson Martha Henderson Pamela Robinson Hollander & Robert Hollander Loretta Everett Kaufman & Victor Kaufman

Linda Bernstein Rubin & Tony Rubin Kimberly Steward & Josh Godfrey Miranda & Brett Tollman


THE THANKSGIVING PLAY CAST OF CHARACTERS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

NOAH BEAN* * ALICIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ALEXANDRA HENRIKSON * CADEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JEFF MARLOW * LOGAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SAMANTHA SLOYAN JAXTON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

*Indicates member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

SETTING

PLEASE NOTE

A high school drama room anywhere but the Los Angeles area.

There is no photography or filming of any kind allowed in the theater. Please turn off all electronic devices, including cell phones. Thank you!

RUNNING TIME

90 minutes There will be no intermission.

OPENING NIGHT SPONSORS

G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 5


PRODUCTION BIOGRAPHIES

N OA H B E A N

Jaxton

Bean’s New York theater credits include The Whirligig (The New Group); Marjorie Prime (Playwrights Horizons); One Arm (The New Group); Yellow Face (Public Theater); Mary Rose (Vineyard Theatre); Voyage of the Carcass (SoHo Playhouse); The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall (The Acorn), among others. Regionally he has appeared at The Old Globe, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Huntington Theatre Company, where he received both Eliot Norton and IRNE Award nominations in William Inge’s Bus Stop. Bean’s television credits include series regular roles in Damages for FX, the CW’s Nikita, and 12 Monkeys for SyFy, as well as numerous other recurring and guest starring appearances. He received the Big Apple Film Festival’s New York Emerging Talent Award for his leading role in the indie film The Pill. He will next be seen in the upcoming film The Report, produced by Steven Soderbergh.

She most recently appeared in FX’s What We Do In The Shadows and Netflix’s Maniac. Broadway credits include Larry David’s Fish in the Dark (Cort Theatre), The Snow Geese (Manhattan Theatre Club). Select theater credits: Steve Martin’s world premiere Meteor Shower (The Old Globe); Ironbound (Round House Theatre–Helen Hayes nomination); We Play for the Gods (WP Theater); Hell House (St. Ann’s Warehouse); Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater–Jeff Award nomination); Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Alliance Theatre–Suzi Bass Award); Tall Girls (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center); Much Ado About Nothing (Smith Street Stage); Candida and Taming of the Shrew (California Shakespeare Theater). Film: Here We Are in the Present...Again, Love Like Gold, Towheads, Alex’s Exes. She is the creator/writer of the Jenna Fischer executive-produced National Parker at Warner Bros. Studios. Training: NYU B.F.A., Yale M.F.A., Upright Citizens Brigade.

SA M A N T H A S LOYA N

Logan

J E F F M A R LOW

Caden

A L E X A N D R A H E N R I KS O N

Alicia

Alexandra Henrikson is thrilled to be making her Geffen debut. 6 P L AY B I L L

Productions); Junk, Hollywood, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Sideways (La Jolla Playhouse); Yoga Play, Hamlet, All the Way, and Nothing Sacred (South Coast Repertory); Moonlight and Magnolias, And the Winner Is, and The Sleeper (Laguna Playhouse); and The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll and Medea (Theatre @ Boston Court). As a member of the sketch comedy troupe the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Jeff has toured the U.S., Europe, and Asia in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and The Complete History of America (abridged). Jeff’s film and television credits include the upcoming Dirty John as well as Criminal Minds, Reverie, The Mick, Dr. Ken, Silicon Valley, Pure Genius, The Player, Pushing Daisies, and Akeelah and the Bee.

Jeff Marlow is thrilled to be back at the Geffen, where he was previously seen in You Can’t Take It With You. Other theater credits include Henry IV with Tom Hanks (The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles); Paradise (JuVee

Samantha is proud to be making her Geffen Playhouse debut. Theater credits include the world premiere of Jon Robin Baitz’s Vicuña at Kirk Douglas Theatre; Ellis Island: The Dream of America at Segerstrom Center for the Arts as part of the PBS Great Performances series; Buzzworks’ Munched for which she received the LADCC and LA Weekly awards, and most recently Crimson Square’s production of Dinner with Friends. Samantha can


PRODUCTION BIOGRAPHIES be seen in Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House as well as recent appearances on Seal Team, Animal Kingdom, Proven Innocent, and The Good Doctor. She is best known for her arc as Dr. Penelope Blake on Grey’s Anatomy. Love and many thanks to her family, as always.

ling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, the UCLA Native American Program Woman of the Year, and numerous Creative Capital, MAP Fund, Ford, Mellon, and NEA Grants. Larissa is the vice chair of the board of directors of Theater Communications Group and represented by Jonathan Mills at Paradigm Talent Agency. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband, the sculptor Edd Hogan. hoganhorsestudio.com #thethanksgivingplay

