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Lantern Theater Company to Present 36 VIEWS


Lantern Theater Company closes its 2015/16 season with the Philadelphia premiere of 36 Views by award-winning playwright Naomi Iizuka. Directed by longtime Lantern artistic collaborator Peter DeLaurier and featuring scenic, sound, and projection design by Jorge Cousineau, 36 Views runs May 26 - June 26, 2016. Theater critics and members of the press are invited to attend opening night on Wednesday, June 1 at 7 p.m. [A full schedule of performances and related special events is included in the fact sheet below.]

In 36 Views, a rare and valuable work of art falls into the hands of ambitious art dealer Darius Wheeler (Joe Guzmán). Passion and turmoil overflow from the pages of this ancient Japanese pillow book, changing the lives of Wheeler and his colleague, the magnetic East Asian art specialist Setsuko Hearn (Joanna Liao). The mystery unfolds in a series of 36 scenes that expertly weave Eastern artistic traditions and Western theatrical conventions. 36 Views constantly changes its point of view, revealing surprising perspectives on the worlds of art, commerce, and desire.

Inspired by "36 Views of Mt. Fuji," the famous set of color woodblocks by 19th century Japanese artist Hokusai, 36 Views echoes its namesake's shifting perspectives and asks: is there one view that can capture the totality of its object, or is it only in the collection of viewpoints and their expressions that the truth can be identified? "It's a play about how difficult it is to arrive at some fixed, unchanging truth about a human being, or a work of art, or a love affair," explains playwright Naomi Iizuka. "What we thought was the truth changes. Our perceptions shift, and it's complicated. People are complicated. Why they make certain choices is at times contradictory, and I wanted to build a play that captured in its actual form all those contradictions."

"36 Views is a fascinating play that adds both mystery and clarity to the story though the layering on of multiple perspectives. As we learn more clearly the external motives of the characters, their essential identities become more and more difficult to define," says Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "Our production will employ a bold mix of scenic, lighting, and projection design to underscore and counterpoint Iizuka's brilliant text."

Tickets for 36 Views are $24-$39 and are available online at or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Student tickets are $15 in advance; $10 student rush tickets are available 10 minutes before curtain with valid ID. Discounts are available for theater industry professionals ($10 in advance or at the door), seniors, groups of 10 or more, and U.S. military personnel. Lantern Theater Company is located at St. Stephen's Theater, 10th & Ludlow Sts. in Center City Philadelphia.

About the Playwright

Naomi Iizuka is a graduate of Yale University and earned her MFA in Playwriting at the University of California at San Diego, where she now directs that program. Born in Japan to a Japanese father and a Latina mother, Iizuka spent her childhood living all over the globe, including time in Indonesia, the Netherlands, Washington, D.C. Iizuka's other plays include 17 Reasons (Why), Strike-Slip, Anon(ymous), and War of the Worlds, a collaboration with Anne Bogart and SITI Company. Her work has been produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre Company, Soho Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, NYSF/Joseph Papp Public Theater, Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Next Wave Festival." She is a recipient of the PEN/Laura Pels Award, a Joyce Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship, and a Jerome Fellowship.

About the Cast

The cast of 36 Views includes several Lantern veterans: Joe Guzmán (Arcadia) as art dealer Darius Wheeler, Joanna Liao (The Taming of the Shrew) as East Asian art specialist Setsuko Hearn, Stephen Novelli (A Skull in Connemara) as Owen Matthiesen, and Angela Smith (Arcadia) as Elizabeth Newman Orr. Lantern newcomer David Pica appears in the role of John Bell. Bi Jean Ngo makes her Lantern stage debut as Claire Tsong, a restorer of Asian artifacts. Ngo is a founding member and creative director of PAPA (Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists), and has served as a teaching artist in Lantern's Illumination education and outreach program since 2012. She and the Lantern are participants in the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships, funded by the William & Eva Fox Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group.

About the Creative Team

36 Views will be directed by longtime Lantern artistic collaborator and multiple Barrymore Award-winner Peter DeLaurier, whose previous Lantern directing credits include The Island and Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, both by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. DeLaurier's many Lantern performances include twice portraying The Librarian in Underneath the Lintel by Glenn Berger (2003 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Leading Actor in Play). He has also played physicist Richard Feynman in two acclaimed productions of Peter Parnell's QED, as well as The Train Driver by Athol Fugard, Emma as adapted by Michael Bloom from the novel by Jane Austen, Heroes by Tom Stoppard, Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov, and Skylight by David Hare.

In addition to its sharp emotional and intellectual challenges, 36 Views demands a unique set of visual effects as paintings appear, disappear, and transform before our eyes. Jorge Cousineau will make his Lantern debut as scenic, sound and projection designer. Philadelphia's foremost designer for projection and video, set, and sound, Cousineau has won multiple Barrymore Awards and a Lucille Lortel Award. He was a Pew Fellow in 2011 and was named Philadelphia Weekly's Theater Artist of the Year in 2010. His work has been seen and heard on stages throughout Philadelphia, including Arden Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, People's Light, 1812 Productions, and InterAct Theatre Company.

Rosemarie McKelvey is new to the Lantern and will serve as the production's costume designer. Peter Escalada-Mastick (Underneath the Lintel) is the lighting designer. Flora Vassar (Oscar Wilde: From the Depths) serves as props master and Asaki Kuruma serves as artistic consultant. Kuruma and director Peter DeLaurier will work with movement consultant Michael Goldberg for assistance in learning and designing the specific Kabuki movement and choreography necessary for the production. Goldberg is artistic associate at First Folio Theater in Oak Brook, Ill., where he has directed, choreographed fights and movement, and performed. He has studied Kabuki theatre and dance under Shozo Sato (Nakamura Kanzo IV) for over 20 years and has toured Japan and Europe performing in Sato's Kabuki plays as well as performing solo Kabuki dance.

Special Events

The themes of 36 Views will be explored on Monday, June 20 at 7 p.m. with Art Movers and Shakers, the final installment of the Lantern's season-long In Conversation Series. In this examination of works of Asian art specific to 36 Views, the ethics of trading foreign works, and an insider's perspective on the secrets and surprises in the buying and selling of art, Lantern Associate Artistic Director KC MacMillan will moderate a panel that includes Richard Cervantes, department head for Asian arts and Oriental rugs & carpets for Freeman's auction house; Frank Chance, associate director of academics at the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; Linda Chance, associate chair of East Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania; and Asaki Kuruma, artistic consultant for 36 Views. The discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A and a complimentary wine and dessert reception. Discussion and reception tickets are $15 and are available online at or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Theater critics and members of the press may reserve complimentary tickets for this event by contacting Jessica Doheny at or (215) 829-9002 x101.

Free events open to 36 Views ticket holders include Directors in Conversation, a pre-show discussion with director Peter DeLaurier on Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m.; Lantern Pub Night, a post-show gathering in the Lantern lobby with complimentary beer, wine, and conversation immediately following the 8 p.m. performance on Friday, June 3; and Artists in Conversation, post-show discussions with the cast immediately following the 2 p.m. performances on Sunday, June 5 and Sunday, June 12.

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