Ken Urban's A GUIDE FOR THE HOMESICK to Play Huntington This Fall
The Huntington Theatre Company presents a provocative new drama A Guide for the Homesick, by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ken Urban and directed by Tony Award nominee Colman Domingo (Dragon King in Journey to the West and Jim in Well at the Huntington, Mr. Bones in The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway, and Victor Strand in AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead").
Ken Urban returns to the Huntington as an alumnus of the 2007 - 2009 Huntington Playwriting Fellows cohort. He was recently named senior lecturer and head of the playwriting program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A Guide for the Homesick runs from October 6 through November 4, 2017 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.
A Guide for the Homesick follows the story of two strangers - both from Boston - who meet by chance in a shabby Amsterdam hotel. Jeremy, a Harvard graduate and young aid worker originally from Newton, is returning from East Africa, and Teddy, a finance worker originally from Roxbury, is on an impromptu trip with a friend. The two men look for redemption as they reveal their pasts and confess their shared fear that they betrayed the people who needed them most. A passionate encounter becomes a chance to confront the truth in this new play by Ken Urban.
Urban was commissioned by Epic Theatre Ensemble, a theatre company devoted to social justice, to write a play about international aid workers. While researching for the commission he interviewed volunteers from Doctors Without Borders and learned about the difficulty aid workers have coming home and re-adjusting to life after their experiences overseas. "Many people talked about how a lot of training is provided prior to leaving the US, but nothing is offered when returning home," says Urban. "Even small things, like friends complaining about going to the grocery store or problems with the subway, would make them very angry because they didn't have a place to process what they had experienced. Those interviews helped me discover the story of Jeremy and Teddy. It would be the story of two strangers who become friends in a hotel room one night."
Urban's previous plays include Nibbler, Sense of an Ending, The Correspondent, A Future Perfect (Breaking Ground reading at the Huntington and world premiere at SpeakEasy Stage Company), The Awake, and The Happy Sad. His plays have been produced throughout New England, Off Broadway, in Chicago, and in London. "Urban is as brilliant and provocative as he is clever," writes OC Weekly. "It's undeniable that he's [...] a writer wholly unafraid to tackle anything."
"It is incredibly meaningful to me that my play about two friends from Boston will premiere here," says Urban. "The Huntington has supported my work since 2007 and being a part of this season feels like coming home."
"Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ken Urban is a rising star in American playwriting," says Artistic Director Peter DuBois. "I was enraptured by this play and the deeply romantic, highly political way it explores the connection between East Africa and Boston. Under the seductively theatrical direction of Colman Domingo, this play is a striking exploration of danger and desire."
Director Colman Domingo plays Victor Strand on AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead" and has directed Off Broadway and at myriad regional theatres throughout the United States. As an actor, Domingo has been nominated for a Tony and Olivier Award for The Scottsboro Boys and has won the Obie Award for Passing Strange and the Lucille Norton Award for A Boy and His Soul.
"Ken Urban is one of the most exciting writers and most generous of human beings," says director Colman Domingo. "The Huntington is a theatre where I've created groundbreaking work with Mary Zimmerman (Journey to the West) and with Lisa Kron (Well). What an exciting time to dive into the deep end of the pool with Ken's latest work A Guide for the Homesick. I am thrilled to be at the helm of this collaboration."
The cast includes McKinley Belcher III (Smart People and Invisible Man at the Huntington) as both Teddy, a finance worker originally from Roxbury, and Nicholas, a Ugandan man who receives medical treatment from Jeremy. Samuel H. Levine (Kill Floor and Alligator Off Broadway) plays both Jeremy, a Harvard-educated medical aid worker returning from a service residency in East Africa, and Ed, Teddy's friend who is soon to be married.
McKinley Belcher III (Teddy/Nicholas) previously appeared in Smart People and Invisible Man at the Huntington. He has appeared Off Broadway in The Royale (Lincoln Center Theatre), Fidelis (The Public Theater/NYSF), and Romeo & Juliet (Classic Stage Company). Regionally he has appeared in Macbeth (Shakespeare Theatre Company), the world premiere of Rear Window and Twelfth Night (Hartford Stage), Trouble in Mind (Two River Theater Company), As You Like It (Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles), the world premiere adaptation of Macbeth 1969 (Long Wharf Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird (Bay Street Theatre), and Medal of Honor Rag (Shadowland Theatre), among others. Mr. Belcher made his film debut in John Sayles' most recent independent feature Go for Sisters and just wrapped an indie film about Robert Mapplethorpe titled Mapplethorpe, directed by Sundance favorite Ondi Timoner. He currently recurs as Agent Trevor Evans in Jason Bateman's Netflix crime drama "Ozark." He spent two seasons as Samuel Diggs in Ridley Scott's PBS Civil War medical drama "Mercy Street" and appeared in David Simon's HBO miniseries "Show Me a Hero." His other television credits include "Chicago PD," "Madam Secretary," "Elementary," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "Louie," "Rizzoli & Isles," and "Law & Order: LA." Mr. Belcher has an MFA in acting from USC School of Dramatic Arts where he was the recipient of the Ava Greenwald Memorial Award and a BA from Belmont University.
