by Zoe Kazan
Directed by: Richard Joyce
Show Dates: November 6 thru November 24, 2013
Literary lion Saul Weber gathers his “fraying” family at their vacation home in the Berkshires to celebrate the release of his memoir. His children, novelists, Teddy and Sophia, along with son Adam, share the celebration with Saul’s protégé, “virtual” son, and uninvited guest, Cole. Storm clouds of dissension and resentment carried along by their intriguing tangle of relationships threatens to dampen the festivities.
As a side note, Author Zoe Kazan is the granddaughter of triple Academy Award winner Elia Kazan who was one of the founders of the Actors Studio in New York. This was her first play and it was produced at the Humana Festival of New American Plays which is supported by the Humana Foundation. This annual festival is now in its 33rd year and is the country’s leading producer of new works. FYI: Absalom was the name of King David’s third and favorite son who rebelled against his father.
Note: This play contains adult language
Presented by Special Arrangement with Dramatist Play Service, Inc., New York
R.E. Joyce has been a member of TMP for many years. He was formerly a member of the Board of Directors, Artistic Director and Director of many children’s plays in the early years. He is still acting and directing when the opportunity presents itself. He most recently completed directing I’m Herbert and Other Strangers at The Island Community Theater. Last season here at TMP he directed Chapter Two by Neil Simon. His other directing credits with TMP in recent years include The Odd Couple, Wally’s Cafe, Jewel Thieves, and Jake’s Women. Richard is a licensed massage therapist at the Marco Island Athletic Club. At the top of his “bucket list”, still remains the passion to play Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
To say Zoe Kazan, born in 1983, has the arts in her blood would be an understatement — her father is a screenwriter, her mother a screenwriter and director. But the Kazan forebear you’ve most likely heard of is her grandfather Elia Kazan, the director of such films as On the Waterfront.
At age 25, Zoe completed the writing of a play of her own. It’s called Absalom, and received its world premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ky. Kazan was in her junior year at Yale University when she started the project. It began as a class exercise — she was just taking a course with playwright Donald Margulies, she says, and never envisioned Absalom as a full-length play.
Kazan’s Absalom revolves around a domineering father and his relationships with his children — all of them writers, all of them fixated on their father’s new autobiography. But Kazan insists her play is not itself autobiographical. ”Yes, I’m writing about a family of writers; I come from a family of writers,” she says. “I think it would actually be very difficult for me not to have written this play, in a way. It’s a huge part of my experience and who I am as a person. ”But it wasn’t really what I was writing about,” she says. “What I was writing about was love and manipulation and selfishness. How do people survive in a family? What is the creative process? What is creative ownership?”
She wanted to explore these themes using a classic narrative structure — a plot that unfolds within a day, characters in conflict, realistic dialogue. Giovanna Sardelli, who teaches acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and directed the premiere of Absalom, says the play is the type you don’t see very often these days. “It’s well-structured,” Sardelli says. “It’s a night in the theater that is both relevant and new and interesting, but then there is something that is timeless and classical about it.”
The Marco Players presents “Absalom” November 6 through 24. Tickets ($23 or $25) may be purchased now through The Marco Players box office.