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Spotlight SPRING • 2010-2011

huntingtontheatre.org

photo: Kevin Berne

Carla Duren and Pascale Armand in Ruined,winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama

IN THIS ISSUE: Ruined .................................................................2 Educating Rita ...................................................6 Sons of the Prophet ..........................................10 Richard III and The Comedy of Errors ...........14 Double Your Gift! ...............................................19

Education and Access........................................20 Huntington News ...............................................22

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the back cover for more information!


WINNER • 2009 PULITZER PRIZE FOR DRAMA

LYNN NOTTAGE

RUINED by Lynn Nottage Directed by Liesl Tommy

JANUARY 7 - FEBRUARY 6, 2011 Boston University Theatre a co-production with la jolla playhouse and berkeley repertory theatre

Liesl Tommy

Savvy business woman Mama Nadi knows how to survive in the midst of the Congo civil war: don’t take sides. She sells beers and girls to any man who’ll leave his gun at the door. The good-time atmosphere of the canteen and her sharp wits can’t always protect her and her girls from the atrocities inflicted on them, but their courage, humor, and hope live on in this gripping drama.

“ The first time I saw Ruined, I was simply unable to hold back tears. Lynn Nottage has created an astonishing, enduring piece of writing that should be seen by everyone. The play is unflinching, emotionally cathartic, and absolutely revelatory.” — Artistic Director Peter DuBois

“ SINCERE, PASSIONATE, AND COURAGEOUS, Ruined is a remarkable theatrical accomplishment. DAZZLING!” — Chicago Tribune “ AN IMMENSELY COMPELLING HUMAN DRAMA AND A PLAY YOU MUST SEE. The essential honesty of Ruined will long live in your memory.” — The Wall Street Journal “ A powerhouse drama set in the real world.” — USA Today 2


LYNN NOTTAGE

ON RUINED

I traveled to East Africa to interview Congolese women fleeing the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I was fueled by my desire to tell the story of war, but through the eyes of women, who as we know rarely start conflicts, Lynn Nottage but inevitably find themselves right smack in the middle of them. I was interested in giving voice and audience to African women living in the shadows of war.

I was surprised by the number of women who readily wanted to share their stories. One by one, through tears and in voices just above a whisper, they recounted raw, revealing stories of sexual abuse and torture at the hands of both rebel soldiers and government militias. The word rape was a painful refrain, repeated so often it made me physically sick. By the end of the interviews, I realized that a war was being fought over the bodies of women. Rape was being used as a weapon to punish and destroy communities. In listening to their narratives I came to terms with the extent to which their bodies had become battlefields.

The circumstances in the DRC are complicated; there is a slow simmering armed conflict that continues to be fought on several fronts, even though the war officially ended in 2002. You have one war being fought for natural resources between militias funded by the government and industry; you have the remnants of an ethnic war, which is the residue of the genocide in Rwanda that spilled over the border into Congo; and then you have the war that I examine in my play Ruined, which is the war being waged against women. To throw some statistics at you, according to International Rescue Committee, nearly 5.4 million people have died in that country since that conflict began; every month, 45,000 Congolese people die from hunger, preventable disease, and violence related to war. The fact is the war in the Congo is the deadliest conflict since World War II. It is sometimes called World War III, because of the international interests that fuel the conflict in order to exploit the land, which is rich in minerals such as gold, coltan, copper, and diamonds.

I remember the strong visceral response that I had to the very first Congolese woman who shared her story. Her name was Salima, and she related her story in such graphic detail that I remember wanting to cry out for her to stop, but I knew that she had a need to be heard. She’d walked miles from her refugee camp to share her story with a willing listener. Salima described being dragged from her home, arrested, and wrongfully imprisoned by men seeking to arrest her husband. In prison she was beaten and raped by five soldiers. She finally bribed her way out of prison, only to discover that her husband and two of her four children were abducted. At the time of the interview she had still not learned the whereabouts of her husband and two children. I found my play Ruined in the painful narratives of Salima and the other Congolese women, in their gentle cadences and the monumental space between their gasps and sighs. I also found my play in the way they occasionally accessed their smiles, as if glimpsing beyond their wounds into the future.

In 2004, I went to East Africa to collect the narratives of Congolese women, because I knew their stories weren’t being heard. I had no idea what play I would find in that war-torn landscape, but I traveled to the region because I wanted to paint a three-dimensional portrait of the women caught in the middle of armed conflicts; I wanted to understand who they were beyond their status as victims.

In Ruined, Mama Nadi gives three young women refuge and an unsavory means of survival. As such, the women do a fragile dance between hope and disillusionment in an attempt to navigate life on the edge of an unforgiving conflict. My play is not about victims, but survivors. Ruined is also the story of the Congo. A country blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and resources, which has been its blessing and its curse.

SIX YEARS AGO,

AT TOP: A Congolese woman and child

— Reprinted with permission of the author and Almeida Theatre Company

learn more online: Visit the Learn & Explore section of huntingtontheatre.org/ruined to view an audio slide show, hear music from the production, and watch an interview with director Liesl Tommy.

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THE MUSIC OF RUINED Music can be incorporated into a play for a variety of reasons: to set the tone of a particular scene, to give performances a rich, emotional underscoring, or to give audiences a sharper look at the setting of a particular play. For Ruined, Lynn Nottage wrote several songs to be performed by the girls in Mama Nadi’s bar accompanied by a two-person band of guitar and drums. Introducing song in this way creates an authentic musical atmosphere and enhances the already vibrant world of the play.

AARON MEICHT,

who composed and arranged the music for the Huntington production, strove for authenticity. African music has a unique and diverse sound, rich with influences from musical styles ranging from American jazz to tribal sounds of traditional African music. Meicht notes, “We wanted to give audiences a picture of real Central African music. Often a generic ‘African’ sound stands in for theatre music. This is always a let-down. The greatness of the musical tradition in Africa really comes from the incredible diversity. We have tried to use the research to give a foundation for the performers to explore.”

Soji Odukogbe, the guitarist for this production, is originally from Nigeria and has expertise in different styles of African guitar. His knowledge of the Soukous style of Congolese music was invaluable in creating an authentic sound. Soukous, a derivative of the French word secousse, meaning shake, is a genre of dance music that originated in Belgian Congo and French Congo during the 1930s and has gained popularity throughout Africa. Composer Aaron Meicht

With just two people, Meicht and his musicians are able to create a surprisingly varied sound. One musician plays the electric guitar, and the other performs on a makeshift percussion set, designed in collaboration with Meicht and the percussionist. “I have encouraged the percussionist to develop his own setup,” says Meicht. “We accomplish this by looking at the research, discussing the options and then, really, just letting imaginations run.” The biggest difference in music from production to production, Meicht notes, is the percussion because of how much freedom he encourages each drummer to have while building his drum set. The percussion setup for this production includes a Makuta drum, a traditional instrument from Central Africa; a bass drum made from a rubber trash can; various cymbals; and a few shakers.