L A R I SSA FAS T H O RS E

Playwright

Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota) is an award-winning writer. Larissa’s produced plays include The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons); What Would Crazy Horse Do? (Kansas City Repertory Theatre); Urban Rez / Native Nation / Lakota Project Trilogy in collaboration with Michel John Garcés (Cornerstone Theater Company, ASU Gammage); Landless and Cow Pie Bingo (AlterTheater); Average Family (Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis); Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: A Class Presentation (Native Voices at the Autry); Vanishing Point (Eagle Project); Cherokee Family Reunion (Mountainside Theater). Larissa has recently returned to film and television writing. She is currently writing a movie for Disney Channel and co-creating a new series with Courtney Hoffman for Freeform as well as developing several scripts. Larissa’s awards include the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award for an American Playwright, NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dow-

Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman (various venues including Guthrie Theater, Cleveland Public Theatre, and Philadelphia Theatre Company). Other projects in Los Angeles include Café Vida by Lisa Loomer (Cornerstone Theater Company); Seven Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman (The Theatre @ Boston Court); red, black and GREEN: a blues by Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater). He will be directing Seize the King by Will Power at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in February. Michael is a recipient of the Princess Grace Statue Award, the Alan Schneider Director Award, and the TCG/ New Generations Grant. He serves as Vice President of the executive board of SDC, the Theatrical Union for Stage Directors and Choreographers. SA R A RY U N G C L E M E N T

Scenic Designer

MICHAEL JOHN GARCÉS

Director

Michael John Garcés is the artistic director of Cornerstone Theater Company, a community-engaged ensemble-based theater in Los Angeles. He has directed two other plays by Larissa FastHorse, Urban Rez (Cornerstone Theater Company) and Native Nation (ASU Gammage). Other recent directing projects include The Royale (Arizona Theatre Company); the just and the blind by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Daniel Bernard Roumain (Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center); Epic by Ellen Struve (Great Plains Theatre Conference); What Happens Next by Naomi Iizuka (La Jolla Playhouse); The Arsonists by Max Frisch (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); Wrestling

Regional Theater: Oregon Shakespeare Festival: As You Like It, The Way the Mountain Moved, Vietgone (also at Seattle Repertory Theater); Guthrie Theater: The Great Leap; Actors Theatre of Louisville: Hype Man; South Coast Repertory Theatre: How the World Began, Absurd Person Singular; Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company: Sunsets and Margaritas; Folger Theatre: Henry IV Part 1; East West Players: Kentucky; Center Stage Baltimore: Hearts; Yale Repertory Theatre: Miss Julie, and numerous costume design credits. Off-Broadway: Second Stage Uptown: Somebody’s Daughter (costume); Ma-Yi: Fruiting Bodies (costume). Additional credits: set design faculty at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. M.F.A., Yale School G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 7


PRODUCTION BIOGRAPHIES of Drama; A.B. Princeton University. sararyungclement.com G A R RY L E N N O N

Costume Designer

Garry Lennon is a Los Angeles-based costume designer. He recently designed A Christmas Carol and Fuente Ovejuna at Trinity Repertory Company; Frankenstein, A Raisin in the Sun, Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Guardsman, and others at A Noise Within Theatre. At South Coast Repertory Theatre, he designed District Merchants and Jane Of The Jungle. At The Theatre @ Boston Court, Garry designed Colony Collapse, My Barking Dog, Seven Spots on the Sun, and The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll. He also has collaborated with Cornerstone Theater Company on multiple projects. Garry is a Professor in the CSUN Theatre Department and the Executive Director of the Teenage Drama Workshop. TO M O N T I V E R O S

Lighting Designer

Tom consistently chooses projects affecting themes of social justice, diversity, and equity including productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cornerstone Theater Company, Native Voices, and Jail Guitar Doors. Other credits include designs at Pasadena Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and La Jolla Playhouse. His work has been presented at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hungarian National Theatre, Phoenix Symphony, Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Park Avenue Armory, Kennedy Center, and L.A. Opera. Tom annually designs the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa 8 P L AY B I L L

Cruz, California. Recent work includes Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Othello at Artists Repertory Theatre and Romeo and Juliet at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Constant Wife at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and the MC5 50th Anniversary Benefit Concert. Awards include The Exonerated (Lucille Lortel & Drama Desk Awards), My Barking Dog (L.A. Drama Critics Choice Award), The House in Scarsdale (L.A. Drama Critics Choice Award nomination), Shiv (Best Projection, StageRaw Awards nomination), Completeness (Ovation nomination). CRICKET S. MYERS

