Cleveland Play House's INFORMED CONSENT Takes to the Second Stage, 4/23-5/18
The 2013-2014 season at Cleveland Play House (CPH) continues with the compelling world premiere production of Deborah Zoe Laufer's Informed Consent. Co-produced with Geva Theatre Center, this incredibly thought-provoking production is inspired by the real life court case between the Havasupai Indian tribe and Arizona State University, and sparks an intriguing debate on both ethicality and morality. Directed by Sean Daniels and Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth, Informed Consent will serve as the centerpiece to CPH's 2014 New Ground Theatre Festival and will run from April 23 - May 18 in the Second Stage.
CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley adds: "In 2013, CPH was incredibly fortunate to include a reading of Informed Consent among our New Ground Theatre Festival pieces. It was there that we began a relationship with the talented Deborah Zoe Laufer and were drawn in by her smart, topical, and searingly relevant play Informed Consent. We knew this was a play that had to be fully produced and performed at CPH and we are very proud that it is the centerpiece of our 2014 New Ground Festival."
Informed Consent was inspired by a news story that ran in The New York Times. In the early 1990's, the Havasupai Tribe, who dwell in the Grand Canyon, gave their consent to a professor at Arizona State University to test their blood after diabetes began plaguing their tribe. Unbeknownst to them, another ASU professor also used their blood to research schizophrenia, inbreeding and migration patterns - something for which they did NOT give their consent. This was especially devastating to the tribe considering their belief that a person cannot pass to the afterlife without their blood.
Are we defined by our biology or by our memories? And when is knowledge actually power? These are a few of the questions raised throughout Informed Consent which tells the story of genetic anthropologist, Jillian, who has devoted her life to finding a cure for early-onset Alzheimer's, the inherited disease that took her mother, and will soon overtake her and perhaps eventually her own daughter. When Jillian is brought on to conduct a study on diabetes in the isolated Havasupai tribe, she runs a series of unauthorized tests. Jillian's desire to discover information that will aid her battle against Alzheimer's soon clashes with the Tribe's beliefs, and Jillian's own ethics are thrown into question.
Informed Consent Cast
FAJER AL-KAISI (Two/Graham) appeared as Zemar in The Boy Who Danced on Air at New World Stages off-Broadway. Regional credits include Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and Aeneas in Troilus and Cressida, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Tariq in Tennis in Nablus, Stageworks; Musa in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.); Shahid in Aftermath, New York Theatre Workshop and ArKtype world tour; Ashraf in Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes, InterAct Theatre Company; Girl Blog from Iraq, Dallas Theater Center; and Khalid in Omnium Gatherum at Zach Theatre. Film and television includes The Callipine, The Jew of Malta, Karim, I'll Come Running, Ahmed Al Fatwah, Time Bomb, The Blacklist, Person of Interest, What Would You Do?, Onion News Network, Law & Order, Delocated, Nurse Jackie and 30 Rock. Al-Kaisi has narrated audiobooks Beachhead, My Brother's Keeper, Atmospheres Apollinaires, Act III in Patagonia, Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction, On Language (audible.com), The Ark of Humanity and Destiny Calls.
GILBERT CRUZ (Four/Ken/Lawyer) recently appeared in Much Ado About Nothing in the role of Antonio at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Radiance as Paddy at Axial Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, Merrimack Rep, McCarter Theatre Center, Florida Stage, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Alliance Theatre, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Portland Stage and Kansas City Rep. Cruz is an associate artist at INTAR in New York and has performed at HERE Arts Center, Cherry Lane, Ma-yi Theater Company and The Ensemble Studio Theatre. Film and television includes Sex and the City (film); Trouble in the Heights; Jack, Jules, Esther and Me; Girls; Nurse Jackie; Blue Bloods; Person of Interest; Law & Order; and The Cosby Show.