Along with Daniel Baker, his partner in Broken Chord Collective, Meicht also creates the sound design for the production. They incorporate sounds of the jungle — birds, monkeys, the rain — to create an appropriate atmosphere, but also to make a musical environment that blends into and supports the sound of the band. The actors are also crucial to creating a unique sound for each production. “The songs I wrote stay pretty much intact formally,” notes Meicht, “However, the interpretations of the musicians and singers bring new life to each song.” There are two characters that sing in the show — Sophie and Mama Nadi — their songs are different in style, and each actress has a unique way of singing. “Finding the sound of the song through the development of the character is how the music becomes so integrated,” says Meicht, and that integration helps add an exciting and engaging element to Lynn Nottage’s already thrilling play. — Chris Carcione

AT TOP: Carla Duren (as Sophie) sings with musicians Adesoji Odukogbe (guitar) and Alvin Terry (drums) in Ruined; photo: Kevin Berne

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Ruined performance calendar

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On October 17, 2010 thousands of women, led by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s First Lady, marched into the town of Bukavu, one of the country’s most intense conflict areas where 303 women were raped in nearby villages between July 30 and August 2. With increased international awareness and advocacy by women’s and human rights groups, the tide has perhaps begun to turn. — Reprinted with permission of La Jolla Playhouse

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Listed events are FREE with the purchase of a ticket.

(•) POST-SHOW CONVERSATIONS • Following most performances, our post-show audience conversations will be co-facilitated by local scholars, aid workers, journalists, and other experts on the issues featured in the play. Speakers include: (°) 35 BELOW POST-SHOW • Régine Michelle Jean-Charles, author of “Battles on Bodies: Staging Rape and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Ruined” (Jan. 7). Young professionals aged 21-35 are invited to continue the conversation in the lower lobby following this discussion. JOCELYN KELLY, Women in War Research Coordinator, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (Feb. 1 and Feb. 4) Visit huntingtontheatre.org/ruined for a complete schedule. Δ

Consequences for victims of sexual violence in the Congo are grave. Stigmatized by chronic medical and psychological problems due to brutal beatings, genital and bodily mutilation, life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS, forced pregnancy, and infertility, they face rejection by their husbands, families, and communities. Women and girls in refugee camps are often regarded as common sexual property and are forced into prostitution in exchange for food, documents, or refugee status. Though some are able to find their way into hospitals or safe havens established by women’s rights groups, little has been done to control the extent of the violence.

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Despite the official end of the Congo wars in 2002, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was recently named by a UN official as the “Rape Capital of the World.” Over 200,000 women have been raped and they are still not safe. It is well documented that, throughout history, rape has been used as a weapon of war to break the will of a people. In more recent history, similar strategies were used in East Timor, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, and Algeria. Rape in the DRC, however, is not considered just a military tactic. Soldiers from all sides of the Congo conflict have stated that rape and sexual slavery are their entitlement. Young girls to elderly women are considered the spoils of war. Recent reports have begun to include sexual brutality toward men and boys as well. Soldiers have been allowed to brutalize with impunity, and few have been prosecuted.

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( ) OUT AND ABOUT CLUB • A post-show party for GLBT audience members. Use code OUT to purchase discounted tickets to this performance online. (@) ASL-INTERPRETED • For Deaf and hard-of-hearing audience members. Call 617 273-1558 for more information. (~) AUDIO-DESCRIBED • For blind and low-visioned audience members. Call 617 273-1558 for more information. (SM) STUDENT MATINEE • For groups of students in grades 8-12. Call 617 273-1558 for more information. (d) ACTORS FORUM • Participating members of the cast answer your questions following the performance. (h) HUMANITIES FORUM • A post-performance talk on the historical and literary context of the show featuring a leading local scholar.

Tickets: $25 - $89 35 Below: $25 for those 35 and under Student Rush: $15 for full-time college students, available 2 hours before curtain (valid ID required) Subscribers receive $10 off any additional tickets purchased. Prices include a $2/ticket Capital Enhancement fee. Tonye Patano (as Mama Nadi) in Ruined; photo: Kevin Berne

Call 617 266-0800 or visit huntingtontheatre.org

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OLIVIER AWARD WINNER FOR BEST COMEDY

WILLY RUSSELL

EDUCATING

RITA

by Willy Russell Directed by Maria Aitken

MARCH 11 - APRIL 10, 2011 Boston University Theatre Maria Aitken

Rita, a young, brash hairdresser, wants more out of life. With a newly discovered passion for English literature, she enrolls in the local university and meets her tutor, Frank, a middle-aged poet and professor. Her fresh, unschooled reactions to the classics cause him to question his own understanding of his work and himself in this warm and witty tale of self-discovery by Willy Russell (Shirley Valentine, Blood Brothers).

“Re-discovering Educating Rita was a delight. I found the play as intelligent, surprising, and funny as ever — its warmth and sense of self-discovery radiates. In a city celebrated for its centers of learning, I expect the play to pop with particular meaning.” — Artistic Director Peter DuBois

“A TRULY GREAT PLAY! Willy Russell is a writer of genuine nobility of spirit, with a rare gift for empathy, observation, and sheer humanity.” — London Telegraph

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WILLY RUSSELL, LIVERPOOL, & CULTURE “ Frank, y’ know culture, y’ know the word culture? Well it doesn’t just mean goin’ to the opera an’ that, does it? … It means a way of livin’, doesn’t it? Well we’ve got no culture.”

PLAYWRIGHT WILLY RUSSELL

young woman of limited education, saying “I’ve been realizin’ for ages that I was, y’know, slightly out of step ... See I don’t wanna baby yet. See, I wanna discover meself first.” When her tutor, Frank, asks what she wants to learn she tells him, “Everything!” which betrays both her naiveté and her charming idealism.

grew up in the most influential culture of the 20th century just as it was about to explode: working class Liverpool. In his teens, he attended The Beatles’ gigs at the Cavern Club, and for the first time in his young life and arguably in history, young men with Scouse accents were the best, most legitimate artists in the world. It wasn’t just The Beatles. By the late 1960s and early ’70s, a troupe of actors coming out of Liverpool Polytechnic joined up with theatre director John Dosser at the Liverpool Everyman. Instantly one of the most vibrant theatres in the world, its company at the time included Jonathan Pryce, Julie Walters, Anthony Sher, and Bill Nighy. And, the most enduring plays from that era are Russell’s.

Rita’s culture is also her biggest strength. It lends her an authenticity that Frank cannot resist. Expecting to be bored by “some silly woman’s attempts to get into the mind of Henry James …,” he gets bowled over by a vibrant, attractive, mature student who is fairly bursting with life, perspective, and lived experience. Frank himself is a creature of a unique British culture: the pub. Russell often emphasizes that Frank is not an alcoholic; he is a “boozer.” At this time, men did most of their socializing, politicking, and philosophizing down at the pub. Both Frank and Rita go through changes that mean giving up their respective cultures, and the play does not shrink from acknowledging what it costs them even though it is positive change.