Sound Designer

On Broadway, Cricket earned a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk Award for her design of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. She has also designed regionally at Geffen Playhouse (The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona, Underneath the Lintel, Play Dead, Discord, Wrecks, Some Girl(s), Emergency); Mark Taper Forum (Bent, Steward of Christendom, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Subject was Roses); La Jolla Playhouse (The Squirrels, Guards at the Taj, Sideways, The Nightingale); South Coast Repertory Theatre (Sweeny Todd, Kings, A Doll’s House, Part 2, The Fantasticks, Elemeno Pea); Kirk Douglas Theatre (Mutthouse, Endgame, Bengal Tiger at the Baghad Zoo); Pasadena Playhouse (Real Women, Stoneface, Above the Fold); Wallis Annenberg Center (Sisters in Law, Blues in the Night). Cricket has earned 22 Ovation nominations, as well as The Ruth Morley Award from the League of Professional Theater Women, The Kinetic Award for Outstand-

ing Achievement in Theatrical Design, an LADCC, and a Garland Award in Los Angeles. cricketsmyers.com SA M A N T H A C OT TO N

Production Stage Manager

Sam is excited to be working on her first Geffen Playhouse production after recently relocating to Los Angeles. Previously based in New York, her favorite credits include: Broadway: The Visit (Lyceum Theatre). Off-Broadway: Dolphins and Sharks and The Way West (Labyrinth Theatre Company); You Got Older (Page 73); Uncanny Valley (Contemporary American Theater Festival at 59E59). Regional: Wild Horses (Contemporary American Theater Festival); On The Town and Scott & Hem in the Garden of Allah (Barrington Stage Company); Around the World in 80 Days and Other Desert Cities (Hangar Theater Company). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ithaca College and is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. P H Y L L I S S C H U R I N G A , C SA

Casting Director

Phyllis is an Artistic Associate and the Casting Director for the Geffen Playhouse. Recent casting includes Mysterious Circumstances, Black Super Hero Magic Mama, Skeleton Crew, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Guards at the Taj and American Buffalo at the Geffen, and Put Your House in Order at La Jolla Playhouse. She has received 5 Artios nominations: Significant Other, Actually, Barbecue, Barcelona, The Country House. Before joining the Geffen, she was the Casting Director for Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago where her favorites include Frank Galati’s


PRODUCTION BIOGRAPHIES adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath (also La Jolla Playhouse, National Theatre in London and Broadway, where it received the Tony Award for Best Play), the original production of Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile (and subsequent productions including Westwood Playhouse and Briar Street Theater in Chicago), Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow and Charles L. Mee’s Time to Burn. Broadway transfers include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Tony Award for Best Revival) and The Song of Jacob Zulu. She is a member of the Casting Society of America.

M AT T S H A K M A N

geles, which was named “one of a dozen young American companies you need to know” by American Theatre magazine and “Best Small Theatre” by Los Angeles magazine. He is a director and producer for FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and has directed episodes of Game of Thrones (DGA nomination), Mad Men, Fargo, The Good Wife and Succession. Shakman recently helmed the pilot episode for Hulu’s The Great starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, airing in 2020. This season he will direct Macbeth for the Geffen, starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Sean Astin and Geffen Playhouse alumnus Chris Mulkey), Jobs (starring Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad, Dermot Mulroney, as well as Geffen Playhouse alumni Matthew Modine and Ron Eldard) and the 2011 feature film Lucky (starring Colin Hanks, Ari Graynor and Ann-Margret). In addition, Cates produced and directed the critically acclaimed Life After Tomorrow, featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, which premiered on Showtime. His other films include Deal (starring Burt Reynolds, Bret Harrison and Charles Durning) and The Mesmerist (starring Jessica Capshaw and Geffen Playhouse alumnus Neil Patrick Harris). Cates’ television directorial debut was an episode of the NBC comedy Joey, starring Emmy winner Matt LeBlanc. He studied at the National Theatre Institute in Waterford, Connecticut, and holds a B.F.A. in Drama from Syracuse University.

G I L CAT E S, J R .

Artistic Director

Executive Director

Matt Shakman is Artistic Director of Geffen Playhouse. In this role, he is responsible for identifying, developing and staging new work and revivals of classic plays with a focus on exceptional storytelling and audience experience. Shakman recently helmed Mysterious Circumstances for the Geffen and prior to joining as Artistic Director in 2017, he directed three acclaimed productions at the Playhouse: the West Coast premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People (2012), the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s new adaptation of Wait Until Dark (2013) and Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (2015). Shakman founded and was the Artistic Director of the Black Dahlia Theatre in Los An-

