THE HOW AND THE WHY Set for Trinity Rep, 11/29-12/30


Fresh off the sold-out run of season opener King Lear, Trinity Rep continues their 49th Season with Sarah Treem's fast and smart new play The How and the Why, directed by Shana Gozansky. Opening in previews on November 29 and running through December 30 at Trinity Rep, this powerful and intimate production features two brilliant characters – one in her fifties, one her twenties – each with her own take on the controversial debate surrounding the theory of female evolution. In this funny, gripping new play, a mentor and her protégé bond and spar over the personal and professional consequences of their own diametrically opposed theories. Inspiring and provocative, this witty gem from Sarah Treem (of HBO's In Treatment) is both engrossing and powerful. Tickets for The How and the Why are on sale now at the Trinity Rep box office, 201 Washington St.; by phone at (401) 351-4242; and online at

The How and the Why begins previews on November 29 at 7:30pm with a First Look Thursday preview performance, featuring a special post-show talkback with the production team and cast. The First Friday preview on November 30 at 7:30pm will continue the theater's Pay What You Can (PWYC) tradition, with tickets on sale at 6:30 pm that evening, limit one per person.

Trinity Rep resident Acting Company member Anne Scurria stars as Zelda, a leading expert in the field of evolutionary biology, and Brown/Trinity MFA actress Barrie Kreinik ('13) as graduate student Rachel, an equally brilliant woman on the verge of releasing her own groundbreaking theory. What unfolds over the course of two acts is an exploration of adversarial mentorship as the two women reveal deeper personal secrets that join them together inextricably.

"This isn't the first time we've brought higher math and science to Trinity Rep's stage," says The Richard L. Bready Artistic Director Curt Columbus. "Michael Frayn's Copenhagen and David Auborn's Proof were both very well received by local audiences when we did them years ago. When I read The How and the Why I thought immediately that people would love it: two amazing women volleying scientific theories at each other with engagement, heart, wit, and stamina – what could be better?"

When asked what local audiences can expect from this new play, director Shana Gozansky says, "While The How and the Why is about the experience of these two brilliant women, ultimately it speaks to every woman - every person actually - and the choice we often face between pursuing our professional aspirations and sacrificing personal happiness. Sarah Treem plunges us deep into an investigation of driven ambition, genetic predisposition, and the long-term impacts of the choices we make. I believe that the experience of seeing this play will definitely lead to some interesting conversations in the car ride home!"

Returning to Trinity Rep to direct The How and the Why is a homecoming of sorts for Gozansky, as she graduated from the Brown/Trinity program in Spring of 2012. "I feel very lucky to be asked to come back to a place that has been my artistic home for three years and work with actors and a production team that I've grown to really love and have tremendous respect for," Gozansky says. The production's design team includes set designer Tilly Grimes, costume designer Olivera Gajic, lighting designer Driscoll Otto and sound designer Peter Sasha Hurowitz. "Not only do I get to collaborate with two powerhouse actresses," Gozansky says, "but I am surrounded by an incredible design team and production staff. It's amazing and a gift."

Talkbacks will be held after every performance of The How and the Why. Audiences are invited to share their response to the play's production and themes for approximately twenty minutes. Trinity Rep's 49th season is sponsored by NBC 10, with supporting sponsors Cox Media, Rhode Island Monthly and RISCA.

In conjunction with the performances, Trinity Rep will host a free panel discussion on Monday December 3rd at 6pm in the Dowling Theater. "She Blinded Me With Science: the (r)evolutionary biology and relationships of The How and the Why," will feature notable experts Dr. Sandra A. Carson, medical director of Women & Infants' Center for Reproduction and Infertility and director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Women & Infants Hospital, and a professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School oF Brown University; Dr. Sohini Ramachandran, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University; Anthropologist Kay Warren, Ph.D, director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown in discussion with the show's director. Moderated by Associate Artistic Director Tyler Dobrowsky, panelists and audience members will discuss the controversial themes and scientific theories of the play, and the role of gender in the sciences and academia. Admission for the panel is free, but seating is limited. Please RSVP to This panel discussion is made possible through funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. (Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.)

Since its founding in 1963, Trinity Repertory Company has been one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. Featuring the last permanent resident Acting Company in America, Trinity Rep presents a balance of world premiere, contemporary, and classic works for an estimated annual audience of approximately 120,000. In its almost 50-year history, the theater has produced 61 world premieres, mounted national and international tours, and, through its MFA program, trained hundreds of new actors and directors. This season marks the 46th year of Project Discovery, Trinity Rep's pioneering educational outreach program. Last season, Trinity Rep's educational programs reached nearly 15,000 Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut students through matinees as well as in-school residencies and workshops. Brown University/Trinity Rep offers professional training for actors and directors in a three-year MFA program. Trinity Rep's 49th Season will present six subscription productions alongside the annual holiday production of A Christmas Carol. The 2012-2013 Season continues with Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, adapted by Curt Columbus and Marilyn Campbell, the world premiere of Social Creatures by Jackie Sibblies Drury and House & Garden, an epic duo of interconnected plays by Alan Ayckbourn performed simultaneously in our upstairs and downstairs theaters. For more information, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at

Pictured: Director Shana Gozansky

Related Articles

Rhode Island THEATER Stories | Shows

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...