Willy Russell’s plays, particularly Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, and the musical Blood Brothers, have been in production nearly continuously since their premieres. Russell’s style is escapist in that the plays are funny and the characters are relatable. Blood Brothers is a heartily satisfying melodrama and Shirley Valentine is a one-character comedy, but Educating Rita is something a bit more complex. All Russell’s plays are steeped in a very specific culture; but in Rita, 1970s workingclass Liverpool is perhaps the most important off-stage character and Rita’s biggest obstacle. Rita is self-aware enough to realize she needs more than the culture affords her as a

About the play, Russell says, “it was celebrating academic life and celebrating her enthusiasm and [exploring] how the idea of expansion of oneself and fulfillment of oneself through education can be completely exhilarating, but there are many potential pitfalls.” Rita and Frank’s friendship is one of true regard for another, and Russell insists that their love is not primarily romantic. That, of course, is why the play has endured: on the strengths of its own enthusiasm for the ideas of expansion, fulfillment, and true regard for others. — Lisa Timmel

AT TOP: Liverpool ca. 1973; photo: Bernard Rose • Julie Walters and Michael Caine in the 1983 film adaptation of Educating Rita

learn more online: Visit the Learn & Explore section of huntingtontheatre.org/rita to watch a clip from the film Educating Rita starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters.

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AN INTERVIEW WITH

MARIA AITKEN Tony Award-nominated British director Maria Aitken returns to the Huntington this spring to direct Educating Rita. After its U.S. premiere at the Huntington in 2007, her production of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps continued to Broadway and will conclude a tremendously successful Off Broadway run in January. She is also an acclaimed teacher of High Comedy and an actress, having appeared in more Noël Coward plays in London’s West End than any other performer. (She is also remembered by many for her role as John Cleese’s wife in A Fish Called Wanda.) Aitken spoke with Artistic Professional Intern Vicki Schairer about her career and preparing for Educating Rita. Everyone here is excited to have you back at the Huntington. What made you decide to come back? Because I had such a good time here doing The 39 Steps and I have complete confidence in the backstage and administrative workings of the place. I also like good old-fashioned proscenium theatres with a loyal audience! In fact, I might not have bothered to re-read Educating Rita if the invitation hadn’t come from the Huntington. I had forgotten what a good play it is. The film undermined it for me. You have worked extensively both in England and the U.S. What are the differences between working in the two countries? Do you have any stories about “culture shock” over the course of your career? People who work in the theatre have a shared ethos that is a country of its own. But, if pressed, I’ll admit I’ve come to think that American actors are more disciplined and willing. Of course, there are some extraordinary British actors, but it’s a myth that we have the edge over Americans. The only culture shock I’ve had has been over the union demands of some of the Broadway stagehands. [For The 39 Steps,] a crew of five in London was represented by a crew of 14 in New York. This may strangle straight plays in New York in the end. AT TOP: Arnie Burton, Cliff Saunders, and Charles Edwards in Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps at the Huntington; photo: T. Charles Erickson

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What do you look for in a play as a director? I have no rules — my response is always physical — I “see” it and “hear” it as I read. If I don’t, then I have nothing to offer. Recently, I have done either plays with the complexity of conjuring tricks or plays with huge casts. With Rita, the joy and simplicity of two people and one set was very alluring. No tricks, all back to basics. What is your favorite part of the directing process? The rehearsal process, working in a room, has always been my favorite part, both as actress and director. As an actress, I wouldn’t have cared if the curtain had never gone up, and as a director I hate leaving the family to become a voice in the dark in the auditorium during the tech part. But I do now feel pride in the actors when the play is running and I am largely superfluous. When I first directed, I loathed that cut-off from them, because I had always been part of a company as an actor. What creative tools are you employing to develop your approach to Educating Rita? One advantage I bring is my nationality and my clear memory of this period in education in Britain. So I will bring the actors some novels of the period set in Northern universities and some film clips — and they may have to put up with some anecdotes about my own teachers at Oxford. •


Educating Rita performance calendar

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READING WITH RITA

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(Listed events are FREE with the purchase of a ticket.)

Audiences are not expected to have read the works discussed; Russell’s focus is always on the characters. But, for the curious, here is a list of the books and poems that Rita and Frank read, discuss, and rediscover.

(•) POST-SHOW CONVERSATIONS • Join us for dynamic post-show conversations with fellow audience members and Huntington staff after most every performance (except select Saturday and Sunday evenings). Δ

In Willy Russell’s contemporary classic Educating Rita, a hairdresser with a thirst for knowledge enrolls in a course at a university in northern England. When they first meet, Frank, Rita’s burnt-out, alcoholic professor, quickly understands that she is no ordinary student. Over the weeks the two meet, Frank introduces Rita to the classics, while Rita teaches Frank about pop novels. Through their eclectic reading list, a bond is formed.

( ) OUT AND ABOUT CLUB • A post-show party for GLBT audience members. Use code OUT to purchase discounted tickets to this performance online. (SM) STUDENT MATINEE • For groups of students in grades 8-12. Call 617 273-1558 for more information. (d) ACTORS FORUM • Participating members of the cast answer your questions following the performance.

NOVELS Rubyfruit Jungle • by Rita Mae Brown Howards End • by E.M. Forster

(h) HUMANITIES FORUM • A post-performance talk on the historical and literary context of the show featuring a leading local scholar.

Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterly’s Lover • by D.H. Lawrence Of Human Bondage • by W. Somerset Maugham* A Stone for Danny Fisher • by Harold Robbins Frankenstein • by Mary Shelley*

PLAYS The Seagull • by Anton Chekov Peer Gynt • by Henrik Ibsen Macbeth • by William Shakespeare The Importance of Being Earnest • by Oscar Wilde*

Tickets: $25 - $89

POEMS

35 Below: $25 for those 35 and under

Songs of Innocence and Experience: “The Sick Rose” and “The Blossom” • by William Blake “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” • by T.S. Eliot

Student Rush: $15 for full-time college students, available 2 hours before curtain (valid ID required)

*

Subscribers receive $10 off any additional tickets purchased.

“Funny Sort of Bloke” • by Roger McGough “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” • by Dylan Thomas “The Wild Swans at Coole” • by William Butler Yeats *

*

Prices include a $2/ticket Capital Enhancement fee.

Call 617 266-0800 or visit huntingtontheatre.org

Titles marked with an asterisk are mentioned in passing.

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SONS

STEPHEN KARAM

OF THE

WORLD PREMIERE

PROPHET by Stephen Karam Directed by Peter DuBois

APRIL 1 - MAY 1, 2011 Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA commissioned and produced by special arrangement with roundabout theatre company

Peter DuBois

Charles and Joseph are having one hell of a year. When a prank-gone-wrong in the small town of Nazareth, PA leads to the death of their father, the two brothers struggle with their health, livelihoods, and sanity as a series of unfortunate events spiral into operatic miseries. In an age where most people look to faith, finances, or even modern medicine to solve any unpleasantries in life, Sons of the Prophet takes a brutally funny look at unresolved chronic pain and the many ways we cope with the overwhelming.

