(Boston) — The Power of Duff playwright Stephen Belber and Trinity College professor of religion in public life Mark Silk will lead the conversation at the Huntington Theatre Company's Humanities Forum on Sunday, November 3rd following the 2pm performance of Belber's The Power of Duff. The Humanities Forum will be moderated by Huntington Senior Director of External Relations David Dalena. Admission to the Humanities Forum is free with a ticket to any performance of the moving new drama. Tickets are available online or by phone at 617 266 0800. Performances continue at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA through November 9.
In The Power of Duff, Rochester news anchor Charlie Duff shocks his co-anchor, boss, and colleague as he concludes the newscast with a spontaneous prayer rather than his usual send-off the night after his father dies. Yearning for connection, Charlie continues his nightly prayers despite management's initial protestations, rapidly becoming a popular and controversial figure to an ever expanding audience. Yet in spite of the strengthening bond Charlie feels with the subjects of his prayers and his viewers, he struggles to connect with his estranged teenage son and ex-wife.
David Wilson Barnes (Becky Shaw at Second Stage Theatre and London's Almeida Theatre) plays Charlie Duff, the burnt-out local newscaster who transforms first his community and then himself when he begins praying on-air. Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein, Friends with Kids) plays Sue, Charlie's co-anchor, and Amy Pietz ("The Office," "Caroline in the City") plays Duff's ex-wife Lisa. The Power of Duff is produced in association with New York Stage and Film and Vassar's Powerhouse Theater.
Stephen Belber has been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. The Huntington previously produced his play Carol Mulroney. Other works include Match (Tony Award nomination for Frank Langella); Don't Go Gentle (MCC); Dusk Rings a Bell (Atlantic Theater Company); Tape (Naked Angels NY/LA/London); McReele (Roundabout Theater Company); A Small, Melodramatic Story (Labyrinth Theater Company); Geometry of Fire, (NYSAF/Rattlestick); Fault Lines (NYSAF/Naked Angels); and One Million Butterflies (Primary Stages). He was an associate writer on The Laramie Project (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominations) and a co-writer on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. His films include Tape (dir. Richard Linklater), The Laramie Project (associate writer/Emmy Award nomination for screenwriting), Drifting Elegant, and Management, which he also directed, starring Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn. Television credits include "Rescue Me" and "Law and Order SVU."
Mark Silk is the director of the Trinity College Program on Public Values (comprising the Greenberg Center and the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture) and professor of religion and public life. He founded and previously directed the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity, and is the founding editor of Religion in the News, a magazine published by the Center that examines how the news media handles religious subject matter. Professor Silk is the author of Spiritual Politics: Religion and America since World War II and Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America, co-editor of Religion by Region, an eight-volume series on religion and public life in the United States, and co-author of The American Establishment, Making Capitalism Work, and One Nation Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics. In 2007 he inaugurated Spiritual Politics, a blog on religion and American political culture that the Religion News Service began publishing in 2012.
The Huntington holds the Humanities Forum during each run to discuss the literary or historical context of the production.