Thursday, April 21, 2011

Walking the Volcano - A Message from Kate Snodgrass

It is our great pleasure to bring Jon Lipsky’s Walking the Volcano alive with this wonderful cast and crew.  This is Boston Playwrights’ Theatre's first collaboration with Boston Center for American Performance, but I hope not our last.  And we had the honor of working with Prof. Jon Lipsky in 2007 when he directed Leslie Epstein’s King of the Jews for us at Studio 210 on Huntington Avenue.  It was that production, along with his direction of Stan Strickland’s Coming Up for Air, which won him the prestigious Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Direction.  The award was well-deserved, but Jon was not “just” a director.  He was a Renaissance man of the Theatre—a director, teacher (I never saw him act, but he did everything else, so why not?), and, most of all, an innovative playwright.  

I hope you were lucky enough to see his beautiful Living in Exile at the Actors’ Shakespeare Project just last month.  It was a masterful retelling of The Iliad and profoundly moving in its understanding of the human condition.  In fact, the first production I saw in Boston when I came here in 1987, not knowing anyone in the Theatre, was Jon’s Dreaming with an AIDS Patient, performed in the basement of a little church in Boston’s South End.  I still carry images from that production in my head, and I remember being moved by its heart-wrenching compassion and its deceptively simple theatricality.  

Most particularly, I am honored that both our companies, having such a strong connection to Jon, can produce Walking the Volcano here in Boston.  These short plays were written for and appeared in our Boston Theater Marathons.  (Can you guess which one was the first?)  I know that these scenes were written as separate stories in themselves, but I can’t help but feel a connection with and between these characters; I think you’ll see it, too.  These are intelligent, complex, ultimately forgiving people who are passionate about loving and living life to the fullest--just like Jon himself.  And his work lives on.  

Kate Snodgrass
Artistic Director, Boston Playwrights' Theatre