“ The depth of feeling in Stephen Karam’s writing is ravishing. His play is fresh, bracing, and alive. He takes the mess of our lives and turns it into phenomenal comedy.” — Artistic Director Peter DuBois

“ Stephen Karam comes through as a writer whose voice is clear and laugh-out-loud funny.” — NY Daily News

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FIERCELY FUNNY:

STEPHEN KARAM’S SONS OF THE PROPHET “The truest, darkest thing is also the funniest,” playwright Stephen Karam says of the sharp, surprising humor of his new play, Sons of the Prophet. “Comedy that is rooted in real emotions and real problems is the only kind of humor I’m interested in writing.” As he riffs with improbable wit on subjects from chronic pain to grief to the inhumanity of healthcare, he isn’t interested in just the laugh. He looks for the honesty behind it, smartly mixing the deeply personal with the culturally specific.

K

ARAM’S LAST PLAY, Speech & Debate, followed a cadre of outsiders at a high school rocked by a sex scandal, blending the horror of adolescence with its hilarity. It was a breakout hit that became 2009’s most produced American play. In a trait shared by much of Karam’s work, the play was inspired by a true story. “With both Speech & Debate and Sons of the Prophet, I originally thought I was writing about a real event,” Karam tells, “but the event became the spark for an entirely separate fictional play.”

Pennsylvania,” Karam tells. “My upbringing felt very normal and unexceptional. I surprised myself when the texture and the feel of that area seeped into the play.”

As the story unfolds, Joseph, almost thirty, is asked to open up about his father by everyone from his eccentric, intrusive boss to a handsome, charismatic reporter. Joseph is more focused on holding his family together and finding answers about Sarah Steele in Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2007 world the phantom pains that have ended premiere production of Speech & Debate; photo: Joan Marcus. his athletic career. “It sounds like a nightmare, but you have to trust This time, Karam was transfixed the audience to go on this ride,” Karam says of his characters’ by the story of a prank gone wrong. A group of high school potentially bleak lives. “This play looks at very specific things students in Kenton, Ohio set a deer decoy in the middle of that you would think most people wouldn’t cling to. But the road, causing an injurious car wreck. The teens had their through this narrow focus and specificity, you become able to sentences delayed as it was football season and the boys were reach a wide range of people.” the star players. The judge famously said at their sentencing, “I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m going to,” a quotation that When pressures mount, Joseph finds himself torn between a Karam includes as an epigraph. family tradition of privacy and society’s desire to hear him bare the truth. Sons of the Prophet bravely questions who we let in on In Karam’s fictional universe, the prank’s victim dies soon the unsolvable mess of our lives — our families, our friends, our after the car accident, and his two sons, Joseph and Charles, bosses, our lovers — and asks if sharing pain, and even laughing are left to care for their aging uncle, a devout Maronite. Sons of about it, can be an affirmation. “We all come to theatre for the the Prophet is not autobiographical, but the characters’ religion blood and guts,” Karam believes. “If you don’t get sucked in, and the play’s setting echo Karam’s own past. “I grew up don’t you leave feeling undernourished? Your heart has to be Maronite Catholic — sort of the Lebanese equivalent of Roman in it.” Catholicism with Arabic and incense — in West Scranton, — Charles Haugland AT TOP: Playwright Stephen Karam and Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois

learn more online: Visit the Learn & Explore section of huntingtontheatre.org/sons to read an interview with playwright Stephen Karam and to read sections from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.

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THE EVOLUTION OF A DESIGNER:

TALKING WITH ANNA LOUIZOS

Anna Louizos is a Tony Award-nominated scenic designer whose memorable designs are informed by her varied experience in theatre, the narrative of the play, and the rehearsal process.

“I STARTED OUT WANTING TO BE

AN ACTOR,” Louizos says. “But I always had a broader interest in the entire production. I wanted to be on stage, but there was something very appealing about having a greater influence rather than just playing a role.” She trained in acting at New York University before her proficiency in drawing and painting naturally led her to scenic design, which allowed her to be more active in the production process. For five years, Louizos assisted established scenic designers before deciding to attend graduate school for an M.F.A. in set design.

seems to have one foot in the culture of the people of his generation and younger, and yet he’s got another foot in a more established literary tradition. His writing appeals to both young people and much older. He has the ability to grasp something in his characters and in his situations that resonate with people of all ages.”

Karam’s work is finely crafted, and Louizos likes to learn the play inside and out in the early stages of her process. She and director Peter DuBois have begun conversations that Scenic designer Anna Louizos are guided by the play itself. “We’re taking a focused but slow and deliberate stroll around the play. The more we discuss it, we spiral down to its core,” she shares. As an assistant, Louizos learned that scenic design is more than “Our conversations spark ideas in both of us.” Louizos takes a just a backdrop to the action of a play. “It was a gradual growth, full view of the play, and the process of creating it, taking into finding my way in to how to make a play work,” Louizos says account the influence that design and direction have on a new of her years assisting. “I learned how the design could really piece. By taking the time to find the story, and designing a set enhance the telling of the story, and that sometimes it could that drives that story forward, she hopes to create an impression hinder the story depending on how the approach is made.” on both audiences and future productions. Louizos has brought her expertise to the Broadway stagings “You have an opportunity to create an impression that could of In the Heights and Avenue Q, in addition to countless Off become indelible,” she says of designing new work. “If the Broadway and regional productions. This is the second time she combination of design, performance, and direction are in has taken on a new play by Stephen Karam, having previously sync, it can help create an impression on people that lasts for a designed the 2007 production of Karam’s Speech & Debate at long time.” Roundabout Theatre Company. Louizos is attracted to Karam’s — Cheyenne Postell ability to speak to a variety of audiences and says, “Stephen

AT TOP: The model for Anna Louizos’ 2008 Tony Award-nominated set design for In The Heights

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Sons of the Prophet

KAHLIL GIBRAN AND THE PROPHET

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“You are far, far greater than you know, and all is well.”

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The fictional characters in Karam’s play are distant relatives of Gibran, and though they are several generations removed from the immigrant experience, the poet’s legacy is touched on. The Prophet remains his best-known work, often still subject to debate. “You can find the book in almost everyone’s home (or on top of your neighbors’ toilets as I’ve often discovered),” Karam shares. “For people all over the world, it’s sort of Life’s Little Instruction Book with a religious twist. Nauseating to some, awe-inspiring to others.” Gibran’s work, structured as a series of teachings by an enlightened wise man, touches on topics from friendship to teaching to marriage. The Prophet is at its most resonant perhaps though in its discussion of loss and joy. “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked,” Gibran wrote, perhaps of his own experience of losing many family members at a young age. “And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. / And how else can it be? / The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” — Charles Haugland

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(Listed events are FREE with the purchase of a ticket.)