TINA FABRIQUE (Five/Dean Hagen/Mother/Grandmother) appeared at Cleveland Play House as Ella Fitzgerald in Ella, Mother Vera in Abyssinia and Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. Broadway and national tours include Dessa Rose; Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk; Ragtime; Ella; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Once on This Island; Harlem Song; Gospel at Colonus; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (with Ann-Margret); The Wiz; and South Pacific (with Robert Goulet). Off-Broadway appearances include 70, Girls, 70 (Encores!); Angel Levine; and as a soloist at Radio City Music Hall. Regional credits include Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Hairspray, Trouble in Mind, The Old Settler, Crowns, Comedy of Errors, Women of Brewster Place, Constant Star and Spunk. Television includes multiple episodes of Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Fabrique sang the theme songs for the acclaimed PBS series Reading Rainbow (along with the recently released companion app) and the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom.
LARISSA FASTHORSE (Three/Arella/Natalie) is best known these days as a playwright and choreographer, but she began her career as a ballet-dancer-turned-actress. She transitioned out of dancing through the role of Iris Kelly, the bitchy ballerina, in the first European tour of Fame: The Musical. She returned to her home in Santa Monica, California, and originated roles in new plays at local theatres, including The Chance, Beverly Hills Playhouse, the Autry's Wells Fargo Theatre and Disneyland. But it was her film and television roles as Waitress, Home Finance Woman and Magical Ballerina that inspired her to stop acting and start writing. Today she is represented by Jonathan Mills at Paradigm Talent Agency, New York, and she works with theatres all over the country. She is a proud member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation and is thrilled that Sean Daniels lured her back onto the stage. For more, see www.hoganhorsestudio.com.
JESSICA WORTHAM (One/Jillian) appeared off-Broadway in Green Girl at The Public Theater and Bone Portraits at Soho Rep. Regionally, she has performed in Educating Rita at Florida Repertory Theatre; A Christmas Story, Crime and Punishment, Twelfth Night, and Humana Festival premieres of The Ruby Sunrise and Backstory for Actors Theatre of Louisville; The Understudy and Black Pearl Sings! (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award - Best Leading Performance, Female) for San Jose Repertory Theatre; Boston Marriage at Capital Rep; and The Ruby Sunrise and A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep. International theatre credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at English Theatre Frankfurt and Crimes of the Heart at Vienna's English Theatre. She can also be seen this season on FX's The Americans. Wortham received her Master of Fine Arts from Brown University/Trinity Rep.
Informed Consent Creative Team
DEBORAH ZOE LAUFER (Playwright) was previously at Cleveland Play House for a 2013 New Ground Theatre Festival reading of Informed Consent. Laufer is recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, The Lilly Award and has twice received the LeCompte du Noüy grant from the Lincoln Center Foundation. Her works include Leveling Up (which just finished playing at Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Sirens, Out of Sterno, The Last Schwartz, Gulf of Westchester, Fortune, Meta and Miniatures. Her play End Days was awarded the American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg citation and appeared at Ensemble Studio Theatre through a Sloan Foundation Grant. End Days has been produced in Germany and Russia, is listed in The Burns Mantle Yearbook as one of the best regional plays of 2008, and is published by Smith & Kraus in The Best Plays of 2008. Her works have been produced across the country, including Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, Portland Stage, Florida Stage, Marin Theatre Company, and The Hippodrome Theatre, with grants from the Edgerton Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her works have been developed at PlayPenn, The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Missoula Colony, The Cherry Lane Alternative, The Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, New Georges, The Lark Play Development Center, Asolo Repertory Theatre and the Baltic Playwrights Conference. She's received a National New Play Network rolling world premiere and an NNPN commission. She is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and Dramatists Guild. Please see www.deborahzoelaufer.com.
