(BOSTON) — Huntington Theatre Company continues its 30th Anniversary Season with Before I Leave You, a new play by Cambridge-based 72-year-old Huntington Playwriting Fellow Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro. This is the first major regional production for Alfaro, who writes of Cambridge, MA and the "sixty-something" demographic from intimate and extensive experience. Acclaimed Off Broadway director Jonathan Silverstein (The Temperamentals) helms the production.
Before I Leave You tells the story of four longtime friends in Harvard Square. Emily (Kippy Goldfarb), a painter, is surrounded by change. Koji (Glenn Kubota), her husband of forty years, suddenly embraces his Asian roots. Jeremy (Ross Bickell) is at work on a novel but interrupted by a health scare. Trish (Karen MacDonald), Jeremy's sister and an out-of-work realtor, further complicates his life by moving in. Emily's son Peter (Alexis Camins) prepares to move out and make empty nesters of his parents. When one of the old friends jumps at an unexpected chance for happiness, the others face crisis and opportunity in this moving new comedy.
The play's action takes place in and around Harvard Square at locations that will be familiar to local audiences; the friends dine together regularly at the Royal East, a Chinese restaurant located between Cambridge's Central and Kendall Squares.
"We aging playwrights make up a huge part of the theatre audience," says Alfaro. "We have a distinct point of view. We travel more slowly, but we've seen a lot. There is a certain urgency to our writing. I have lived in Harvard Square for 45 years and have been a playwright for 30, so it was time to write a Cambridge comedy about four friends on the cusp of old age.
Alfaro joins an accomplished and acclaimed group of Huntington Playwriting Fellows to be produced by the Huntington including Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly, opening on Broadway this fall), Ronan Noone (The Athiest, Brendan), Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew), Sinan Ünel (The Cry of the Reed, Rebecca Maggor (Shakespeare's Actresses in America), Kirsten Greenidge (The Luck of the Irish — upcoming), and Ryan Landry (Psyched).
Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro is a Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow and a 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Playwriting. Her plays include Behind Enemy LInes (Pan Asian Repertory Theatre), Mishima (East West Players), Martha Mitchell (Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Theater Center Philadelphia; Six Figures Theater Company, New York; and others), Barrancas (Magic Theatre), Pablo and Cleopatra (New Theater), Mexico City (The Boston Women on Top Festival), Sailing Down the Amazon (BWTF and JRV Productions), and It Doesn't Take a Tornado and Amsterdam (La MaMa ETC.). She is the writer and narrator of Japanese American Women: A Sense of Place, a documentary directed by Leita Hagemann Luchetti (part of a Smithsonian Institution exhibit and aired by PBS in Seattle). Seven of her short plays have been in the Boston Theater Marathon, and eight were finalists in the National Ten-Minute Play Contest. Her plays have been anthologized by Baker's Plays, Heinemann, Charta Books, Smith and Kruas, and Meriwether Publishing. Ms. Alfaro is 72 years old, and has been a resident of Cambridge, MA for more than 40 years.
Jonathan Silverstein Off Broadway credits include The Temperamentals (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble); Lemon Sky, The Dining Room (Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Director; Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble), Tea and Sympathy, I Never Sang For My Father, and The Hasty Heart (Keen Company, Resident Director); Red Herring (New York International Fringe Festival, Outstanding Direction Award); Indiscretions (Phoenix Theatre Ensemble); Blueprint (Summer Play Festival); The Rats Are Getting Bigger (New York International Fringe Festival); Greater Messapia (Queens Theatre in the Park); and The Train Play (Clubbed Thumb). His regional theatre credits include The Old Globe, Cleveland Play House, Dorset Theatre Festival, and The Theatre at Monmouth. In the Boston area, he has worked at Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Cape Rep Theatre. Mr. Silverstein is a graduate of the MFA directing program at University of California, San Diego, an alumnus of The Drama League Director's Project, and a member of SDC. jonnysilver.com
Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois says, "Rosanna's play tells a beautiful, seldom told middle-age love story unfolding in our own backyard with the freshness and smart sensibility of a young independent filmmaker."
- Ross Bickell (To Kill a Mockingbird at the Huntington and The Iceman Cometh and Noises Off on Broadway) plays Jeremy, a college professor working on a novel and dealing with health problems;
- Alexis Camins (Resurrection at Diverse City/Clurman Theater and Hamlet at New York Classical Theater) plays Peter, Emily and Koji's 22-year-old son, who is preparing to move in with his girlfriend and her young daughter;
- Kippy Goldfarb (Wit at Persephone Theatre and Book of Days at The Lyric Stage Company) plays Emily, a painter grappling with her husband's Asian-American awakening and son's impending departure;
- Glenn Kubota (Snow Falling on Cedars at Centerstage and Rosa Loses Her Face at Queens Theatre In The Park/Electric Theatre Company) plays Koji, a theatre professor and director with a newly discovered interest in his Asian heritage; and
- Karen MacDonald (All My Sons and Bus Stop at the Huntington) plays Trish, Jeremy's out-of-work sister in search of her next opportunity.
Scenic design by Allen Moyer (Educating Rita at the Huntington, After Miss Julie and Grey Gardens on Broadway); costume design by Michael Krass (The Rivals and Ain't Misbehavin' at the Huntington); lighting design by David Lander (33 Variations and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo on Broadway); sound design by David Remedios (Circle Mirror Transformation and Prelude to a Kiss at the Huntington). Production Stage Manager is Carola Morrone LaCoste (Educating Rita and Vengeance is the Lord's for the Huntington) and Stage Manager is Ryan Anderson (The Blue Flower at American Repertory Theater).
Grand Patron: Boston University
30th Anniversary Sponsor: Carol G. Deane
Season Sponsor: J. David Wimberly
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, the serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.