The death of a child is one of those moments a parent can not possibly prepare for. If suicide were the cause, a parent could spend the rest of his or her life questioning how and why. Religious faith could ease the constant dull ache of self-imposed guilt and grief, but what if an unforgiving, narrow-minded religion was the catalyst behind the tragedy? The Boise Contemporary Theater masterfully tackles these difficult concepts in the upcoming world premiere of Norway, written by Idaho-born playwright, Samuel D. Hunter, and set in Lewiston, Idaho.
BCT Artistic Director, Matthew Cameron Clark, directs this heartfelt play, which is a story of friendship, loss and grief. With only a total of five previous world premieres in BCT's 15-year history, Clark challenged himself to produce never-before-seen productions for three out of the four-play, 2010-2011 season.
"All four pieces have an interesting relationship to one another, and additionally, their limited scale fits with BCT's production possibilities," said Clark. Creating variety for the audience, while keeping his own interests peaked is how Clark decides what will constitute a season.
When asked how he chooses a piece for BCT, Clark responded by saying, "Doing compelling work that will captivate, not only me but the audience as well has been the working model, while directing this contemporary theater for the last 15 years."
Born in Moscow, Idaho, Hunter received his BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2004, an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop in 2007 and is currently a playwright in residence at the Juilliard School.
Norway is Hunter's 13th play and will mark the first time one of his plays will be produced in Idaho. And he plans on being here in person to see it.
According to BCT's Managing Director, Helene Peterson, "Hunter is a rising star in the American theater whose plays will see five different productions across the country this season."
Norway is a complex story that oscillates between time and setting, and tells the coming of age tale of two Idaho boys, Brent and Andy. After revealing their secrets to one another, their lives are changed forever, while Brent tours the collegiate circuit lecturing about music and remixing Beethoven's "Pathetique," Andy's death leads his grief-fueled father to search for redemption and answers regarding his son's sexuality.
Since his first play, Abraham (A Shot In The Head), was produced in 1994, Hunter has had an impressive run of plays staged in theaters across the country. He was honored with the 2008-2009 Playwrights of New York Fellowship, which garnered him well-earned bragging rights and a stipend to live and work in New York. Boise audiences will be fortunate enough to have the play and the playwright reunited in Idaho.
"I fell in love with this play because of its structure, the way it's put together is absolutely fascinating to me and also demonstrates Sam's high-level skill as a writer," added Clark.
Opens Wednesday, Jan. 26 and runs through Saturday, Feb.19. For times and tickets visit bctheater.org.
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