(•) POST-SHOW CONVERSATIONS • Join us for dynamic post-show conversations with fellow audience members and Huntington staff after most every performance (except select Saturday and Sunday evenings). (°) 35 BELOW WRAP PARTY • A special evening for young professionals aged 21-35 complete with a post-show party. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/35below for more information. Δ

The title of playwright Stephen Karam’s new play Sons of the Prophet contains a reference to Kahlil Gibran’s mystical book of poetry The Prophet, one of the best-selling volumes of verse ever. “To any Lebanese-American family, Gibran represents a special kind of success,” playwright Stephen Karam explains of the significance of Gibran to the family in his play. “My grandfather, like Gibran, was born in Lebanon and came to the U.S. in search of building a more stable life and legacy for his family. Of course most people don’t know (or care) about Gibran the man or his origins.”

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( ) OUT AND ABOUT CLUB • A post-show party for GLBT audience members. Use code OUT to purchase discounted tickets to this performance online. (SM) STUDENT MATINEE • For groups of students in grades 8-12. Call 617 273-1558 for more information. (d) ACTORS FORUM • Participating members of the cast answer your questions following the performance. (h) HUMANITIES FORUM • A post-performance talk on the historical and literary context of the show featuring a leading local scholar.

Tickets: $25 - $65 35 Below: $25 for those 35 and under Student Rush: $15 for full-time college students, available 2 hours before curtain (valid ID required) Subscribers receive $10 off any additional tickets purchased. Prices include a $2/ticket Capital Enhancement fee. Gibran’s family lived in Boston’s South End at the turn of the 20th century when the neighborhood was rich with Lebanese immigrants. Though Gibran left Boston in 1912, Copley Square is home to a monument to the poet and philosopher.

Call 617 266-0800 or visit huntingtontheatre.org 13


SHAKESPEARE IN REPERTORY

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

RICHARD III AND THE COMEDY OF ERRORS by William Shakespeare Directed by Edward Hall

MAY 18 - JUNE 19, 2011 Boston University Theatre propeller theatre company presented in association with boston university’s school of theatre

Edward Hall

Experience Shakespeare as never before when the internationally acclaimed Propeller Theatre Company leaps from England onto a Boston stage for the first time. One set of actors presents two productions in ambitious alternating repertory: In Richard III, director Edward Hall and his British cast bring a great villain to unsparing life. The company shows off their trademark mischievous wit in The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s most farcical comedy. A rigorous approach to classic text mixes with dynamic physicality and modern flair in the all-male Propeller productions, the theatrical event of the season.

“Edward Hall’s production of Two Men of Florence was such a monumental experience for all of us my first season, and I’m delighted now to bring his dynamic company to Boston. Propeller’s actors are incomparably talented — they hit the darkest notes of the drama and the antic shenanigans of the comedy. These productions are not to be missed.” — Artistic Director Peter DuBois

“ The daring, the dazzle, and the pure craft of this company is absolutely exhilarating.” — The New York Times

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“We want to rediscover Shakespeare simply by doing the plays as we believe they should be done, with great clarity, speed, and full of as much imagination in the staging as possible.” – Propeller Artistic Director Edward Hall

SEEING SHAKESPEARE AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME:

PROPELLER THEATRE COMPANY REDISCOVERS THE BARD For the international tour that brings them to the Huntington, Propeller will be doing two works — Richard III and The Comedy of Errors — on alternating nights with the same cast of fourteen actors. The actor who plays Lady Anne in Richard III one night may play Dromio in The Comedy of Errors the next. A set used for a bloody battle transforms into a scene for frolicking. The actors, many of whom are multi-talented musicians, underscore the action throughout both plays. In the centuries since Shakespeare wrote his plays, his characters have been explored as melodramatic heroes and villains, as avant-garde constructs, and most often in the past century, through the lens of psychological realism as naturalistic human beings. Propeller Theatre Company — from its eclectic designs to its physically demanding stagings — was designed to break through the stultifying influence of naturalism on Shakespeare interpretations in recent years. The company’s artistic director Edward Hall (who also directed the 2009 Huntington production of Two Men of Florence) throws out all contemporary assumptions about how Shakespeare should be done. “We don’t want to make the plays ‘accessible,’ as this implies that they need dumbing down in order to be understood,” Hall says. Though he consciously hopes that audiences will understand their performances throughout, Hall believes Shakespeare consciously wrote for two audiences at the same time: the Court and the groundlings. One was highly schooled, able to follow the most complicated passages of verse, the other was illiterate and uneducated.

Hall’s approach echoes this duality in Shakespeare’s plays. The company brings a rigorous approach to text, spending as many as five days of rehearsal in table work as a company, teasing apart the most complicated speeches. When the actors get on their feet, though, Hall encourages his company to physically explore the plays, and they regularly find themselves leaping, jumping, and chasing each other around the stage in testosterone-fueled frenzy. (Like Shakespeare’s own company, all of Hall’s actors are men.) “As directed by Edward Hall, the Propeller Company specializes in knuckle-duster Shakespeare that digs for the harshness beneath the lyricism,” writes Ben Brantley in The New York Times, describing Propeller’s performances as “funny, antic, bawdy.” Casting men as women is one of Hall’s strategies to reclaim the theatricality of Shakespeare, though he believes the process for the actor is less radical than some might think. With any role, he explains, “you have to play the character first. If you’re playing Hamlet or you’re playing a woman, the act of acting is exactly the same. You’re casting yourself into somebody’s shoes who is not you.” The smart, practical approach to the actors’ gender switching has become many critics’ favorite aspect of Propeller productions. “Propeller plumbed the lines of the female characters for their dignity, their strength, and their intelligence. All were played for their grit and strength,” Jane Collins writes for Shakespeare Bulletin. “Propeller’s women came closer to my conception of these characters than I have seen in productions done with actresses. This is a great irony. My favorite Shakespearean actresses have hairy chests and receding hairlines. Alas.” — Charles Haugland

AT TOP: Edward Hall; photo: Helen Maybanks

learn more online: Visit the On The Blog section of huntingtontheatre.org/propeller to read dispatches from Propeller’s actors, currently on tour in the UK and US.

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ADAPTING RICHARD III AND THE COMEDY OF ERRORS:

A NOTE FROM ROGER WARREN Any production of Shakespeare is only as good as its adaptation. Shakespeare plays are rarely performed in their entirety, and for Propeller productions, director Edward Hall works with co-adaptor Roger Warren to approach the plays with a sophisticated historical and literary perspective. The following is an excerpt of a note from Warren on the sources and stories of this season’s Propeller productions. The two plays presented by Propeller this season are at once closely linked and sharply contrasted. Both belong to the outset of Shakespeare’s career. Richard III was probably written in 1592, immediately after the Henry VI trilogy (1591-1592). The Comedy of Errors was performed, presumably by Shakespeare’s company, at Gray’s Inn on December 28, 1594. The Comedy of Errors used to be regarded as an even earlier work, perhaps written for local performance before he left Stratford, but this view reflected a low estimate of the play, and modern performances have shown it to be a brilliant piece of theatrical mechanism. It is hard to see how this could have been achieved without the experience of working in the professional theatre. ON RICHARD III The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest play, Richard III his longest, apart from Hamlet. (It has been radically shortened for this production.) And, of course, the subject matter is quite different: The Comedy of Errors is a comedy of mistaken identity, Richard the culmination of Shakespeare’s dramatization of the Wars of the Roses which he had begun in the three parts of Henry VI. It has, therefore, two main focus points: it concludes the story of those wars, and presents a full-length portrayal of Richard himself. These two aspects are indissolubly linked. The characters constantly refer back to events of the past, especially to Queen Margaret’s ritual slaughter of Richard’s father York