Gil Cates, Jr. is Executive Director of Geffen Playhouse. In this role, he is responsible for managing the Geffen’s day-today operations; developing new, ongoing theater partnerships and leading its mission to inform, entertain and inspire diverse audiences with live theater of the highest caliber. Prior to being named Executive Director in 2015, Cates served as Geffen Playhouse Board Vice Chairman since 2012 and served as a producer and director in theater, film and television. His theater credits include the award-winning Names (Matrix Theatre Company) and Three Sisters and David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre (both at Syracuse Stage). Cates’ film credits include The Surface (starring

REGINA MILLER

Chief Development Officer

Regina Miller is Chief Development Officer of Geffen Playhouse. In this role, she is responsible for managing the theater’s comprehensive fundraising efforts, as well as overseeing its award-winning education and community engagement programs. Miller has been working with Geffen Playhouse since 2007. In addition to the Geffen, she has advised non-profit institutions, foundations and corporations G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 9


PRODUCTION BIOGRAPHIES on strategy, analysis and fundraising. She has consulted for Array Alliance, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Charlize Theron’s Africa Outreach Project and Kershaw’s Challenge, among others. Prior to the Geffen, Miller worked for the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance, where she produced an innovative human rights exhibition that traveled to 14 international destinations around Europe, Asia and the U.S. She also served as the Director of Partnerships for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, where she led strategic planning and development while executing policies that advanced the organization’s visibility and growth. Miller is a published author and photographer with Tallfellow Press and Prometheus Books, and has taught and lectured at numerous schools in New York, Los Angeles and abroad. She attended North Carolina School of the Arts and the Business of Entertainment and Sports Executive Program at Harvard Business School.

HOUSE Y LA P N E F F GE

KEY O G R A L NOW–12.10

B E H N A Z ATA E E

Chief Financial Officer

Behnaz “Nazy” Ataee is Chief Financial Officer of Geffen Playhouse. In this role, she has oversight responsibility for accounting functions of the theater, including operating and capital budgets. In addition, she supports all IT and HR activities. Behnaz was named Chief Financial Officer in 2015 after serving as General Manager since 2002. She first joined Geffen Playhouse in 1999. Previously, Ataee worked as a senior financial analyst for Ultratech Inc., an international semiconductor company based in San Jose. Prior to Ultratech, she was an auditor for Van Sloten CPA, after holding the position of Director of Accounting at FABS Management, where she was responsible for overseeing the finances of more than 25 non-profit organizations. As a financial professional with more than 30 years’ experience in for-profit and non-profit financial management and auditing, Ataee began her career in the Bay 1 0 P L AY B I L L

ADAPTED BY

JEFFREY HATCHER & ANDY GARCIA DIRECTED BY

DOUG HUGHES PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH

FRANK MANCUSO & ANDY GARCIA FEATURING

ANDY GARCIA TICKETS

S T A R T A T $3 0! – G E F F E N P L A Y H O U S E.O R G 310.2 0 8.54 54


PRODUCTION BIOGRAPHIES Area as a partner in a small tech startup. She holds a master’s degree from Pepperdine University.

been Managing Director since

vative curriculum at its Theater

1993. Under their decades of

School, and more. Robert Moss

leadership, Playwrights builds

founded Playwrights in 1971 and

upon its diverse and renowned

cemented the mission that con-

P L AY W R I G H T S H O R I ZO N S

body of work, counting 400

tinues to guide the institution

Playwrights Horizons is dedicated to cultivating the most important American playwrights, composers, and lyricists, as well as developing and producing their bold new plays and musicals. Tim Sanford became Artistic Director in 1996 and Leslie Marcus has

writers among its artistic roster.

today. André Bishop served as

In addition to its onstage work

Artistic Director from 1981-1992.

each season, Playwrights’ sin-

Don Scardino succeeded him

gular commitment to nurturing

and served until 1996. Over its

American theater artists guides

47-year history, Playwrights has

all of the institution’s multifac-

been recognized with numerous

eted initiatives: our acclaimed

awards and honors, including six

New Works Lab, a robust com-

Pulitzer Prizes, 13 Tony Awards,

missioning program, an inno-

and 39 Obie Awards.

THE NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM Supporting artists is central to the mission of the Geffen Playhouse, and play commissions are a cornerstone of that support. To commission a playwright to write a play means making a commitment to their voice, craft and vision, with the hope of sharing the fruits of their work on our stage. The Geffen Playhouse’s New Play Development Program is made possible, in large part, through the leadership and generosity of donations from: The Edgerton Foundation, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Fay & Frank Mancuso, Sandra Krause & William Fitzgerald, Hilary & Jack Angelo and Mary Bianco, The MOCA Foundation. We are proud to have the following artists under commission: RACHEL BONDS

JIEHAE PARK

COLMAN DOMINGO

JOHN POLLONO

MICHAEL GOLAMCO

ZOE SARNAK

MEGHAN KENNEDY

ROBERT SCHENKKAN

MATTHEW LOPEZ

ERIKA SHEFFER

MARTYNA MAJOK

JEN SILVERMAN

QUI NGUYEN & VAMPIRE COWBOYS DAVID WIENER LAUREN YEE ANNA ZIEGLER

For more information on this program, please visit geffenplayhouse.org/newplays.

