Production Photos: THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL

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Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Photo credit: Ed Krieger

Announcing: The Cast of THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL

Corryn Cummins

Corryn Cummins

Leo Marks

Leo Marks

Jeff Marlow

Jeff Marlow

Time Winters

Time Winters

Erin Barnes

Erin Barnes

Erica Hanrahan-Ball

Erica Hanrahan-Ball

Ashley Ruth Jones

Ashley Ruth Jones

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Announcing: THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL

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PLAY/ground Micro-interview: Steven Dietz

Steven Dietz B-W 7447[1]Boston Court: In what way has this feeling of wanderlust changed from the post-war era in which your play is set, and how has it remained the same? Or has it changed at all? Is there something inextricable about the need for adventure and American youth?

Steven Dietz: Oh, I’d love to know this and I don’t … but let me hazard a guess:  I think the need to run our lives past the “out there” must be as strong now as it has ever been.  However, I think wanderlust now often manifests itself in a virtual way.  We are given such a rich illusion of the “out there” – such a seductive feeling that we are “going places” when we Google our way across the world – that I wonder if we are willing to risk the fundamental hardship that comes with an actual, not virtual, quest.  “The road” to me is not romantic in the least;  it is a conscious disruption of the norm, of the habit of American life.  That takes guts and a wild soul and perhaps a healthy amount of societal disregard.  And that is likely the gift that Youth gives to a culture-at-large:  the beautiful naiveté;  the beginner’s disregard for consequence.

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Steven Dietz’s play Mad Beat Hip & Gone will be presented Saturday, November 8th at 11am.

The reading is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.

To reserve, call 626-683-6883 or email JoeM@BostonCourt.com

Steven Dietz’s thirty-plus plays and adaptations have been seen at over one hundred regional theatres in the United States, as well as Off-Broadway and in twenty countries internationally.  His work has been translated into ten languages.

Mr. Dietz is a two-time winner of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, for Fiction (produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, Off-Broadway), and Still Life with Iris; as well as a two-time finalist for the American Theatre Critic’s Steinberg New Play Award, for Last of the Boys, and Becky’s New Car.

Mr. Dietz received the PEN USA West Award in Drama for Lonely Planet; the 2007 Edgar Award® for Drama for Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure; and the AATE Distinguished Play Award for Jackie & Me, adapted from Dan Gutman. Other widely produced plays include Yankee Tavern, Shooting Star, God’s Country, Private Eyes, Inventing van Gogh and The Nina Variations.

Recent work includes Rancho Mirage (Edgerton New Play Award, NNPN Rolling World Premiere), Bloomsday (commissioned by ACT Theatre, Seattle.), and The Shimmering.

Mr. Dietz and his family divide their time between Seattle and Austin, where he teaches playwriting and directing at the University of Texas.

PLAY/ground Micro-interview: Lauren Yee

lauren-headshot-3Boston Court: How do you use comedy to help tell a story which seems, on the surface, dark, scary and, in a lot of ways, sad? 

Lauren Yee: I love attacking a story from a sideways angle. I love surprising an audience and allowing them to run the gamut of emotions. When you’re dealing with difficult subject matter, like in in a word, humor can help to get an audience on your side. To me, humor and pain go hand in hand. What I find hilarious usually is so because it lives right on the surface of deep-seated pain.

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Lauren Yee’s play in a word will be presented on Saturday, November 8th at 5pm.

The reading is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.

To reserve, call 626-683-6883 or email JoeM@BostonCourt.com

Lauren Yee’s plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts, SIS Productions, Impact Theatre), Crevice (Impact Theatre), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm, The Hub, Moxie Theatre, AlterTheater, PlayPenn), Hookman (Company One workshop), in a word (Hangar and Williamstown workshops), King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre commission), Samsara (O’Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Victory Gardens’ IGNITION Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu Performing Arts). Upcoming productions in the 2014/15 season at Victory Gardens, San Francisco Playhouse, the Cleveland Public Theatre, Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, and Encore Theatre.

Work developed at Lincoln Center/LCT3, Goodman Theatre, Magic Theatre, The Public, Rattlestick, and Kitchen Dog. Former Dramatists Guild fellow, MacDowell fellow, and Public Theater Emerging Writers Group member.

Fellowships: Women’s Project Lab, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab, Playwrights Realm Page One residency, Playwrights’ Center Core Writer. Commissions: Goodman Theatre, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood, Encore Theatre, and TheatreworksUSA. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com

PLAY/ground Micro-interview: Carlos Murillo

carlosmurilloBoston Court: The protagonist of this play, a writer, has his authenticity questioned. Why is being considered inauthentic so abhorrent to a writer? 

Carlos Murillo: I’m not so sure it is abhorrent. I think it depends on how you define authenticity, who is making the determination of whether or not something is authentic, or even if you consider authenticity a necessarily positive value.

