Marin Theatre Company to Present Lauren Gunderson's I AND YOU, 10/10-11/3
Marin Theatre Company continues its 2013-14 Season with the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of I and You by San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson. Running for a limited time from October 10 to November 3, this highly anticipated new play written by a "rising national talent" (Creative Loafing) will be directed by Sarah Rasmussen, the resident director for Oregon Shakespeare Festival's BLACK SWAN Lab, and feature local actor Jessica Lynn Carroll and New York actor Devion McArthur. Opening night is Tuesday, October 15. Based in Mill Valley, MTC is a 47-year old professional nonprofit theater that is a destination for exhilarating performances, inspired new American plays and powerful theatrical experiences.
"After working with Lauren Gunderson on two School Tours and two New Play Readings, we are delighted to have found a project to produce with this amazing playwright who we've admired for many years," artistic director Jasson Minadakis said. "I and You is one of the most uplifting and hopeful stories we have presented on our stage. Gunderson masterfully uses the words of Walt Whitman to inspire her high school-age characters and to lift them into a realm of expression all their own. The way the characters express a sense of self is so much of what happens when you're 17. It's about figuring out who you are, self-definition and self-identity, at a moment in your life when there is almost unlimited potential."
Only in high school would two completely unconnected people - cranky, chronically ill Caroline and levelheaded basketball star Anthony - be paired to collaborate on a project to deconstruct a poem about the interconnectivity of everything. But as the two teens cram to finish their presentation on Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, they learn not only how to work together, but just how fundamentally they complement each other. Gunderson's previous scripts have been praised for their "excellent balance of intelligent, pointed humor" (The Daily Californian), for being "exceptionally well crafted, emotionally grounded and thought-provoking" (TheatreStorm); and for "not only making each character adorably quirky but engendering empathy for them as well" (The Week Magazine).
South Coast Repertory, which also commissioned and premiered Gunderson's Emilie: La Marquise Du Chaltelet Defends Her Life Tonight (2009) and Silent Sky (2011), commissioned I and You. The play received readings at SCR's Pacific Playwrights Festival in April 2012 and as part of Magic Theatre's new play development "Magic @ the Costume Shop" program. Made possible in part by the National New Play Network's Continued Life of New Plays Fund, this is the first production of the Rolling World Premiere of I and You, which will also receive productions during the 2013/14 season at the Olney Theatre Center in Olney, Maryland, from February 26 to March 23, 2014, and Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana, from March 13 to April 14, 2014. NNPN is the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. MTC has previously participated in two other NNPN Rolling World Premieres, including Aditi Kapil's Love Person in 2009 and Sharr White's Sunlight in 2010, and will kick off the Rolling World Premiere of Carson Kreitzer'sLasso of Truth in February 2014.
MTC has had a relationship with Gunderson since 2007, producing public staged readings of Silent Sky (2011) and Rock Hill: Southern Gothic (2009) as part of its New Play Reading Series, as well as traveling productions of her adaptation of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (2008, 2009) for its theater for young audiences School Tour program. Since the Atlanta native moved to San Francisco a few years ago, she has had increasing success in the Bay Area, receiving the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Exit, Pursued by a Bear with Crowded Fire Theatre in August 2011, regional premiere of Emilie... withSymmetry Theatre Company in January 2012, world premiere of Toil and Trouble at Impact Theatre in November 2012 and world premiere of By and By atShotgun Players in May 2013. During the remainder of the 2013/14 Season, her plays The Taming (world premiere, Crowded Fire), Silent Sky (regional premiere, TheatreWorks) and Bauer (world premiere and commission, SF Playhouse) will be produced locally in addition to I and You.