THE WRITERS’ ROOM A group for Los Angeles-based playwrights, The Writers’ Room is a product of the Geffen’s deep commitment to supporting new plays and specifically to fostering bold, relevant work by the vibrant artistic community of this city. During this one-year residency, playwright members gather monthly at the Geffen to share their work and receive feedback from their peers and the Geffen’s artistic staff, culminating in a play reading series. The Writers’ Room is made possible through the support of Patricia Kiernan Applegate. BONI B. ALVAREZ

INDA CRAIG-GALVÁN

RAMIZ MONSEF

CHLOÉ HUNG

JUAN JOSÉ ALFONSO

RUBY RAE SPIEGEL

For more information on this program, please visit geffenplayhouse.org/thewritersroom.

G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 1 1


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PRODUCTION STAFF FOR THE THANKSGIVING PLAY Assistant Director Carolyn Michelle Smith

Stage Supervisor Tyler Brogla

Fight Choreography Edgar Landa

Light Board Operator Brian Gowen

Assistant Scenic Designer Se Hyun Oh

Sound Board Operator Aaron Centeno

Wardrobe Supervisor Audrey Lastar

Production Assistant Bryan P. Clements

Properties Artisan Miriam Levenson

GEFFEN AT A GLANCE CONTACT Geffen Playhouse 10886 Le Conte Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90024 ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES

310.208.6500 Monday through Friday, 10:00am – 6:00pm BOX OFFICE PHONE LINE

310.208.5454 Daily, 7:00am – 6:00pm AUDIENCES SERVICES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Set Provided By Scenic Highlights

Production Photographer Jeff Lorch

Lighting Equipment Provided By Kinetic Lighting, Inc.; Future Lighting

Media Filming Ramon Garcia

Sound Equipment Provided By DnB Design

Design + Art Direction Base Design Photography Yann Rabanier

SPECIAL THANKS UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Scene, Prop, Sound and Costume Shops; London Cleaners

UCLA SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM AND TELEVISION Geffen Playhouse is affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles, specifically the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Geffen Playhouse values its role as an important educational resource by providing students with master classes, workshops and internships. Students are also able to work and learn from distinguished visiting Geffen artists such as Alan Ayckbourn, Jon Robin Baitz, Annette Bening, Ed Harris, David Ives, Neil LaBute, David Mamet, Donald Margulies, Terrence McNally, John Rando and Kathleen Turner in areas of directing, playwriting, acting, design, dramaturgy, management and production. Geffen Playhouse also draws upon the distinguished experts in the university to enhance the theater’s programs and research.

RECORDING NOTICE 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. For more information, please visit: https://shop.samuelfrench.com/content/files/pdf/piracy-whitepaper.pdf

310.208.2028 Daily, 12:00pm – 6:00pm Please visit geffenplayhouse.org for hours, parking and more information.

TICKET SERVICES The box office window is open daily from 12:00pm – 6:00pm, as well as on performance days up until 15 minutes after curtain during the run of a show. Please note: the box office window is unable to process exchanges and future sales one hour prior to curtain time on any performance day.

ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION Geffen Playhouse is fully committed to providing access to patrons with mobility, visual and hearing impairments. Parking spaces directly outside the theater are zoned for drop off and pick up, as well as disabled parking spots for patrons with appropriate placards and plates. For more information about our Accessibility services and programs, visit geffenplayhouse.org/ access or call our box office. Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund.

LATE SEATING

This theater operates under agreement between the League of Resident Theaters and Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States This theater operates under agreement between the League of Resident Theaters and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, an independent national labor union. The scenic, costume, lighting and sound designers in LORT theaters are represented by United Scenic Artists Local USA-829, IATSE.

Should you arrive late to the theater or vacate your seat during the performance, please expect to be held in the lobby until an appropriate pause in the action on stage. To minimize disturbance to other patrons, you may be seated in the first available location by the house staff even if it is different from your assigned seat. Be advised that some productions or circumstances may not allow for late or return seating.

NO PHOTOGRAPHY There is no photography or filming of any kind allowed in the theater. Please turn off all electronic devices, including cell phones.

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REVENGE SONG A VAMPIRE COWBOYS

NIGHTFALL 03.03–04.12

CREATION 02.04–03.08

BERNHARDT/ HAMLET 04.07–05.10

WN O R U O Y CREATE E & SAVE 10% PACKAG 310.208

THE ENIGMATIST 05.05–06.14

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PL AYHO

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MACBETH 06.16–07.26

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BEHIND THE SCENES Q&A

IS IT OKAY TO LAUGH?