Samuel H. Levine (Jeremy/Ed) has Off Broadway credits that include Kill Floor (LCT3, directed by Lila Neugebauer) and Alligator (New Georges and the Sol Project). His film credits include The Transfiguration, Indignation, and Yinz. His television credits include "Big Dogs" (Choice Films), "Red Oaks" (Amazon), and "Elementary" (CBS). Mr. Levine attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and studied acting at the California Institute of the Arts.
Ken Urban (Playwright) is a playwright, screenwriter, and television writer based in New York. He is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow and his plays include Nibbler, Sense of an Ending, The Correspondent, A Future Perfect, The Awake, and The Happy Sad. His plays have been produced in New York at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Amoralists Theatre Company, 59E59 Theaters, Summer Play Festival at The Public Theater/NYSF, and Studio 42. His work has also been produced at Theatre503 in London, First Floor Theater in Chicago, and SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston. He has developed new plays at the Huntington, Playwrights Horizons, Theatre @ Boston Court, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Donmar Warehouse (London), and with The Civilians. Awards, fellowships, and residencies include the Weissberger Playwriting Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Headlands Artist Residency, Djerassi Artist Residency, Dramatist Guild Fellowship, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship. Mr. Urban is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and an Affiliated Writer at the Playwrights' Center. He wrote the screenplay for the feature-film adaptation of The Happy Sad, which screened internationally at over 25 film festivals. His television pilot "The Art of Listening" was optioned by ITV/Assembly Entertainment and is currently in development. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service in the United States and Methuen in the United Kingdom and Europe, and have been featured in numerous monologue anthologies. His band Occurrence released its latest album, The Past Will Last Forever, in the fall of 2016.
Colman Domingo (Director) is a Tony and Olivier Award-nominated artist. His most recent directing work includes the West Coast premiere of Barbecue by Robert O'Hara for Geffen Playhouse, Seven Guitars by August Wilson for the Actors Theater of Louisville, and the Off Broadway Alliance Award-winning musical A Band of Angels for The New York City Children's Theater. Mr. Domingo has directed for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Working Theater, and New Professional Theatre and Intersection for the Arts. As a playwright, his plays include Dot (Samuel French), Wild with Happy (Dramatist Play Service), A Boy and His Soul (Oberon Books), The Brother(s), Up Jumped Springtime, and Mission of a Saint. He has been commissioned by the American Conservatory Theater, People's Light and Theatre Company, Scott Rudin Productions, and The Public Theater/NYSF. His work has been produced at The Public Theater/NYSF, Vineyard Theatre, Sundance Theater Lab, Humana Festival of New American Plays, New York Stage and Film, American Conservatory Theater, Tricycle Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, Thick Description Theatre Company in San Francisco, Theatre Rhinoceros, Baltimore Center Stage, Detroit Public Theatre, and Everyman Theatre, among others. His theatre career spans the West End, Broadway, Off Broadway, Australia, France, and regional theatres across America. Mr. Domingo stars on television as Victor Strand in AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead." His film career includes Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg, The Butler directed by Lee Daniels, Selma directed by Ava DuVernay, The Birth of a Nation directed by Nate Parker, Passing Strange directed by Spike Lee, and True Crime directed by Clint Eastwood. He is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel, Obie, Audelco, and GLAAD Awards for his work in the theatre.
A Guide for the Homesick features scenic design by William Boles (King of the Yees at the Goodman Theatre); costume design by Kara Harmon (The Mountaintop at Trinity Repertory Theatre); lighting design by Russell H. Champa (Now or Later at the Huntington and China Doll on Broadway); and sound design by Lindsay Jones (The Brother/Sister Plays at The Public Theater). Production stage manager is Adele Nadine Traub; stage manager is Jeremiah Mullane.
IF YOU GO:
A Guide for the Homesick by Ken Urban
October 6 - November 4, 2017
Select Evenings: Tues. - Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. - Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm
Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm
Days and times vary; see complete schedule above.
