Cincinnati Playhouse to Present THE NORTH POOL, 5/3-6/1

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Cincinnati Playhouse to Present THE NORTH POOL, 5/3-6/1

Provocative. Intense. Engrossing. These are all words that have been used to describe Rajiv Joseph's exciting new play THE NORTH POOL, which closes the Playhouse's 2013-14 season May 3 to June 1. The two-person thriller is a riveting psychological drama that promises to keep audiences guessing until its final moments.

Khadim, a Middle Eastern-born transfer student, has no idea why he's been called into the office of his high school's vice principal in the final hours before the start of spring break. Vice Principal Danielson certainly doesn't help him to understand, as he skirts around the issue with questions about Khadim's family and whether or not Khadim has experienced any trouble making friends in his recent transition from a small private school to a large public one.

But, as the interrogation continues, the investigation of a seemingly minor school infraction soon turns to questions of a decidedly more dangerous nature. As Khadim's detention plays out in virtually real time, both men launch accusations that make it clear they know far more about each other than they originally let on. With secret after secret exposed, the audience is left to wonder who (if anyone) is really telling the truth, while the suspenseful revelations that are unearthed threaten to change the lives of both men forever.

"The script of THE NORTH POOL is beautifully crafted and layered with intrigue," says Playhouse Associate Artist Timothy Douglas, who will direct the play. "It is an exceedingly well-structured play evoking the composition skills of master playwrights like Harold Pinter or Peter Schaffer - and yet, it remains uniquely American and wholly specific to Rajiv's sensibilities. It is a play filled with mystery and psychological stimulation, and it unfolds in a theatrical build as pure drama."

Rajiv Joseph grew up in Cleveland and earned his bachelor's degree in creative writing from Miami University in 1996. He spent three years in Senegal working with the Peace Corps before heading to New York University's graduate dramatic writing program and then the Cherry Lane Theatre, where his mentor was another playwright with Ohio roots, Cincinnati native Theresa Rebeck.

Since that time, Joseph has become one of the country's most celebrated young playwrights. The New York Times called him "an artist of original talent." He was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2010 for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which enjoyed a limited Broadway run starring Robin Williams in 2011. In 2013, Joseph was honored with the Steinberg Playwright Award, given every other year to the most gifted, up-and-coming playwrights in the United States in recognition of the promise they hold for the American theatre. Joseph also has written for television's Nurse Jackie, and he just made his feature film debut with the script for Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner.

"The most striking thing about the emergence of this gifted playwright is his unfussy
self-confidence," says Douglas, who directed Silk Road Rising's world premiere production of Joseph's play The Lake Effect in Chicago. "It's rare that I work with writers who are so solidly sure about what they've written. And yet, within his unshakable sense of assurance, he is also completely malleable during the creative process. As a result, I found ours to be one of the most simpatico collaborations I've experienced to date."

THE NORTH POOL won the prestigious Will Glickman Award, given annually to the author of the best play to make its world premiere in the San Francisco Bay Area. The show debuted at TheatreWorks in March 2011 before an off-Broadway run at Vineyard Theatre last year.

The cast of THE NORTH POOL includes Ted Deasy as Dr. Danielson and Eli Gelb as Khadim Asmaan. The creative team includes Junghyun Georgia Lee as the set designer, Gordon DeVinney as the costume designer, Catherine Girardi as the lighting designer and Matthew M. Nielson as the sound designer. Andrea L. Shell is the stage manager.

The production honors the support of Richard and Teddie Curry. Oswald Co. is the artist sponsor. Additional support has been provided by The Eleanora C.U. Alms Trust, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee.

Prices for THE NORTH POOL range from $30 to $75, depending on performance date and seat location. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Teen and student tickets are $25 each. Previews are at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 7 p.m. Sunday, May 4; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 7. The official opening night is Thursday, May 8, at 8 p.m.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays.

Special performances include free Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with cast members and others associated with the production after the show. Meet the Artists performances are at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 21; and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 29. The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.

Tickets to THE NORTH POOL are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

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