A.R.T.’s pARTy 2009 was a success!

May 8, 2009
pARTy 2009: Artistic Director Diane Paulus, Founding Director Robert Brustein, Actress Diane Lane

pARTy 2009: Artistic Director Diane Paulus, Founding Director Robert Brustein, Actress Diane Lane.

The A.R.T.’s annual fundraiser pARTy let the sun shine on Monday, April 27, when Artistic Director Diane Paulus was joined by special guests including members of the cast from her Broadway production of HAIR to help celebrate the dawning of a new era at the A.R.T.

Other groovy people of the night included actress Diane Lane, Joyce Kulhawik, and Billy Costa. The annual Robert Brustein Award was presented to internationally acclaimed director Andrei Serban and A.R.T. Senior Actor Jeremy Geidt.

The evening left hippie-clad guests dancing onstage and in the aisles after a rollicking performance by the Broadway cast of HAIR.

The event was a tremendous success thanks to the generosity of the A.R.T.’s friends, board members, and supporters.



EXPERIENCE THE A.R.T. – 09/10 season

April 15, 2009

Welcome to 2009-10 at the A.R.T.! I am so excited to introduce the 09/10 season, and our new initiative:


You will see these words a lot. To me, theater is more than simply the play on the stage: it’s a ritual, a place for people to come and gather—a function of community. Next season is designed with this in mind, and is programmed around two festivals: Shakespeare Exploded! and America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball. Each festival will be enhanced by readings, discussions, art exhibits, and opportunities to socialize, dine, and even dance together.

FESTIVAL No. 01 – Shakespeare Exploded!

We open our 2009-10 season with Shakespeare Exploded!, a festival of radical new works inspired by three classic plays by Shakespeare. Dance to all the 70’s hits you know by heart at The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that unfolds around you as a nightclub fantasy. Then experience your own sensory journey as you enter the world of Sleep No More, an immersive “adventure theater” work inspired by Macbeth and Hitchcock’s thrillers. Celebrate the holidays with Best of Both Worlds, an R&B and gospel musical that takes its story from The Winter’s Tale. Before you see Best of Both Worlds, make sure to catch the A.R.T. Institute’s limited run of the Shakespeare play The Winter’s Tale in early October.

FESTIVAL No. 02 – America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball

America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball explores the hopes, disappointments, and triumphs of the past American century from the roaring twenties to the Great Depression to the Boston Red Sox’s stunning 2004 World Series victory. We begin with the boom—Gatz brings every word of Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby to life in this once-in-a-lifetime marathon theatrical experience. The bust is Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost, a powerful drama about an American family who loses everything in the throes of economic crisis. Spring is baseball season, and we’ll be staging the world premiere of Red Sox Nation, an exhilarating new musical that explores the source of the infamous Curse and the secret to its end by blending fiction, fact, and the mystical power of the game.

I am thrilled to invite you to immerse yourself in the A.R.T. experience alongside me next season—from attending, to contributing to active discussions online, to having a post-performance snack with your seatmates, to sharing your creative responses to our work with our community. I look forward to welcoming you to the theater!

Warm regards,
Diane Paulus, Artistic Director

Trojan Barbie – Barbie Doll art opening photos

April 11, 2009

A few photos from our Trojan Barbie Barbie Doll art exhibit opening event at SPACE 242. These and other fine art masterpieces inspired by or made with Barbie Dolls will be on display at SPACE 242 through April 17. Gallery Hours: Friday evenings 6:30-8 p.m. and by appointment. Co-sponsored by The Weekly Dig. Photos by Derek Kouyoumjian.

Online Hubbub: Trojan Barbie

March 27, 2009

Let us know what you thought!

Playwright Christine Evans said, “I’m not interested in simply taking a play and dressing it in modern clothes without creating a real dialogue between the past and the present.”  How did this dialogue between the past and the present resonate for you?

Please feel free to share any other thoughts on the production.

Aurélia’s Oratorio Trailer

November 26, 2008

Online Hubbub: Let Me Down Easy, Thursday, October 2, 2008

October 2, 2008

Which character was your favorite and why?

“Anna Deavere Smith, of course!  I appreciate her opening inclusion of herself with the audience.  But I have no favorites – I don’t want to even consider it, because everyone’s story is so powerful.    I was grateful to Anna for including people who focus on beauty & art, in the midst of so much trauma – but these folks aren’t favorites, I just appreciated the contrast!  (I am increasingly drawn to the beauty of flowers, which I think is partly because I work as a therapist….)  Really, it’s the layering of characters that gives perspective to this piece; I’m struck by how each person’s context – privileged or not – is limited by individual experience & enhanced by the experience of others…”—Alex C

“I think her name was Ingrid.  The Tutsi survivor who talked about grace as releasing someone who has hurt you from your heart.  I liked her because I think, even though she was so eloquent and articulate, that she was still trying to figure out what happened to her and how it has made her now.  I think I learned a lot from that character about how to let go of what can bring you down, and not to hate.”—cmf

“The monk; his joy.”—Kate R.