and his young brother Rutland, and to Richard’s (and his brothers’) murder of Margaret’s son at the battle of Tewkesbury, which saw the final defeat of Henry VI, Margaret, and the House of Lancaster. There is a strong sense of the past coming home to roost. One by one characters reap what they have sown; and while some of them blame or curse Richard, he embodies in himself what they have been: he is the inevitable outcome of their destructive violence. Richard is apparently a classic image of villainy, symbolised by his (unhistorical) deformity: a crippled mind in a disabled body. Yet he is not only the centre of dramatic vitality, he is also charming, sympathetic even, as the ‘virtuous’ characters who oppose him are not: from his celebrated opening speech, his candour about his aims lures the audience into complicity with him: we become his accomplices in his bid to seize power. Truthful to us, he exposes, with great sophistication, the vanity and hypocrisy of the political and social world. ON THE COMEDY OF ERRORS Shakespeare treats his main source for The Comedy of Errors — the Menaechmi by the classical dramatist Plautus — in an entirely personal way. His interest in this play may be traced to his schooldays. The main concern of Elizabethan schools was the teaching of Latin, and in pursuit of this aim, pupils

AT TOP: Propeller Theatre Company in Richard III (l-r): The company; Richard Clothier (King Richard); Chris Myles (Buckingham); Thomas Padden (Hastings), Robert Hands (King Edward), and Kelsey Brookfield (Rivers) • photos: Manuel Harlan

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Richard III / The Comedy of Errors performance calendar

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(Listed events are FREE with the purchase of a ticket.)

(•) POST-SHOW CONVERSATIONS • Join us for dynamic post-show conversations with fellow audience members and Huntington staff after most every performance (except select Saturday and Sunday evenings). (°) 35 BELOW WRAP PARTY • A special evening for young professionals aged 21-35 complete with a post-show party. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/35below for more information. Δ

The Comedy of Errors is technically a farce, but one of the most interesting aspects of farce is how painful it often is, how often the audience is invited to laugh at other people’s misfortunes, as in the repeated beating of the Dromios or Adriana’s sense of marital betrayal. But again, Shakespeare has it both ways: the scene in which Adriana pours out her resentment to the wrong Antipholus is a perfect example of comedy of mistaking, but at the same time we feel for her in her unhappiness. The distance that Shakespeare has travelled from his rather inhuman Plautine model [can be seen] most obviously in the final scene. In Menaechmi, the equivalent of Antipholus of Ephesus offers his wife for sale; The Comedy of Errors ends with the warmth and reconciliation of a multiple family reunion. •

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Still more significant, he introduced an element of romance into the mistakings, in the wooing of Luciana by Antipholus of Syracuse, where the language looks forward to his later comedies, and connects with his own love poetry in the Sonnets. Antipholus calls Luciana ‘mine own self’s better part,’ a phrase which echoes Shakespeare’s calling his lover ‘the better part of me’ in Sonnets 39 and 74. His interest in twins, both here and in Twelfth Night, may also derive from personal considerations. He was the father of twins, and this may have informed Antipholus of Syracuse’s sense of loss and of personal disorientation when separated from his twin.

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were allowed to perform Latin plays, including the Menaechmi. Shakespeare may well have got to know the play by acting in it. But he made substantial changes. To begin with, he gave the twin masters of the Menaechmi twin servants, thus doubling the potential for confusions and mistaking. Then he moved the setting from Epidamnum to Ephesus, which was famous — or notorious — in the ancient world, and in the Bible, as a center of witchcraft, so that Antipholus of Syracuse half-expects strange things to happen to him.

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( ) OUT AND ABOUT CLUB • A post-show party for GLBT audience members. Use code OUT to purchase discounted tickets to this performance online. (SM) STUDENT MATINEE • For groups of students in grades 8-12. Call 617 273-1558 for more information. (d) ACTORS FORUM • Participating members of the cast answer your questions following the performance. (h) HUMANITIES FORUM • A post-performance talk on the historical and literary context of the show featuring a leading local scholar.

Tickets: $25 - $89 35 Below: $25 for those 35 and under Student Rush: $15 for full-time college students, available 2 hours before curtain (valid ID required) Subscribers receive $10 off any additional tickets purchased.

learn more online: Visit huntingtontheatre.org/propeller for Roger Warren’s complete text, and watch an audio slide show of Richard III.

Prices include a $2/ticket Capital Enhancement fee.

Call 617 266-0800 or visit huntingtontheatre.org 17


IN

DEVELOPMENT

SPOTLIGHT ON

BANK OF AMERICA Extraordinary programs demand extraordinary partners, and the Huntington is proud to recognize Bank of America as our Education and Access Partner. Thanks to its generous investment, Bank of America helps the Huntington engage the imaginations, inspire the creativity, and encourage the involvement of more than 20,000 students and adults each year through unique education and accessibility programs that are recognized locally, regionally, and nationally. Bank of America helps provide the Huntington with the resources that it needs to: • reduce barriers to community participation — economic, physical, or otherwise — in our acclaimed productions; • empower young people to explore their own artistic talents through acting and playwriting; • develop innovative tools to help educators use theatre to improve teaching methods and students’ learning; and • sustain theatre as a meaningful part of our cultural life by helping to bring to the theatre those who would not normally be able to attend. Bank of America has a longstanding history of support of the Huntington and of thousands of arts and cultural organizations in Greater Boston, in New England, throughout the United States, and increasingly internationally. Its support is built on a foundation of responsible business practices and good corporate citizenship that improves access to the arts and arts education in local communities nationwide. Bank of America believes that improving access to arts is critical to both the culture and economic vitality of the communities it serves. In addition, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provides philanthropic support to museums, theatres, and other arts-related nonprofits to expand their services and offerings to schools and communities.

We applaud Bank of America for its impressive commitment to arts and culture as a core value of its philanthropy and for its loyal and generous support of the Huntington Theatre Company and our work.

Sutton Foster (center) with event co-chairs (l-r): Neal Balkowitsch, John Frishkopf, Debbie Lewis, and Anne Fitzpatrick Cucchiario; photo: Laura Wulf

AN EVENING WITH

SUTTON FOSTER On Monday, November 15, the Huntington presented An Evening with Sutton Foster, a one-night only benefit performance by the Tony Award-winning Broadway performer best known for her starring roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Young Frankenstein. Ms. Foster thrilled the crowd with standards, Broadway showstoppers, and tales of her life in theatre. Many guests also enjoyed pre-show dinners at restaurants and private homes across the South End, and some even had the opportunity to meet and chat with Sutton in person at an exclusive V.I.P. post-show champagne reception. All proceeds from this benefit event helped to support the Huntington’s world-class productions and awardwinning youth, education, and community programs.