The play tells the story of two Latino playwrights in the late 80s who are sick of being pigeonholed by the expectations of their field to write a certain kind of play in a certain vernacular that people in power believe is an authentic expression of Latino experience. More interested in subverting monolithic notions of what constitutes “Latino experience” or a “Latino play,” they take on the true story of Danny Santiago, a young reclusive Chicano novelist who published FAMOUS ALL OVER TOWN, a critically acclaimed novel about growing up in the tough barrios of East LA. In virtually every review of the novel, the book was praised for it’s authentic depiction of Chicano life in Los Angeles. A literary scandal was unleashed when the New York Review of Books revealed that young Danny Santiago was in fact  Daniel Lewis James, a white, a 70 year old, ex-Communist, blacklisted screenwriter, and scion of a wealthy Kansas City Family – a figure that couldn’t exist in a world further from the one he portrayed in his novel. Reactions ranged from “who cares?” to accusations that James was a vampire, a fraudulent cultural thief who had no right to pen this story. Both of those extremes are deeply troubling to me – on the “who cares?” end of the spectrum there’s the implication that that there is no such thing as cultural theft, and James’ actions hurt no one; on the vampire fraud end of the spectrum, the implied suggestion is that 1) artists are not free to imagine worlds, characters and stories outside the narrow experience of their own culture; 2) that there exists some clear, authoritative standard for measuring “correct” and “incorrect” depictions any given culture; and 3) that . The Latino writers in the play are faced with this very dilemma when they decide to tell James’ story – can they “authentically” write in James’ voice, and convincingly depict his world, which is completely alien to them? Understanding and coming to terms with where my own beliefs and values fall on this spectrum drove me to write the play.

Interestingly, James himself described writing in the voice of Chato de Shamrock, the protagonist of FAMOUS, as the closest he ever came to finding an authentic authorial voice. (Having read much of his extant work, I would wholeheartedly agree with him). In a sense, writing the novel he found in his fictional Mexican American family a metaphor to express the crisis of his own, very different, American upbringing. After fifty years of failure as a writer, I applaud James for having stuck it out and finding, after a lifelong struggle, a kernel of truth by wearing the mask of Danny Santiago. I also curse him – his formidable connections in the literary world paved a back channel way for his novel to be published by a major house, while real Chicano writers, lacking access, barely registered a blip on the literary mainstream at the time. I also find hilarious and enervating the role critics played in the whole debacle – they were, after all, the ones that declared Santiago’s book authentic in the first place. How much experience did they have on the streets of East LA to make such an authoritative determination?

Who can really claim to own cultural expression, what is appropriate/inappropriate appropriation, what is authentic/inauthentic… Recently, while researching a musical I am presently writing, I read an article online about the Jay-Z song “Takeover” (http://www.ethanhein.com/wp/2011/jay-z-and-alan-lomax/) that sums up my ultimate feelings about the impossibility of answering these questions. Strangely, the estate of Alan Lomax, the legendary folklorist who spent his life collecting field recordings of “authentic” singers around the world from the 1930s through his death in 2002, owns a piece of that song. Why? Well, Jay-Z’s song, like so much hip hop, samples and quotes from a ton of pre-existing sources, including Bowie, The Doors and KRS-One. The KRS-One sample samples a riff from an earlier Grand Funk Railroad song, that’s actually a cover of a song by The Animals’ “Inside Looking Out,” which in turn is based on a song called “Rosie.” Where did “Rosie” come from? No one knows for sure – it’s one of those ancient African American tunes passed down from generation to generation, and whose author was lost to history. But Lomax was the first to record it when he heard a chain gang sing it at Parchman Farm, a prison-plantation in Mississippi.

Peel open that onion.

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Carlos Murillo’s play Your name Will Follow You Home, will be presented on Sunday, November 9th at 11am.

The reading is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.

To reserve, call 626-683-6883 or email JoeM@BostonCourt.com

Carlos Murillo is a Chicago-based playwright, director and educator. His plays have been produced widely throughout the US and Europe. His most recent play, YOUR NAME WILL FOLLOW YOU HOME, originally commissioned by Steppenwolf will have its Spanish language premiere at Repertorio Espanol in NYC later this fall. Other plays include A Thick Description of Harry Smith (P73 in NYC), Diagram of a Paper Airplane (Commissioned by The Goodman, Sundance Theatre Lab), Augusta and Noble (Adventure Stage), dark play or stories for boys (Humana Festival, Theatre der Stadt Aalen, Germany, Vigszinhaz, Budapest, Hungary), Unfinished American Highwayscape #9 & 32 (Theatre @ Boston Court, LA), Mimesophobia (NYC Summer Play Festival, Theatre Seven), A Human Interest Story (or the Gory Details and All) (Theater der Stadt Aalen, Germany, Walkabout Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Son of Semele in LA), Offspring of the Cold War (Walkabout Theatre, Sundance), Schadenfreude (Circle X in LA, Sundance), Never Whistle While You’re Pissing (Group Theatre Seattle, South Coast Rep HPP) and Near Death Experiences with Leni Riefenstahl (Red Eye, Minneapolis.) His work has been commissioned by Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, The Public Theater and the University of Iowa International Writers Program. His work has been published by Dramatists Play Service, Smith & Kraus’ New Playwrights: Best New Plays of 2007, Heinmann, and Theatre Forum. The Javier Plays, a trilogy of works, is forthcoming from 53rd State Press. Awards include: Met Life Nuestros Voces Award from Repertorio Espanol, the Frederick Loewe Award from New Dramatists, two National Latino Playwriting Awards from Arizona Theatre Company, the Ofner Prize from The Goodman, and the Otis Guernsey Award from the William Inge Festival. He is currently enjoying a year long residency at The Goodman Theatre where he is working on a play about the murder of Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar in 1994. Carlos is an alumnus of New Dramatists in NY and a former Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists.  He heads the Playwriting Program at The Theatre School of DePaul University. He lives in the South Side of Chicago with his wife Lisa Portes and their two children Eva and Carlitos.

On Vulgarity

by Dolores Quintana

What offends you? Is it a word,  a concept, or a work of art?

Human society has rules and woe to the person who breaks those rules. Shame, ridicule and side eyes will be flung at the interloper who dares flout the tenets of polite behavior. But when you are talking about art, why is this necessary? Art exists to pour light on taboo subjects and issues that society refuses to deal with adequately as well as entertain and thrill audiences. It is a form of communication that can put our own touchy subjects in fantasy constructs to make it easier for us to deal with them and eventually fix them.

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This year, The Theatre @ Boston Court presented a play with a title that had a curse word in it, Stupid Fucking Bird. Wigs were flipped. One of the myriad reasons why theater has a weaking grip on the cultural landscape is because much of what is produced theatrically is unchallenging, staid, and recycled material that aims strictly for the lowest common denominator. What is confounding about the situation is the reaction to a very small vulgarity that created a big brouhaha. What upset people most? The themes of suicide or the shallowness and self delusion of people who consider themselves to be artists? No, the word: fuck. My theory about profanity is that if you do it, as an adult, you should be able to say it or type it. But even in 2014, I see full grown adults using substitute words in daily conversation or while using social media on The Internet. If you are angry, what’s wrong with expressing yourself in what you find to be an appropriate manner? If you cuss like a sailor in real life, why type “Frack” when you really mean Fuck? Do you imagine small children are reading your Twitter feed?  A well known comedian said it pretty succinctly. When you say the substitute word, everyone knows what you are saying. The brains of people receiving the sensory input instantly translate it. You just said the word to everyone anyway. You simply lack the courage to say what you really mean.


They are just words. They have only the meaning and heft that we give them.

Additionally, one of the tools of the artist is to deploy shock and outrage to open the way for new thinking in its audience. Shock value. There are whole schools of thought within theater devoted to it. Hello Antonin Artaud. When you see something that disgusts, angers, or confuses you, your defenses go down, even if it is just a tiny rolling down of the window. It is increasingly used badly and irresponsibly but the guru of shock John Waters has used it for his entire career and has made great inroads in mainstream American culture for the acceptance of weirdos. It’s a big club that thwacks you over the head and makes you pay attention to things you normally would ignore. It works. Example: one of the things that society recommends to its people is travel. Travel and broaden your horizons, they say. It means when you live in one city or town and hang around with a small set of people that you are comfortable with and never go out in the world and meet people and cultures different from you, you will remain boring and conservative for the rest of your life. Your thought processes become set and you stop learning about new things and figuring out that things you don’t understand shouldn’t necessarily frighten you. As H.P. Lovecraft said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. Lovecraft would know as his own upbringing was responsible for his own fears.  Refusing to face things that make you uncomfortable makes the fear that much stronger and make you that much more of a small minded human with a low ceiling on their life and outlook. In other words, the type of person who usually only attends revivals of well known plays and jukebox musicals on tour from Broadway.

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As with most everything else, intent is what matters. When a bigot or racist uses words to shame and hurt people, that is a deplorable and hideous use of language. That is wrong.  But when a playwright or actor uses the word to expose violent and cruel behavior of those types of cowards, it’s done to expose the hypocrisy and hatred in their hearts. Do not make the mistake of confusing the two in a knee jerk reaction. You were born with the ability to discern the difference. The more you do it, the better you will become at recognizing one from the other.

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Routine and rote are deadly for the progression of human society and human thought.  You should also know that Stupid Fucking Bird was also one the the best selling shows to date at The Theatre @ Boston Court. Bravery in art is sometimes rewarded.  Polite behavior and societal rules exist for good reasons, but we can never let the rules crush the human spirit and the wonder of art, theater and the human experience. Check out things that make you uncomfortable and plays outside your experience. Growth is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. But that’s how you know you are progressing. Putting blinders on might make you feel safe, but it is at the expense of becoming the person you could be.