PHOTO BY CONOR HORGAN

AN INTERVIEW WITH PLAYWRIGHT LARISSA FASTHORSE

Playwright Larissa FastHorse

BY AMY LEVINSON, GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

A M Y L E V I N S O N : What inspired you to write

the play? L A R I SSA FAS T H O RS E : I’ve written a lot of plays, and prior to The Thanksgiving Play they have almost all had Native American characters in them. I’ve been told again and again by the American theater that it’s impossible to cast Native American actors, even in cities like Los Angeles where we have the second largest urban Native population in the nation. But I also know that when my plays are produced, they do well. People are interested in these issues. So I said, alright American theater, I’m going to write you a play with four white-presenting people in one room about Native American issues, and if you can’t produce that, then the issue isn’t casting and we’ll have to talk about what real issue is. Now this play is my most depressing success. The good news is, I love the play and it says all the things I want it to say. I’m thrilled that so 1 4 P L AY B I L L

many people are seeing this play, but it is a little disturbing that I had to go about it this way. A L : While the play is undoubtedly a comedy, you are dealing with issues of marginalization. How did you establish the right tone to balance these two truths? L F : I often call it a comedy within a satire, because it is a satire but the comedic bits are the sugar that helps the medicine go down. The comedy is intentionally placed where it is to help us take a breath and relax—and it’s aimed at everybody. No one escapes. I also want us to have fun together. There’s a joke near the beginning of the play that makes the whole audience laugh together. I call it “the unifying joke.” Every night, at that moment when I hear the whole house laugh together, it’s the best feeling in the world, because live theater is the only place that can happen.


BEHIND THE SCENES Q&A A L : The play is being produced all over the country, but now you’re in your hometown. Do you have any expectations or hopes in terms of how this particular audience receives the play? L F : It’s going to be fun! While it’s intentionally not set in Los Angeles, a lot of it is about Los Angeles. As someone who has lived here most of my adult life, I know that Angelenos love to laugh at themselves. We are totally down with being the butt of the joke and even enjoy it. We did two early readings of the play here and it was great to watch Angelenos see themselves, know themselves, and laugh at it. Then there’s an uncomfortable moment of, “Should I be laughing?” Those are my favorite moments in a play, when you are laughing and then you’re not entirely sure you should be.

do on my own, and I do the same for him. Another of my favorite things about Michael John is the way he works with the performers in the room. Even when he is conducting auditions, he encourages everyone to bring their A-game in a way that isn’t obvious or aggressive. He constantly lays a path for others to do their best work, including me. A L : Can you talk a little about the interstitials that are in the play? How did you select them and where did you find them? L F : I grew up in South Dakota at the time of what was called “reconciliation” between the state and the Lakota people—who are my people. We didn’t have Columbus Day, we had Native American Day. Thanksgiving was about harvest, and it’s an agricultural state, so

“WHEN I STARTED WRITING THIS PLAY, AND REALIZED I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING UNIVERSALLY AMERICAN, I LANDED ON THANKSGIVING. BUT WHEN I STARTED DOING THE RESEARCH, I WAS HORRIFIED BY THE PAGEANTS AND SCHOOL PROGRAMS THAT PEOPLE NOT ONLY DID HISTORICALLY, BUT ARE STILL DOING TODAY.” – PLAYWRIGHT LARISSA FASTHORSE

A L : You and Michael John Garcés [director of The Thanksgiving Play] have collaborated numerous times, often in non-traditional theater settings. What do you find most rewarding about working with him? L F : I love working with Michael. Personally, he’s the big brother I never knew I needed. Professionally, we have collaboratively created three immersive theatrical pieces together with Cornerstone Theater Company. “Collaboration” can mean so many different things, but between the two of us it means working without ego. We are always pushing for the best idea in the room and open to wherever it comes from. We have very different personal backgrounds and ways of approaching theater, and that forces my work to be interrogated in ways that I can’t

that made sense. We never did pilgrims and Indians, we never did pageants or any of that. When I started writing this play, and realized I wanted to write about something universally American, I landed on Thanksgiving. But when I started doing the research for this, I was horrified by the pageants and school programs that people not only did historically, but are still doing today. I knew I had to incorporate them into the play so I created the interstitials as “inspired by” amalgamations of educational websites, teacher Pinterest boards, and parent videos. They are horrifying. It’s so important for us to remember that this is what we’re doing to children—we’re indoctrinating them into this way of thinking about Thanksgiving and history. We’re creating this false reality of

G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 1 5


BEHIND THE SCENES Q&A

what history is supposed to be, that’s based on practically nothing when you do the actual research. By the time they’re adults, they accept it as fact, without ever looking into the reality of what this holiday is and where it came from. A L : We had a life-imitates-art moment with the original poster for this show, when you received a message from someone who was offended because it was quite similar to the divisive old Massachusetts Turnpike sign from the 1980s. As a response, we decided to remove the feathers and arrows that were pierced through the pilgrim hat in the original image. We couldn’t help but recognize the irony, given the subject of your play. What were your thoughts on this situation and how do you feel about the solution that we came up with to address the concern, which was to remove any suggestion of indigenous people in the image? L F : It’s so complicated, right? I have to say Michael John and I both experienced glee that this happened to us, because this is what the play is about. We “woke” people approved the original image. Geffen included us in the design process and when we saw the art, we thought, “This is great! It’s ironic, it’s fun, it says everything.” We had no idea that we were stumbling into something that was hurtful to indigenous peoples who worked hard to get rid of that image [in Massachusetts]. Then this very gracious Indigenous woman reached out, and said, “I understand it’s art, but do you know what this image means to us?” First, of course, we all felt horrible, and she was so kind, not demanding

anything, but just saying, “Hey, you might want to know that this image causes some people pain, and we went through a lot to remove it.” Of course, the last thing any of us want to do is cause damage to Native American people—further damage. The current idea that we came to through many meetings and discussions about this—to remove the arrows from the image so there isn’t anything indigenous left—is kind of perfect in a horrible way. Institutions constantly say, “Natives issues are too hard, so we’re just not going to participate in them.” That’s what I deal with every day. I think this was a good compromise, and I love that we’re facing it head on and talking about it, and admitting that the best intentions don’t mean anything when the impact is negative. That’s really what the whole play is about. But to do something, and make a mistake, and own it, it allows us to move forward having learned something. Everybody coming into this show or going to the website is going to learn about this history, and how awesome is that? But we couldn’t have done it if you were too scared to do this play in the first place. A L : Or too scared to admit we were wrong. L F : Exactly! Or erased the image and never said anything, or left it as it was. But to be able to say, “We screwed up and now we need to find a different way forward”—that’s an incredible, wonderful opportunity that I wish more theaters, more people for that matter, would embrace. To read more about The Thanksgiving Play, visit geffenplayhouse.org/blog.

The original (left) and revised (right) poster art for The Thanksgiving Play.

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D E E N E W

R U YO RT O P P U S

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Laura D. Campbell Marlene & David Capell

Joyce & Josh Trabulus

Anthony Carbone Richard Cassese

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In Memory of Ginny Truesdale

Ling Chan

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Valerie Vetters

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Anonymous (11)

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Ioe Adler

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In Memory of Katie Layman Marla E. Levine Lawrin & Linda Lewin Robin Lewin Tracey Lewin Marcus Mancini Satah Coade Mitchell & Peter Mandell Michael N, Marks Mr. & Mrs. Phillips H. Marshall Ana & James Miles Thomas Mitchell Sue & Monty Mohrman John Moschitta Paula Moseley, EdD Bill Mullins Norma & Larry Meyers

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Dorfman Family

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The Milton L. & Betty J. Dranow Family Foundation

Cecilia Ball Mr. and Mrs. Donald Balzano

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Fran Fredella

Judy Frith-Smith Catherine Froloff Laurelle Frome & Brady Frome Gina Furth Diane Futterman Dr. Lee Gardenswartz Corinne B. Garson Patricia Geffner Leslie & Mort Gerson Seth Gettleson Charles Gherardi Linda & Tom Givvin Jill Glasband Carol & Neil Goldberg Lorain Goldberg Francine Golden & Marvin Schlossman Les Goldman Dina Goldstein Roger Gordon Howard Gradet Liz Gottainer & David Sadkin Shelley Hill Grant Madelyne Green Jana & Randall Greer Roslyn & David Grinberg Marcy & Edgar Gross Vera & Paul Guerin Beach Cities Child Development Center Kambiz & Sylvia Hakim Mary & Alan Halkett Carol & Fred Halperin Roberta & Marc Hamilton Brian & Karen Hatch Hanna Heiting

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G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 2 3


ANNUAL DONORS Jackie & Warren Jackson

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24 P L AY B I L L

Peter Romwall

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Frances & Sy Strasberg Miriam & Gene Summ Ann & Paul Sunderland Robin & David Swartz Lance & Maureen Tan Deborah Tavlin Cathy & Asher Thompson

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Travis Webb Marsha & Steven Weiss Pat West Karen White

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Barbara Vickery & Martin Shapiro

Janet Whitman Bruce Whizin

Melanie Sharp & Kevin Miller

Rae Jean Williams

George Shohet

Karen & Gary Winnick

Seymour & Dorothy Siegel

George & Diane Wolfberg

Leah Sklar

Albert Wolsky

Diane Good & Frank Smith Marcia L. & Mark J. Smith

Kimberly & Andrew Zakanych

Ronald Smith

Arnold & Tricia Zane

Karen Smits

David Zimmerman

Joan & Jerry Snyder

Laura Zucker & Alan Miller

Susan Williams

HAVE WE MADE AN ERROR?