WELCOME TO OUR

NEW TRUSTEES & OVERSEERS At the Board of Trustees’ Annual Meeting this fall, five exemplary members of the Huntington’s Council of Overseers were elected to serve on the Board of Trustees: Ann-Ellen Hornidge, Fred Jamieson, Seth Kaufman, Joie Lemaitre, and Mary Wolfson. Also elected was Richard L. Taylor, who will serve as a new member on the Council of Overseers. We extend our gratitude to all of the members of the Huntington’s Board of Trustees and Council of Overseers for their enthusiasm, participation, and ongoing support, and we welcome our newly elected members to their new roles.

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CALDERWOOD MATCHING CHALLENGE UPDATE —

THE FINAL YEAR TO DOUBLE YOUR GIFT

Hi, I’m Carol Deane. I became a subscriber of the Huntington almost 20 years ago, when we moved to Boston. One night, the playwright of Nixon’s Nixon spoke to the audience before the curtain went up. He Carol Deane told all of us how very important this organization is because of everything it does to support new playwrights, directors, and the future of theatre. I was committed! A few years later, my good friend Michele Karol, a Huntington Trustee, introduced me to the leadership and I learned how very much more important the Huntington is to our schools, local community groups, and theatre in America than I realized! The Huntington’s youth and education programs have reached more than 250,000 kids since 1982. The power of education through the arts is embodied by Know the Law, our collaboration with the Codman Academy Charter Public School, and our student matinee program. I’ve seen dozens of Huntington performances over the years, but I’ll never forget last spring’s student matinee of Stick Fly, and I suspect the full house of 370 students in the audience won’t either. The Huntington needs our support to continue creating memories, experiences, and productions like these. Please join me in supporting this cornerstone of Boston’s cultural community. The Huntington is now, more than ever, an important part of the social fabric of our family.

photo: Laura Wulf

WHY I SUPPORT THE HUNTINGTON

In 2008, the Huntington announced the Calderwood Charitable Foundation Matching Challenge. Through this challenge, our friends at the Calderwood Charitable Foundation have generously agreed to match all new individual gifts to the Huntington and all increased contributions from our current supporters. This challenge could provide as much as $500,000 per year in matching funds for three years, and at times like these we can’t afford to let this opportunity pass us by. Thank you to all who responded in the first two years of this challenge. As a result of your generosity, we have been able to make tremendous progress and currently stand at $740,000 toward our 3-year Challenge goal of $1 million. The Calderwood Challenge will continue to double the impact of your new or increased 2011 Annual Fund contribution — helping us to continue to stage awardwinning productions and programs, to train and support the next generation of theatre artists, and to provide arts education programs to our community’s young people. As before, every new and increased Annual Fund donation received this season will be matched by the Calderwood Charitable Foundation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000. In this final year of the Challenge, we hope you will take the opportunity to show your support for great theatre in Boston by making a gift to the 2011 Annual Fund today.

THANK YOU FOR THE IMPORTANT ROLE YOU PLAY IN SUSTAINING THE HUNTINGTON!

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There are easy ways to contribute to the 2011 Annual Fund: 1. SEND A CHECK TO:

Carol Deane Chairman, Huntington Board of Trustees

Huntington Theatre Company, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 Attn: Development Department

2. MAKE YOUR GIFT ONLINE AT: huntingtontheatre.org/support

3. CONTRIBUTE VIA PHONE: by calling the Development Office at 617 273-1546

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EDUCATION

AND COMMUNITY PROGRAMS ACCESS FOR ALL AT THE HUNTINGTON The Huntington and its Department of Education and Community Programs have been committed to providing accessible theatre to Boston audiences for decades, and are continually striving to produce world-class American SignLanguage interpretations and audio descriptions for the Deaf and blind communities. Meg Wieder, the Education Department Manager, also serves as the Huntington’s access coordinator. “It’s my job to coordinate both the ASL interpreting team and the audio describers, and to ensure they have the resources they need to rehearse and perform in comfort. I am also the first contact to our Deaf and blind communities, reserving their tickets and attending the Access performances to assist them with headsets, programs, and seating. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.” Over the past three seasons, the Huntington has seen a growth in attendance at these performances, and came close to selling out both the Bus Stop ASL section on October 8 and the seats set aside for the audio-described performance on October 9. Meg Wieder continues, “We are thrilled to have such a great turnout for these performances, and are looking forward to our next Accessible performances: for Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winner Ruined.”

Audio Describer Alice Austin (above) and American Sign Language interpreter Mikey Krajnak (right) at work in the B.U. Theatre

• The Friday, January 21, 8pm performance of Ruined will be ASL-interpreted. • The Saturday, January 29, 2pm performance of Ruined will be audio-described. • The Friday, January 14 student matinee performance of Ruined will also be both ASL-interpreted and audio-described.

FOR TICKETS OR INFORMATION about the Huntington’s Access programming, please contact Meg Wieder at 617 273-1558 or MWieder@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu. Tickets are $15 for each Deaf or blind patron and one guest. Education and Access Partner:

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DID YOU KNOW? The Huntington’s Department of Education and Community Programs creates Curriculum Guides for schools attending our student matinees, and they are available for FREE online! Simply visit huntingtontheatre.org/education to look at what we have to offer. Our Curriculum Guides are an excellent resource not only for teachers and their students, but also for anyone interested in examining Huntington productions more deeply.


POETRY OUT LOUD 2011 Now in its sixth year, Poetry Out Loud is one of the most popular programs in the Education department. In 2010, more than 14,000 high school students at 64 schools participated in this national poetry recitation contest whose Massachusetts component is facilitated by the Huntington. Join us at the State Semifinals (March 5 and 6) and at the State Finals on March 13. Locations will be announced soon. The Massachusetts State Champion will then travel to compete at the national level in Washington, D.C. in April.

The Huntington’s Education Department hosted a Poetry Out Loud informational get-together this past October. Interested high school teachers from across the state came to hear from other teachers who have successfully instituted Poetry Out Loud at their schools and were treated to a performance from 2010 State Champion Wilmene Hercule.

learn more online: Over 8,000 people have watched our Poetry Out Loud video! Visit huntingtontheatre.org/poetry to watch it yourself and find out how your school can get involved in the program. For more information, e-mail poetryoutloud@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu

STUDENT MATINEE SEATS STILL AVAILABLE All student matinee performances begin at 10am and include a lively post-show Actors Forum with members of the cast. Student groups are also welcome at regularly scheduled performances for the same reduced ticket price of $15 per student.

Donna Glick (Director of Education) and Wendy Watson (ASL Interpreter) at the student matinee performance of The Corn is Green.

RUINED

EDUCATING RITA

January 14, 2011 B.U. Theatre ASL-interpreted and audio-described

March 24, 2011 B.U. Theatre

SONS OF THE PROPHET April 8, 2011 Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

TICKETS are $15 per student. For more information and to reserve tickets, contact Meg Wieder at 617 273-1558 or MWieder@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu.

learn more online: Visit huntingtontheatre.org/studentmatinee.