SEAN DANIELS (Director) directed All Hail Hurricane Gordo at Cleveland Play House in 2008. He has directed The 39 Steps, The Book Club Play, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, BOB, All Your Questions Answered, The Race of the Ark Tattoo and Noodle Doodle Box at Geva Theatre Center, where he is the artist-at-large/director of artistic engagement. Other theatres include The Kennedy Center, London's St. James Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, Swine Palace, The Neo-Futurists, Aurora Theatre Company, Centerstage, Crowded Fire and the C venues at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Daniels has developed work at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Baltic
American Playwrights Conference (Hiiumaa, Estonia), Ars Nova, PlayPenn, Lark Theater, The Playwrights' Center PlayLabs, Asolo Rep, Goodspeed, Weston Playhouse, The Blank Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Magic Theatre and others. He spent four years as the associate artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he directed 17 productions, including five Humana Festivals. He is also the former associate artistic director/resident director of California Shakespeare Theater. Formerly, Daniels spent a decade as artistic director and co-founder of Dad's Garage Theater Company in Atlanta. His next project is a musical titled THE LION, which will start at Manhattan Theatre Club in NYC, then transfer to the West End in London before launching on a tour of theaters around the country.
The design team for Informed Consent includes MICHAEL RAIFORD (Scenic Designer), AMANDA L. DOHERTY (Costume Designer), BRIAN J. LILIENTHAL (Lighting Designer), MATT CALLAHAN (Sound Designer). Stage Manager for this production of Informed Consent will be JENNIFER MATHESON COLLINS.
Informed Consent Special Events
Season Extra: "Informed" Cleveland
April 08, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:30pm
CPH is partnering with our area's many medical schools and institutions to connect Informed Consent with physicians-in-training through their curriculum, and to lead a community conversation around the many medical and ethical questions raised by the play.
Class: Narrative Bioethics
Professor: Michael Blackie
Organization: Associate Professor of Biomedical Humanities at Hiram College and
Co-Director at the Center for Literature and Medicine.
Description: Professor Blackie will be using Informed Consent to discuss patient care in his course Narrative Bioethics.
Class: Human Research Ethics Seminar
Organization: Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
Description: Dean Householder will be using Informed Consent as one of his readings for his seminar, and is basing the major research paper for the term on the Havasupai case.
"Special Saturday Edition" of Tech Tuesday: Informed Consent
April 19, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Behind-the-Scenes: New Ground Theatre Festival
April 26, 2014 @ 11:30am - 1:00pm
From the Mainstage Centerpiece Production to lines fresh from the playwright's pen, and everything in between, New Ground puts new play development center stage. Join Informed Consent playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer, as well as our 2014 Roe Green Award winner and nationally-known local playwrights, for this revealing conversation about new work.
15th Humanism & the Healing Arts Multidisciplinary Conference
April 29, 2014 @ 1:00pm - 3:00pm
CPH has joined forces with the Summa Health System for this one-day symposium which, like Informed Consent, combines Art and Science in a truly unique way. Join CPH artistic staff and Informed Consent cast, as well as a diverse group of medical professionals, for this one-of-a-kind event.
Presentation and Panel Discussion: Presentation by Cleveland Play House staff and actors from the play Informed Consent by Deborah Zoe Laufer
Kirk A Stiffler, MD, MPH, FACEP - Director, Emergency Medicine Research Center and Chair, Institutional Review Board, Summa Health System.
Cristie Cole, JD, Fellow, Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics, Member of the Mohawk Nation (aka Akwesasne). Cleveland Play House staff and actors.
The Summa Health System designates this live activity for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) TM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The Summa Health System is accredited by the Ohio State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Talkback: Informed Consent
May 04, 2014 @ 4:30pm - 5:00pm
May 06, 2014 @ 9:00pm - 9:30pm
May 11, 2014 @ 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Stay after the show to continue the conversation our plays start! TalkBacks offer the chance to interact with the cast, creative team, local experts and fellow playgoers in an open and lively Q&A about the play and the questions it raises.
Pre-show Conversations - Free for all ticketholders!
Free for all ticket holders! These fun and interactive 25-minute conversations happen right before the show in the Allen Theatre Complex. Pull back the curtain early and connect with the play in an engaging and relaxed setting, beginning 45 minutes before every subscription performance.
Informed Consent will take place April 23 - May 18, 2014 in the Second Stage at PlayhouseSquare. Tickets range in price from $45-$72 each. Students under the age of 25 with a valid ID will be offered a special $15 ticket price. Tickets are also just $25 for anyone under age 35, sponsored by Scene Magazine. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit www.clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.
Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,300 CPH productions. Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland.