Local News: Alley Theatre Presents First Affinity Series Symposium with the World Premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries

Posted by: Staffon 2009/10/19 16:50:00 1574 reads Alley Theatre Presents First Affinity Series Symposium with the World Premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries

HOUSTON, TX -As part of the recently launched New Play Initiative, the Alley Theatre will present an Affinity Series Symposium for each world premiere this season featuring the playwright and dramaturg to discuss the genesis of the play, the Alley Theatre rehearsal process, and the larger societal issues raised by the play. The first Affinity Series Symposium will occur in conjunction with the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries on Saturday, October 24th, immediately following the 2:30 PM performance.

For Gruesome Playground Injuries, the Affinity Series Symposium will feature playwright Rajiv Joseph and Alley Theatre Senior Dramaturg and Director of New Play Development, Mark Bly.

Future Affinity Series Symposiums during the 2009 - 2010 season will occur in conjunction with the Alley Theatre's world premieres of Jack Murphy, Gregory Boyd, and Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland and Kenneth Lin's Intelligence-Slave . These future events will include local luminaries whose area of expertise or discipline has a direct "affinity" with issues raised in the play. The objective of the Affinity Series Symposium is to connect the new play collaboratorswith community leaders in public conversations around seminal issues and is an audience engagement program associated with the Alley's New Play Initiative.

The world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries is the first play in the Alley Theatre's New Play Initiative. The Alley Theatre's New Play Initiative facilitates the creative collaboration between playwrights, directors, actors, designers and dramaturgs during all stages of a new play's development. Central to this Initiative are readings, workshops, and residencies that allow writers the unique opportunity to work with and write for Alley Theatre Actors in a concentrated manner over an extended gestation period. Three world premieres are being developed through this Initiative this season: Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, Jack Murphy, Gregory Boyd, and Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland , which starts at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in November and then moves to the Hubbard Stage in January 2010, and Kenneth Lin's Intelligence-Slave, which will be on the Neuhaus Stage in May and June of next year.
Rajiv Joseph's (Playwright) play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was produced this past spring by the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles at the Kirk Douglas Theatre under the direction of Moisés Kaufman. Center Theatre Group will remount that production in Spring 2010 at the Mark Taper Forum. Bengal Tiger was awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. Joseph's New York productions include Animals Out of Paper, Second Stage Theatre, Summer 2008; The Leopard and the Fox (adaptation), Alter Ego, Fall 2007; Huck & Holden, Cherry Lane Theatre, 2006; All This Intimacy, Second Stage Theatre, 2006. Last spring, Joseph was awarded the Paula Vogel Award by the Vineyard Theatre and last winter he received the 2009 Kesselring Fellowship. He is a Founding Member of the New York-based Theatre Company, The Fire Department, and is a former Lark Playwriting Fellow and Dramatist Guild Fellow. He received his BA in Creative Writing from Miami University and his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Mark Bly (Dramaturg) joined the Alley Theatre in 2008 as Senior Dramaturg and Director of New Play Development. He serves also as Distinguished Professor of Theater at the University of Houston where he teaches Playwriting and Dramaturgy. This season, he dramaturged Our Town. Last season he dramaturged Cyrano de Bergerac, Secret Order, Rock 'n' Roll, Eurydice and The Farnsworth Invention . Prior to this he was the Senior Dramaturg at the Arena Stage and Director of Arena's New Play Development Series. Before joining Arena Stage, Bly served for 12 years as Chair of the Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama and as Associate Artistic Director for the Yale Repertory Theatre. Bly has dramaturged over 90 productions at major resident theaters and on Broadway. Highlights of his career include dramaturging the premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks' The America Play at the Yale Rep and Public Theater, and dramaturging the premiere of Moises Kaufman's 33 Variations at the Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, and on Broadway last Spring. He became the first Production Dramaturg to be credited on a Broadway production when he worked on Execution of Justice, written and directed by Emily Mann in 1985. He has written for Dramaturgy in American Theater, Theater Forum, American Theatre, The LMDA Review, and also Yale's Theater as Contributing and Advisory Editor. He wrote introductions for and edited Volumes I and II of The Production Notebooks: Theatre in Process . A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Bly was the Chair of the Board of Directors for Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas from 2001-2005.
The world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) Gruesome Playground Injuries features Selma Blair (Hellboy, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Storytelling, Legally Blonde, NBC's Kath & Kim) playing Kayleen and Brad Fleischer (Center Theatre Group's premiere of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Broadway's Coram Boy, Off Broadway's Streamers) playing Doug. Gruesome Playground Injuries charts two lives, using scars, injuries and calamity as the mile markers. An imaginative tour de force the play explores why people hurt themselves to gain another's love, and the cumulative effect of such damage, of such demands. Recommended for maure audiences. Strong language, profanity and violence.

The creative team for Gruesome Playground Injuries includes Riccardo Hernandez (Scenic Design), Miranda Hoffman (Costume Designer), Christopher Akerlind (Lighting Design), Jill BC DuBoff (Sound Design), and Mark Bly (Dramaturg). Rebecca Taichman directs.
Gruesome Playground Injuries performances run through Sunday, November 15 on the Neuhaus Stage.

Gruesome Playground Injuries is sponsored by Neuhaus Stage Season Sponsor Randall H. Jamail. The Alley Theatre is supported by the 2009-2010 season sponsor Continental Airlines, the official airline of the Alley Theatre.
Tickets to Gruesome Playground Injuries are $21 Cheap Thrills pricing, for the October 17 matinee performance. Tickets for other performances are $40 - $55. All tickets to Gruesome Playground Injuries are available for purchase at www.alleytheatre.org, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713.220.5700. Groups of 10 or more can receive special concierge services and select discounts by calling 713.315.3346. The added convenience of reservations by phone or Internet is available for a nominal fee. Tickets purchased in person at the Alley Theatre Box Office have a $1 facility fee.

Tuesday, October 27, 7:30 PM
Members of the cast return to the stage following the performance to take questions from the audience. TalkBacks are led by a member of the Alley Artistic Staff.