RICHARD III May 26, 2011 B.U. Theatre

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS June 10, 2011 B.U. Theatre

ARE YOU A TEACHER OR A PARENT? Make the Huntington part of your school’s experience this year!

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HUNTINGTON NEWS SAVE THE DATE(S)! In addition to our subscription season productions, the Huntington is also offering many off-stage opportunities in 2011. We hope you will join us for one or more of these exciting events.

• 2011 BREAKING GROUND READINGS Huntington Playwriting Fellows Miranda Craigwell, Masha Obolensky, Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, and Lawrence Goodman

MEET THE NEW HUNTINGTON

PLAYWRITING FELLOWS The Huntington recently announced the 2011 class of Huntington Playwriting Fellows: Miranda Craigwell, Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Lawrence Goodman, and Masha Obolensky. This group of writers will be in residence at the theatre for two years and follow in the footsteps of renowned past Huntington Fellows. Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro’s plays include Behind Enemy Lines (Pan Asian Repertory in N.Y.C.), Mishima (East West Players in L.A.), Martha Mitchell (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and others), Barrancas (Magic Theater), Pablo and Cleopatra (New Theater, Boston), and It Doesn’t Take a Tornado and Amsterdam (La MaMa in N.Y.C.).

Breaking Ground readings are free and open to the public, though reservations are required. For more information, including reading start times and locations, please visit huntingtontheatre.org/ breakingground. Please note that this reading schedule is subject to change. February 3: The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge (former Huntington Playwriting Fellow) March 28: A new play by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Rosanna Alfaro Yamigawa. June 6: A new play by David Grimm (The Miracle at Naples) directed by Peter DuBois

• EMERGING AMERICA FESTIVAL MAY 13 - 15, 2011

Miranda Craigwell has works that include The Strongest Shape; Reply, Please; Requests; and Sugar Moth. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in literature and cultures in English, and was awarded a David Zucconi Memorial Fellowship, which allowed her to study in London.

This spring, the Huntington will again collaborate with the American Repertory Theater and the Institute of Contemporary Art on the second annual Emerging America Festival, a unique festival of performance devoted to supporting and launching the new American voices of tomorrow.

Lawrence Goodman’s plays include The Disappearance of the Jews, Keep Your Distance, An Evening of Highly Self-Indulgent Semi-Autobiographical Comedy, and Rain Later. His work has been performed at The Brick Playhouse, the HERE Arts Center, and more. He holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Goddard College.

Last year’s festival featured original programming curated by the Huntington, A.R.T., and ICA, including Two Emerging Voices/One Double Bill, by Amy Herzog and Steven Levenson, club performances at the A.R.T., podcast walking tours, and more.

Masha Obolensky’s writing credits include Not Enough Air, produced by the Nora Theatre in Cambridge in 2010 and by Timeline Theatre in Chicago in 2009. This play was nominated for an Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding New Work, received First Prize in Boston Theatre Works’ Unbound Festival, and the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award.

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Breaking Ground is the Huntington’s reading series, a vital part of our new play development programs.

Planning for the 2011 Emerging America Festival is now underway. Be sure to mark your calendars for May 13-15 and check huntingtontheatre.org and emergingamericafestival.org later this spring for further details.


arrives. I’ve also been working with the marketing staff on the recording and editing of content for the Huntington’s podcast series, and oversee maintenance of audio, intercom, video, and assistive listening systems.

Virginia and Ben Emerson

MEET THE HUNTINGTON Married staffers Ben and Virginia Emerson are at the heart of the Huntington’s production departments. Ben, our sound supervisor, is in his 15th year here; Virginia, our assistant costume director, has worked here for 22 years. Learn more about this hard-working couple! HOW DID YOU MEET? Virginia: Ben and I met here at the Huntington. We got to know each other during the student opera Dialogue of the Carmelites in the spring of 1998. We had our first date on June 11, 1998, got engaged on June 11, 1999, and got married on June 11, 2000. Our son Gabriel is 8 years old.

Virginia: I am a bit like the office manager of the costume shop. I maintain communications between costume and other departments – most importantly stage management and the rehearsal process. I keep track of our extensive costume stock with the help of our work study student and other costume shop members. I maintain the show “Bible” — the notebook with the vital information of the show — measurements, photos, lists of what we have and what we need. And I also maintain our inventory of stock notions [pins, snaps, hook and eyes, etc] and keep track of the machinery and equipment including doing minor repairs. WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Ben: Creative problem solving. Virginia: My co-workers, who are also my friends. I also enjoy the satisfaction of finding just the right costume piece. FAVORITE HUNTINGTON SHOW? Ben: Journey to the West and The 39 Steps. Virginia: She Loves Me, Journey to the West, any of the Gilbert & Sullivan’s, Heartbreak House, Woman Warrior, Fences, not necessarily in that order. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Ben: Spend time with my family and work around my home. Go to Maine when I get a chance. Virginia: Be a mom. Sew. Garden. Walk in the woods. Read. Spend time with my family. Every summer Ben and I have a yard project. •

WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE HUNTINGTON? Ben: I make sure the production in general, and the sound designer in particular, have all the necessary audio support. I work with the designer to ensure that any particular needs are met, such as special loudspeaker placement, and make sure all the systems and crew are ready when the designer

learn more online: Meet other members of the Huntington’s hard-working staff at huntingtontheatre.org/meet

HAVE YOU HEARD? BECKY SHAW IS MOVING TO LONDON! Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois will direct the British premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw this January at London’s prestigious Almeida Theatre. Becky Shaw was produced by the Huntington as part of our 2009-2010 season. Learn more about the London production of Becky Shaw at almeida.co.uk. Seth Fisher and Keira Naughton in Becky Shaw; photo: T. Charles Erickson

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264 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115-4606 huntingtontheatre.org

Peter DuBois

Michael Maso

Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director

Managing Director

huntington theatre company

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION US POSTAGE PAID BOSTON, MA PERMIT # 52499

in residence at boston university

CONNECT WITH THE HUNTINGTON Your theatregoing experience can begin long before the show and doesn’t have to end when the curtain goes down. The Huntington provides many online opportunities for you to engage with us and our shows.

Watch teaser trailers and behind-the-scenes videos on our YouTube channel. huntingtontheatre.org/youtube Hear from artists and scholars by subscribing to our podcast series. huntingtontheatre.org/podcasts Like us and connect with fellow Huntington fans on Facebook. huntingtontheatre.org/facebook

Keira Naughton in Becky Shaw; photo: T. Charles Erickson

Follow us on Twitter for fun facts and special discounts. huntingtontheatre.org/twitter Explore behind the scenes on our backstage blog led by Production Manager Todd Williams. huntingtontheatre.org/blog

AND Listen to our new “Cell Phone Playbill” to learn more about our productions. You’ll hear directly from Artistic Director Peter DuBois and have a chance to record your thoughts about the show, too. Call 617 245-3906 to get started.

Spring 2011 SPOTLIGHT  

The Spring 2011 Issue of SPOTLIGHT, the Huntington Theatre Company's literary magazine

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