Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre

By: Feb. 18, 2011
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The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis announces the Midwest Premiere of The Storytelling Ability of a Boy, by Carter W. Lewis, opening Thursday, March 3, 2011 in the Frank and Katrina Basile Theatre and playing through Sunday, March 27, 2011.

American high schools are more than just places kids go to have their intellectual curiosity extinguished. They are also, for many sensitive and socially awkward souls, something very like torture chambers. The Storytelling Ability of a Boy follows outcasts Peck and Dora and their English teacher, Caitlin, through a few weird weeks during Peck's senior year of high school in an unnamed American town.

The Storytelling Ability of a Boy is the story of an attractive, newly divorced teacher named Caitlin who moves to small town America in hopes of a fresh start. Her prize pupil is a gifted and imaginative teenager namEd Peck, who possesses an incredible talent for telling and writing stories. His intelligence and his sensitive nature unfortunately make him socially awkward at school. He is the student who is harassed, stuffed into lockers and beaten up by his peers. His best friend, and the object of his romantic interest, is a rebellious and brooding classmate named Dora, whose smart mouth and negative attitude make her less than desirable as a companion for Peck in the eyes of his teacher Caitlin.

"The language of this play is unique" says The Storytelling Ability of a Boy director and Phoenix Producing Director Bryan Fonseca. "Throughout the play, Lewis utilizes an interesting dramaturgical device that shifts the narrative between characters, creating a format that allows the audience to view the same story from diametrically opposite points of view." Ultimately, The Storytelling Ability of a Boy is about the power of friendship. No matter how smart or talented any of us are, each of us has felt at some point in our lives that we didn't belong. In perhaps the toughest world of all-high school-Peck and Dora have each other and their friendship can endure anything the bullies or the teachers or society can throw at them.
Raphael Schwartzman, Assistant Director and a participant in The Phoenix Theatre Assistant Director Intern program, stated "I am excited to work on The Storytelling Ability of a Boy because, like all good art, the play asks questions essential to the human condition: What does it mean to love? How many ways are there to love? This play asks those questions in a highly theatrical world in which the character conflicts transcend everyday action to encompass the struggle to control the actual story of their own lives."

Making her first appearance back at the Phoenix since last year's Yankee Tavern, actress Carrie Schlatter is Caitlin, the emotionally involved teacher with the mysterious past. The two teenagers are played by Phoenix newcomers and Butler University students Shane Tarplee (Peck) and Abby Hart (Dora).

In addition to Fonseca and Schwartzman, the creative team for The Storytelling Ability of a Boy includes Set Designer Bernie Killian, Lighting Designer Nolan Brokamp, Sound Designer Andrew Hopson and Costumer Ashley Kiefer.

About the Playwright

Carter W. Lewis is a free lance playwright, currently serving as Playwright-in-Residence at Washington University. He is the winner of several national playwriting awards including: The Julie Harris Playwriting Award, The State Theatre's Best New American Play Prize, The Cincinnati Playhouse Rosenthal New Play Prize ('96 & 2001), The New Dramatist Playwriting Award ('01), The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Award ('03) and he is a two time nominee for the American Theatre Critics Award. His published works include, Art Control, A Geometric Digression of the Species, Soft Click of a Switch, An Asian Jockey In Our Midst and The One-Eyed Man Is King. Other plays by Carter W. Lewis include; Golf With Alan Shepard, Women Who Steal, Men on the Take, While We Were Bowling, Longevity Abbreviated for Those Who Don't Have Time, American Storm, Ordinary Nation, Kid Peculiar, and Civil Disobedience. The Storytelling Ability of a Boy had its world premiere at Florida Stage in December 2009. Carter lives in St. Louis with his dog, Bucket.

Ticket Prices

All seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis and all Thursday tickets are $15, thanks to a grant by Duke Energy; Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances are $25. Performance times are: Thursdays at 7pm; Friday and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Doors open ½ hour prior to curtain for seating. The Phoenix Pub, located inside the theatre, offers beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, and bottled water, as well as treats, and all refreshments may be taken into the theatre and consumed during the performance.

For more information about any Phoenix Productions or to purchase tickets, call The Phoenix Theatre box office at 317.635.7529. Tickets may also be purchased online. The theatre's website is

ABOUT The Phoenix Theatre
"The Phoenix Theatre has cornered the market on hip new works." -- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional Contemporary Theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 28 years. An Equity house, the Theatre presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 82 world premieres in its quarter century. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Mainstage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank & Katrina Basile Theatre. The Phoenix Pub, located in the Basile Theatre, serves beer, wine, coffee, soft drinks, water, and treats, and patrons may take all refreshments into either theatre. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis' historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts & Theatre District. The Phoenix Theatre is a member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 500 individual donors.

Photo credit: Julie Curry

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre
Shane Tarplee and Abby Hart

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre
Shane Tarplee, Carrie Schlatter, and Abby Hart

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre
Shane Tarplee and Abby Hart

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre
Abby Hart, Carrie Schlatter, and Shane Tarplee

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre
Abby Hart

Photo Flash: The Stortelling Ability of a Boy at the Phoenix Theatre


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