“Trudy Howell. I felt her message very strongly — I could comprehend it, I could get my mind and emotions around it.  I loved almost all the people in the “Disgrace” section, but the messages in that segment are so large, so explosive, so inconceivable that, while I felt them very intensely, I did not connect with them the same way I connected with Howell’s message.”—Jane T.

“It’s hard to say…so many were so good…she had Samantha Powers and Jessye Norman down perfectly, but I guess I have to say Peter Gomes was my favorite – partly because I know him so well and know that’s exactly what and how he’d speak.”—Ann L.

“Kiersta Kurtz-Burke is appalled. The patients are resigned. The contrast between her emotion and theirs is both telling and poignant.”—Judith J.

Who else would you suggest that Anna interview in her ongoing exploration of grace?

“Keep doing what you’re doing – the political work is vitally important.  Some whimsical suggestions:  therapists & clients!  Gardeners & folks who purchase landscaping services!  Academicians & students.”—Alex C

“Go to Chicago.  South side.  Talk to the teenagers.  Other than that, I think the nuns who do mission work–keeping in mind those who have been murdered for their charity–may have much to say about grace.”—cmf

“Parents of children with special needs/autism.”—Kate R.

“I was expecting to see a segment that touched on someone in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan: it could have been someone over there now, or just returned or just about to go or back here, injured, or back here safe and, at least physically, whole, or family members or…maybe that’s a whole other play…”—Jane T.

“Garbage collectors, lesbian mother, holocaust survivor from Germany, a nurse in neonatal care…”—Lauren S

“Steven Breyer, Eli Broad, Colin Powell….and how about Obama?!  (I’m sorry Ken Galbraith, Julia Childs, David Halberstam and Ken Russert are no longer around)”—Ann L.

“Either a physician who leaves his post to serve in Haiti for three months or a patient in Haiti under his care.”—Judith J.

Have you experienced grace in your life?  How?

“I’m thinking about redefining this word – gratitude & humility are a big part of life.  I feel blessed in my work as a therapist with some rather challenged people, which I continue in despite some rather large challenges myself….  (Anna’s presentation resonates as therapy with an international, global & political scope!)  Being able to give – and have another person accept what I offer – is an experience of grace…  and so is the beauty of appreciating a flower or a work of art.  Relationships are essential to experiencing grace; perhaps art is ephemeral…”—Alex C

“I’m not sure exactly what grace is for me.  But I think I’ve felt it before, because I feel like part of me–or several parts of me–have been patched up in a way.  Like where I started to fray has been mended.  And I guess grace–when it happens–makes you feel “like new” in a way.  Or reinforced.  Broken and then made whole again.  It’s not necessarily a feeling of being born again–because you must wear your scars at least a little–to learn from them and to become stronger in the places where you’ve been wounded–but it’s getting up and carrying on.  It’s the ability to have the strength and the courage to do so.”—cmf

“I think grace is about letting go…letting go of what we clutch onto so tightly–our egos, our usual ways of seeing and being, our wants/needs/desires, what drives us so hard.  Sometimes these things are torn away–by an illness, a death, or a disaster; sometimes we make space for grace by going into nature, or church, or yoga or art; sometimes grace just finds us in a quiet moment; sometimes a connection with another–loved one or stranger, brings us to grace.  For me, sitting with my loved ones when they have died; being around babies; being in nature; doing yoga; and falling in love have brought me into moments of grace.  All the work I’ve done to re-integrate myself from the fragmenting caused by trauma, that’s how I’ve found grace.”—Kate R.

“Three experiences in life stand out for me in terms of experiencing grace: 1.  10 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Short of not having the cancer at all, it was the best scenario.  As I went through treatment, I was buoyed by the love and support not only of my family, but of my friends (close and not so close), my children’s classmates parents, and so on.  2.  6 1/2 years ago, my sister-in-law and my best friend died of cancer within 24 hours of each other.  I was not there when my friend, Karen, died but had seen her that morning: her eyes were wild with pain, she didn’t know me, she couldn’t swallow the water she asked for. I arrived at the house about 10 minutes after she died and went to see her in her bed.  Her hair and her bed were disheveled, but she looked so calm and peaceful.  What do you know? The clichés are true! I was happy that I got to see her like that.  Her children were not home yet and I didn’t want them to see her with all the pill bottles, and so on.  I brushed her hair and arranged her on her pillows. I straightened her bedclothes. I threw out all the pills.   I felt privileged to be there at this time for her.  My third experience: the night before my father was going to have bypass surgery, he called the house expecting to speak to my mother who hadn’t arrived home from the hospital yet.  I talked to him for awhile, assured him that things would be fine (he was very afraid), that a lot of people were praying for him, and loved him.  His last words to me were “I love you” and my last to him were “I love you too.”  He died the next day after the operation, but what grace it was for me to have those be the last words we exchanged.”—Jane T.