Press Opening: Wednesday, October 18, 6:30pm. RSVP online.
At South End / Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston
Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale: online at huntingtontheatre.org; by phone at 617 266 0800; or in person at the Huntington Avenue Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston's South End.
Select discounts apply: $5 off: seniors (65+); $30 "35 Below" tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required); $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)
SPECIAL EVENTS IN CONJUNCTION WITH A GUIDE FOR THE HOMESICK:
POST-SHOW AUDIENCE CONVERSATIONS
After select Fri. - Sun. evening, Wed. matinee, Sat. matinee, and Sun. matinee performances throughout the season. This is an opportunity for audience members to discuss what they have just seen led by members of the Huntington staff.
LGTBQ NIGHT AT A GUIDE FOR THE HOMESICK
Thursday, October 12 after the 7:30pm performance
Join the LGTBQ community for a special night at A Guide for the Homesick followed by a post-show after party.
A CONVERSATION WITH Timothy LongMAN FROM BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Saturday, October 14 after the 2pm performance
Director of the African Studies Center at Boston University Timothy Longman will speak about his work and its shared themes with A Guide for the Homesick after the 2pm performance on Saturday, October 14.
Timothy Longman's current research focuses on state-society relations in Africa, looking particularly at human rights, transitional justice, democratization, civil society, the politics of race and ethnicity, religion and politics, and women and politics. His new book, "Commanded by the Devil": Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda will be published by Cambridge University Press, and is based on his field research in Rwanda in 1992-1993 and 1995-1996. It argues that Rwanda's churches became implicated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide because of their historic links with the state, their active engagement in ethnic politics, and the ongoing cooperative ties between leaders of the churches and the state.
HUMANITIES FORUM WITH DR. STEPHANIE KAYDEN, DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY MEDICINE FELLOWSHIP AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
Sunday, October 15 after the 2pm performance
Explore the context and significance of A Guide for the Homesick with Dr. Stephanie Kayden from Harvard Medical School following the 2pm performance on October 15.
Dr. Stephanie Kayden is the director of the International Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and an instructor in emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. As director of the Humanitarian Studies Initiative at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, she trains graduate level students as well as working professionals in global health and humanitarian work. She serves on the editorial board for the American Medical Association's Journal of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Dr. Kayden received her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Harvard University and her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She completed residency training in emergency medicine at Yale, then a fellowship in international emergency medicine at Harvard. She has a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Kayden helped develop emergency medical care in Bhutan, Fiji, Nepal, Japan, Germany, Serbia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Israel and the Palestinian Territories. She provided disaster relief to survivors of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan, helped rebuild health systems for Burundian refugees in Tanzania, and led a team to improve rural public health in Uganda, and published research on the effects of conflict on health in Liberia. She has taught health and human rights issues in more than a dozen countries. In 2010, Dr. Kayden helped establish a field hospital for survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.
Thursday, October 26 after the 7:30pm performance
Wednesday, November 1 after the 2 pm performance
Meet participating members of the cast of A Guide for the Homesick and ask them your questions at the Actors Forum following the performance.
A CONVERSATION WITH DR. VINCENZO BOLLETTINO FROM THE HARVARD HUMANITARIAN INITIATIVE
Sunday, October 29 after the 2pm performance
Join Dr. Vincenzo Bollettino, director of the Resilient Communities Program at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, for a talkback about the themes in A Guide for the Homesick after the 2pm performance on Sunday, October 29.
Dr. Bollettino is the director of Resilient Communities Program at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Bollettino served for five years as executive director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Dr. Bollettino has 20 years of professional and academic experience in international politics, humanitarian action, civil-military engagement in emergencies, and the security of humanitarian aid workers. He has spent that past 14 years of his career at Harvard University in administration, teaching, and research. Current research focuses on civil military engagement during humanitarian emergencies, the security of humanitarian aid workers, and on the professionalization of the humanitarian aid field. Dr. Bollettino has managed several large training and policy development initiatives related to international humanitarian law, responsibility to protect, and peace building operations and has designed security reporting systems and program evaluations for field security measures in complex emergencies. He has authored several publications related to disaster management and humanitarian assistance, and has consulted with numerous international nongovernmental organization and UN agencies. He has taught courses on research design, peace building, and international politics at the Harvard Extension School. Dr. Bollettino came to Harvard University on a post-doctoral fellowship with the program on non-violent sanctions and cultural survival at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He completed his PhD at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.