Huntington/Coolidge's STAGE & SCREEN to Continue with JUAN OF THE DEAD, BECOMING CUBA, 3/10

Huntington/Coolidge's STAGE & SCREEN to Continue with JUAN OF THE DEAD, BECOMING CUBA, 3/10

Stage & Screen, a collaboration between Coolidge Corner Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company that explores the depictions of shared themes in Huntington productions and acclaimed films continues its second season on Monday, March 10 at 7pm with the 2011 Cuban zombie comedy Juan of the Dead. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Becoming Cuba playwright Melinda Lopez and director M. Bevin O'Gara moderated by Huntington dramaturg Charles Haugland.

Tickets to Juan of the Dead are $10.25 / $7.25 for Coolidge members (with member ID) and Huntington Theatre Company subscribers (with promo code) and may be purchased online at coolidge.org or at the Coolidge box office, located at 290 Harvard Street, Brookline.

Tickets to the Huntington's production of Becoming Cuba (March 28 - May 3, 2014 at the Calderwood Pavilion/BCA) are available at huntingtontheatre.org/becomingcuba.

Hailed by The New York Times as a "daringly irreverent satire" and "an improbable landmark in the gradual opening of Cuban culture," Juan of the Dead, written and directed by Alejandro Brugués, was a sensation when it premiered in Cuba in 2011. Shot on location in Havana on a shoestring budget, the film imagines the island overrun by zombies, which, as one of the film's lead characters cheekily points out, is not too far from the reality that Cubans face every day.

In Becoming Cuba, it is 1898 Cuba on the eve of the Spanish-American War. Spirited widow Adela runs a pharmacy, indifferent to the mounting conflict around her. But when the rebellion comes home to Havana, she must choose between loyalty to country or to family. By turns funny, steamy, and political, this powerful new drama from Playwright-in-Residence Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew) asks whether freedom is something we all want. Huntington Associate Producer M. Bevin O'Gara directs.

Despite the vastly different settings and tones, the two works are connected in myriad ways. "From the War for Independence to the country's complex relations with Spain and the US, Juan of the Dead and Becoming Cuba use a lot of the same tropes," reflects playwright Lopez. "The protagonists of each are cut from the same cloth. They are smart, scrappy, and practical survivors who are at their most vibrant when faced with impossible obstacles and who make a stand against tyranny."

Melinda Lopez (Playwright) is the Huntington's inaugural playwright-in-residence and a past Huntington Playwriting Fellow. Her play Sonia Flew (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards, dir. Nicholas Martin) inaugurated the Huntington's home for new work, the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, in 2004. It has subsequently been produced at Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Laguna Playhouse, the Summer Playwrights Festival (NY), the Milagro Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and many others, and was broadcast on NPR's "The Play's The Thing!" Other plays include Caroline in Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Orchids to Octopi (IRNE Award, Central Square Theatre, commissioned by the National Institute of Health), Gary (Steppenwolf's First Look Repertory of New Work, Boston Playwrights' Theatre), Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse), a new translation of Blood Wedding (Suffolk University), God Smells Like a Roast Pig (Women on Top Festival, Elliot Norton Award - Outstanding Solo Performance), Midnight Sandwich / Medianoche (Coconut Grove Playhouse), The Order of Things (CentaStage, Kennedy Center Fund for New Plays), and How Do You Spell Hope? (Underground Railway Theatre). She is among the first cohort to receive three-year-playwright-in-residency grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and was the first recipient of the Charlotte Woolard Award, given by the Kennedy Center to a "promising new voice in American Theatre." Ms. Lopez is also an actress, having appeared at the Huntington in Our Town, Persephone, A Month in the Country, and The Rose Tattoo. She has appeared in regional theatres across the country and also works in film and radio. She has served as a panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Cambridge Arts Panel and has enjoyed residencies with Sundance, the Lark, the New York Theatre Workshop, and Harvard University. She is a founding member of Munroe Saturday Nights, which produces free high quality arts performances in the Boston area. Ms. Lopez teaches theatre and performance at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University. She makes her home in Boston.

M. Bevin O'Gara (Director) is an Associate Producer at the Huntington Theatre Company where she will be directing Melinda Lopez's Becoming Cuba this spring. Recent credits include Tribes and Clybourne Park (SpeakEasy Stage Company); You for Me For You, Love Person, and The Pain and the Itch (Company One); Matt and Ben (Central Square Theater); Two Wives in India and Gary (Boston Playwrights' Theatre); 2.5 Minute Ride (Downstage @ New Rep); Othello and The Crucible (New Rep On Tour); Melancholy Play (Holland Productions); Bat Boy: The Musical (Metro Stage); Tattoo Girl, Painting You, and Artifacts (Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop); and ANTI-KISS (3 Monkeys Theatrical Productions). She has also worked with New Repertory Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre of Dublin, and the Actors Centre of Australia. She has a BFA from Boston University in Theatre Studies.

This season's Stage & Screen series has included the James Spader/Maggie Gyllenhall film Secretary paired with artists from Venus in Fur and Sidney Lumet's award-winning film Network and a conversation with The Power of Duff playwright Stephen Belber. Last season's series included Gore Vidal's The Best Man and a conversation with Now or Later playwright Christopher Shinn, Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and a conversation with Invisible Man adaptor Oren Jacoby and WGBH Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin, and Fritz Lang's M and a conversation with artists from Ryan Landry's "M." Additional Stage & Screen events will be announced at a later date. More information at coolidge.org/programs/stage-screen.

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