“I continue to experience grace through my teaching of photography for 36 years. I hear from former students all the time and their accomplishments and gratitude always moves me.”—Lauren S

“I volunteer a day a week at the oncology unit at the Beth Israel Hospital. People generally say, ‘How depressing, how can you DO this?’ Once I got past death-and its an ongoing issue actually- It’s not just a one-time thing. I have to keep getting it behind me, death that is-loss grief change -people I’ve come to know in a very unusual way- they are confronting death. They are accepting poison given to them by a stranger in hope – such a powerful “topic” and some of them let me right into their heart. How is that for a gift.  All I have to do is listen. I love people’s stories.  Maybe that’s why I love Anna’s work.  For me its about growing your heart, at least that’s as close as I can come to any description of what Anna is driving at- an opportunity to push the animal in me to the side. This is in direct contradiction to my work where I want to keep the animal way ahead of the civilized person in me- to foster and guard the most raw impulses, inclinations out front…I could go on and on about the interesting friction this engenders. Grace vs. Making Art.”—Jaqueth H

“At the moment I am thinking of grace as a physical characteristic. It is something I feel during a tai chi class or when I listen to a vocalist whose voice transports me beyond the present.”—Judith J.

Other comments?

“Thank you!  I think this may be my first blog experience!”—Alex C

“I’m the first-year grad student at Boston University in scenic design.  I thought the play was pleasantly theatrical and inspiring.  Thanks!”—cmf

“I have been a fan of Ms. Smith’s for a long time, and am ecstatic (and that’s not an exaggeration) to have had the privilege to site in the very, very first row, dead center to see her performance.  I loved not having anything between her and me.  Just for your information, here are the characters I thought the play could do without: Cheryl Diaz Myer (I did not get the connection to the idea of grace); Imam Rauf (I am happy that you included an imam, but his message did not connect to me); Samantha Power (not that interesting, moving, and again, message was not strong); Ashgar Rastegar (not that interesting, message not strong).  Others that I really liked: Rev. Cone; the agent and the jockey; all the Rwandans; Susan Youens; Eliz Streb (the connection to grace was tenuous, but the story was hilarious and a much needed leavening (as were the garden lady and the Buddhist monk); Ann Richards.”—Jane T.

“I was seated next to a woman who laughed loudly and often at what seemed appalling to me, talked to her friend during the performance, was distracted and angry at someone who had left their cell phone on, kept leaning into “my space” in short took up more than her share of air/space whatever. The situation could have ruined my own pleasure and concentration but at some point forget which character brought it home to me I thought here it is, plain and simple a chance to open your heart rather than close it down in anger.”—Jaqueth H

“Wonderful moving evening – but a reservation: I detected a degree of mockery in the mimicry – Gomes, Power come to mind, but others whose voices I do not know as well might also be similar. A play about grace should not have had overtones of exploitation of individuals. Does this happen because she gets seduced by her own fabulous technique?”—Fred

“ ‘Amazing Grace’ was theoretical and dry. Even though it was short, I found it an awkward way to introduce the theme.”—Judith J.

Introducing Romance

June 13, 2008

The season ends with dessert; a farce by David Mamet. This may give you pause for thought – Mamet’s plays, many of which have been premiered at the A.R.T. (Oleanna, The Old Neighborhood, Boston Marriage) are generally thought of as terse explorations of American masculinity, famous for their tough characters and clipped dialogue more than their humor. But in recent years David has become something of a chameleon, turning his hand to many styles of film and theatre, from Georgian England (The Winslow Boy) to a satire of the political media circus (Wag the Dog.) Now, in Romance, he is writing flat-out farce, and the result is an insanely funny confection. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing Trojan Barbie

June 11, 2008

Anna Deavere Smith, Anne Washburn, Anne Kauffman, Aurélia Thiérrée, Victoria Chaplin – you may already have noticed that the season is dominated by women writers and directors. That pattern continues with Trojan Barbie, a new play by Christine Evans, which Carmel O’Reilly will stage in Zero Arrow Theatre. I’m thrilled by this prevalence of female artists, though it wasn’t a deliberate choice on my part – rather it reflects a welcome change in the landscape of the American theatre, where many of the new generation of first-rate artists are women. Read the rest of this entry »