To report a misspelling or omission in these listings, please contact the Development department at 310.208.6500 ext. 128


Matt Shakman

Gil Cates, Jr.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

ARTISTIC

Amy Levinson Associate Artistic Director Daniel Ionazzi Producer Phyllis Schuringa Artistic Associate / Casting Director Young Ji Associate Producer / Company Manager Rachel Wiegardt-Egel Manager of New Play Development Kristopher Karcher Literary & Casting Assistant Natalie Epstein Literary Intern

PRODUCTION

Isaac Katzanek Production Manager Jill Barnes Production Office Manager Evan Friedman Technical Director Patrick Squibb Assistant Technical Director Aidan Welch Assistant Technical Director Alex Norkus Gil Cates Theater Stage Supervisor Tyler Brogla Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater Stage Supervisor Rich Gilles Properties Master James Grabowski House Sound Supervisor Jake Delgado Associate House Sound Supervisor Ramine Ameli Lighting & Projection Supervisor Brandon Paul Production Electrician Brian Gowen Production Electrician Liz Rose Wardrobe Supervisor

ADMINISTRATION

Behnaz Ataee Chief Financial Officer Peter Banachowski Senior Accountant & Financial Analyst Nova George Staff Accountant & Payroll Specialist Clay Dzygun Office Coordinator Marguerite Harris Receptionist

DEVELOPMENT

Regina Miller Chief Development Officer Ellen Catania Senior Vice President of Development

Jessica Brusilow Rollins Director of Education Partnerships & Donor Relations Jamie Mikelich Director of Individual Giving Mark San Filippo Director of Donor Stewardship Christine Drew Benjamin Development Manager

EDUCATION

Celia Rivera Assistant Box Office Manager Clifton Adams, Kelsey Arlington, Vaneh Assadourian, Rebecca Connolly, Jamie Dawson, Lexy McAvinchey, Sam Peurach, Jonathan Ramos, Cameron Reck Box Office Staff Sue Fleishman Communications Consultant

Jennifer Zakkai Director of Education & Community Engagement

FRONT OF HOUSE

Joannarae Ibañez Manager of School & Community Programs

Mel Yonzon Front of House Manager

Brian Allman Manager of Theater Education Celia Rivera Community Engagement Coordinator Brian Majestic Veterans Project Coordinator Jake Arky, Darien Battle, Anniwaa Buachie, Ramy El-Etreby, Lyssa Deehan, David Guerra, Robert Paterno, Carissa Pinckney, Tara Ricasa, Celia Rivera, Jessica Winward Teaching Artists

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Patrick Brown Director of Marketing

Zenon Dmytryk Director of Communications Karen Gutierrez Director of Advertising & Audience Development Brian Dunning Director of Content & Creative Zack Hamra Associate Director of Audience Services & Ticketing Kevin O’Brien Marketing Manager Georgia Arnold Social Media & Communications Associate Ramon Garcia Video Producer Wendell Pascual Production Artist

Jeni Pearsons Director of Special Events

Amy Farkas Lead Concierge Sigourney Chin, Anya Pryjmak, Madison Shamoun House Managers Katherine Banos, Ryan Brophy, Lucas Gust, Elza Hofeld, Lucy Houlihan, Otniel Henig, Fiona Leahy, Hunter Lowden, Olivia Lowe, Robert Mahaffie, Austin Merrill, Sidne Phillips, Brandon Root, Remy Soloman, Chuck Soo-Hoo, Charmee Taylor, Caragh Tiernan, Robin Vega, Emir Yonzon Ushers Rob Mersola Bar Manager & Mixologist Adam Carr Bar Captain Manuel Mayorga Weekend Bar Manager Skylar Adams, Brenda Davidson, Sarah Drescher, Lauren Hargrave, Nick Marini, Ryan Turner Bartenders / Event Staff

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Karim Bouzzit System Administrator

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT Miguel del Castillo Facility Manager

Mario Santillan-Perez Custodial

Janice Bernal Box Office Manager

Juan Carlos Umaña Cleaning Custodial

Alyssa Tyson Box Office Manager

Camerina Martinez Cleaning Custodial

Geffen Playhouse is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. This project was also funded in part by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Geffen Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater company, is proudly affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles. G E F F E N P L AY H O U S E 2 5