I am happy to announce that casting for the world premiere of Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, directed by Trip Cullman, is complete. The play will feature Barbara Barrie, John Behlmann, Sas Goldberg, Gideon Glick, Lindsay Mendez, Carra Patterson and Luke Smith.
Gideon Glick and Lindsay Mendez are both Roundabout alums; Gideon appeared in Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate, and Lindsay appeared in Everyday Rapture. And of course, Carra Patterson can currently be seen in our Roundabout Underground production of Little Children Dream of God. I am so excited to welcome these three incredibly talented actors back to Roundabout.
I’m also thrilled to welcome the rest of this accomplished cast to our stage. Barbara Barrie has had a distinguished career on stage and screen, receiving Obie and Drama Desk Awards (The Killdeer) as well as an Academy Award nomination and several Emmy Award nominations. John Behlmann, most recently seen Off-Broadway in Pretty Filthy, has appeared on Broadway in The 39 Steps and Journey’s End. Sas Goldberg, no stranger to Roundabout or to this play (she has done a phenomenal job in every one of Significant Other’s developmental readings), has appeared in plays at Lincoln Center and Ars Nova. Luke Smith has numerous New York and regional credits to his name and appeared in the First National Tour of Peter and the Starcatcher.
I am honored to have this exceptional cast at the Pels for the final show of our 2014-2015 Season. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.
Zora Neale Hurston’s account of her travels in Haiti and Jamaica. Hurston, an Alabama and Florida native, traveled the two nations throughout 1936 and 1937 on a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Her travelogue offers both an American’s and an insider’s perspective on Haitian vodou, since she chose to take a participatory approach to her research, joining in the vodou rituals even as she studied them.
Dreams play a significant role in Little Children Dream of God. This academic essay by Harvard scholar (and oungan, or initiated vodou priest) Adam M. McGee expands on the relationship between dreams and Haitian vodou culture. McGee’s description of the Haitian vodou dream world as “a porous territory suffused with spiritual powers and entities” offers a real-world exploration of some of the most theatrical moments of Little Children Dream of God, in which Sula encounters her husband in a terrifying series of dreams, as well as a broader understanding of dreams in Haitian vodou culture and scholarship.
Immigration Policy and Facts
The following articles provide a snapshot of the complex systems of US Immigration Policy. The articles include some of the most recent federal developments as well as general and Haiti-specific statistics.
Sula names her baby boy Toussaint after Revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture, who led the first successful slave revolt in history (in 1791) and launched the Haitian Revolution. This documentary covers the Revolution’s impact in Haiti as well as the reverberations of Haitian freedom throughout the US.
“Soledad O’Brien Speaks with Jean-Claude Duvalier”
In a 2014 Al Jazeera America interview, Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien speaks with former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (aka “Baby Doc”) as well as Robert Duval, a political prisoner during Duvalier’s reign. Duvalier is the son of another Haitian dictator, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Both were known for their brutality. Throughout the father and son’s reigns (1957 - 1986), some 30,000-60,0000 Haitians were killed, and thousands of others were raped, beaten, and tortured at the hands of the Volunteers for National Security, colloquially known as the Tontons Macoutes, or “bogeymen.” “Baby Doc,” in particular, was also known for incurring high debts and embezzling millions of dollars in international aid. The elder Duvalier died in 1971, and the younger died in 2014.
Though direct descendants of Haitian immigrants, both Joel and Madison have only a shaky grasp on their family’s native language. If you’re looking to expand your own knowledge of Haitian Creole, explore Brooklyn’s HCLI, which offers workshops, seminars, and small-group activities to those looking to read, write, and/or speak Haitian Creole. Winter 2015 classes included Elementary Haitian Creole and Haitian Creole for Heritage Learners. The institute also offers translation services, dialect coaching for performers, and cultural training.
Little Children Dream of God plays at Roundabout Underground through April 5. For more information and tickets, visit our website.
In Little Children Dream of God, playwright Jeff Augustin uses aspects of magical realism, a style that originated in literature and visual art. The framework of his play is apparently realistic, until elements of dream, magic, and supernatural phenomena are introduced.
Magical realism first appeared in the works of Latin American novelists like Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Novelists of this style allow fantasy to coexist with realism, so that boundaries are erased and neither reality nor fantasy is subordinate to the other. In theatre, magical realist plays have largely been associated with writers from marginalized groups. The re-envisioning of a “reality” dominated by rationalism is a powerful artistic strategy to challenge the status quo and traditional, Western classifications. Augustin joins a growing number of American playwrights who, over the past two decades, have been exploring the potential of magical realism on stage.
Born in Puerto Rico but raised on Long Island, Rivera initially tried to portray the Latino-American experience through kitchen-sink naturalism, but his shift to magical realism lead to his breakout 1992 play, Marisol. In an apocalyptic version of the Bronx, a young woman meets her guardian angel, who warns Marisol that the angels are planning a revolution against a senile God. Rivera recalled the impetus for his shift from realism: “I was exploring my cultural heritage by writing in a new form, employing the myths and legends of my grandparents. That was a real liberation for me.”
With an angel crashing through the ceiling, diorama mannequins coming to life, and a hallucinated travel agent, magical events are foundational to Angels in America. Kushner recognized Márquez’s influence over many writers of his generation. His interest in magic on stage came from a desire to push theatre’s capacity beyond “that whole sort of illusion-reality paradigm.” Central to Kushner’s vision is an acknowledgement of the theatrical illusion, as stated in his stage direction for Angels: “[I]t’s OK if the wires show, and maybe it’s good that they do.”
Fort Worth Opera's production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America
In The Clean House, Ruhl brings elements of fantasy to intrude on the realistic household setting; snow falls indoors, and apples fall from the sky into the living room. A magical lyricism informs Ruhl’s play Eurydice, and she most recently used elements of magical realism and puppetry to explore reincarnation in The Oldest Boy. Ruhl has articulated her interest in theatrical forms that move away from a Freudian-based “realism” on stage: “[I]f you excavate people’s subjectivity and how they view the world emotionally, you don’t get realism.”
A production of Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice at The Pheonix Theatre
Little Children Dream of God is playing at the Black Box Theatre through April 5. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.