Lasso of Truth | World Premiere

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2014

Production photographs are available online
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MARIN THEATRE COMPANY
PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
CARSON KREITZER’S LASSO OF TRUTH

NEW PLAY DIGS INTO THE KNOTTY HISTORY OF
WONDER WOMAN –
FROM HER CREATION BY POLYAMORIST WILLIAM MARSTON
TO HER LASTING INFLUENCE AS A FEMINIST ICON

Limited Engagement! February 20–March 16, 2014
Opening Night: February 25

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company begins the second half of its 2013-14 Season with the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Lasso of Truth, which was co-commissioned by MTC and NNPN in 2010 from Minnesota-based playwright Carson Kreitzer. Running for a limited time from February 20 to March 16, this multimedia theatrical event explores the history of Wonder Woman – from her creation as a comic book superhero character to her lasting influence in American pop culture. The play is directed by MTC artistic director Jasson Minadakis and features local actors Lauren English, Jessa Brie Moreno and Liz Sklar, as well John Riedlinger (Minnesota) and Nicholas Rose (Ohio). Opening night is Tuesday, February 25. Based in Mill Valley, MTC is a 47-year old professional nonprofit theater that is a destination for exhilarating performances, inspired new American plays and powerful theatrical experiences.

“When Carson approached me with her idea for Lasso of Truth, I don’t think she realized how deeply its central theme would resonate with me,” Minadakis said. “I have long been a fan of comic books – I learned to read through comic books and now my oldest son is learning to read through them too. The play that Carson wrote for us is beyond what I imagined. While it’s primary storyline is about Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston and his nontraditional family, this play has a lot to say about where we are today in regards to gender – how far we’ve come towards equality and how much further we have to go. Both the structure of this play and the design of our production are extraordinary, more like a comic book than a play, combining numerous plot lines and visual media – illustration and animation – with live storytelling to form a complex mosaic unlike anything we’ve had on our stage before.”

In Lasso of Truth, a contemporary young woman is closing in on an ultra rare comic book, the first appearance of Wonder Woman, published in 1941. But as she does, she must untangle the knotty history behind her childhood idol’s controversial creator, William Marston, and his unorthodox family. The early 20th-century psychologist and father of the modern lie detector modeled his superheroine on the two women – his wife (in real life Elizabeth Holloway Marston, a loose model for the character “Wife” in the play) and his former student and lover (Olive Byrne, a loose model for “Amazon”) – with whom he had children and lived together in a polyamorous relationship. Believing that “not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power,” he invented “the obvious remedy” –  “a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman,” not knowing his Amazon warrior would live on to become a worldwide feminist icon who continues to be at the center of battles over gender disparity.

Published by DC Comics (previously All-American Publications), Wonder Woman – known also as Princess Diana of Themyscira and her secret identity Diana Prince – was introduced in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941, first featured on the cover of Sensation Comics #1 in January 1942 and began to be published under her own title in Wonder Woman #1 by the summer of 1942. As created by William Moulton Marston, writing under the pseudonym Charles Moulton, she was an Amazonian warrior princess from Paradise Island with the god-like powers of Aphropdite, Athena, Hercules and Mercury combined. Over her 73-year history, Wonder Woman has been the center of numerous controversies. In 1968, she lost her powers, prompting Gloria Steinem to put the superheroine on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine in July 1972 and advocate for the reinstatement of her powers, which occurred in February 1973. Despite the success of the 1975-1979 Wonder Woman television series featuring Lynda Carter (currently being re-aired on Me-TV since December 2013), three other Wonder Woman television adaptations (in 1974, 2011 and 2014) have been scrapped and Wonder Woman has never appeared in a feature film. Wonder Woman’s first blockbuster appearance will likely be in 2016 in Batman Vs. Superman, the sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel, though rumors about the film-in-production have led to criticism about Wonder Woman serving as a supporting character, having limited powers and possibly being introduced as a love interest for Superman, as she was recently in DC Comic’s New 52 comic series (Superman/Wonder Woman #1, October 2013).

Lasso of Truth was co-commissioned in 2010 by MTC and the National New Play Network. To workshop and develop the play, MTC partnered with Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, where playwright Carson Kreitzer was a Core Writer at the time of writing the play. Lasso of Truth also received readings at Lark Play Development Center in New York City, NNPN’s National Showcase of New Plays at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Black Swan Lab and Playwriting Australia National Play Festival. Made possible in part by NNPN’s Continued Life of New Plays Fund, this is the first production of the Rolling World Premiere of Lasso of Truth, which will also receive productions during the 2014-15 season at Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta from March 20 to April 13, 2014, and Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City from January 21 to February 8, 2015.

A long-time colleague of MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis, playwright Carson Kreitzer is known for her “muscular and sharp” (CityBeat) and “raw and bold” (Hollywood Reporter) writing that addresses “scorching issues [that] defy simple response” (Los Angeles Times). She has been produced at regional theaters across the country, as well as in New York and London. Locally, Custom Made Theatre Company produced Kreitzer’s The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer in 2009.

MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis directs the world premiere of Lasso of Truth. Winner of the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for best director (Equivocation) and a nominee in the same category in 2011 (The Glass Menagerie), he most recently directed The Whipping Man at MTC and Virginia Stage Company, a production that was highlighted as one of the best in the Bay Area of 2013 by San Francisco Chronicle, Marin IJ and BroadwayWorld.com – San Francisco. He has assembled a team of top local designers, including Annie Smart (scenic; Berkeley Rep, Cal Shakes), Callie Floor (costumes; MTC, A.C.T.), Jim French (lighting), Cliff Caruthers (sound; MTC, A.C.T., Berkeley Rep) and Kwame Braun (video; passing girl; riverside, Stageshakers!), with Minnesota-based graphic artist Jacob Stoltz to develop this production, which will include nearly 300 graphic images and four animation sequences in addition to the live performances.

Lasso of Truth features the returns of Marin native and Branson School graduate Liz Sklar, who last appeared at MTC in Othello, the Moor of Venice in 2012, and Jessa Brie Moreno (formerly Berkner), who directed MTC’s 2013 School Tour production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and was last seen onstage at MTC in The Crucible in 2001. This world premiere features the debuts of San Francisco-based actor Lauren English, a founding company member of SF Playhouse, Cincinnati-based actor Nicholas Rose, who helped found the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company with Minadakis in 1993, and Minneapolis-based actor John Riedlinger, who has acted in numerous productions of Kreitzer’s work including the world premieres of Flesh and the Desert (2012) and The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2003, with Frank Theatre) at Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

Recommended for mature teens and up due to adult language and content, including frank discussions and mild erotic scenes that feature homosexuality and bondage.
 

CALENDAR INFORMATION
Performing Arts | Theater

WHAT
Lasso of Truth | National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

WHO
Marin Theatre Company
Co-commission by MTC and NNPN
By Carson Kreitzer | Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Featuring Lauren English (debut), Jessa Brie Moreno (The Crucible), John Riedlinger (debut), Nicholas Rose (debut) & Liz Sklar (Othello, the Moor of Venice)
Funded in part by Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation

WHEN
February 20 - March 16, 2014
Opening Night: Tuesday, February 25
Previews: Thursday, February 20 - Sunday, February 23

Performance Days
Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 8:00 pm
Wed 7:30 pm
Sun 7:00 pm
Matinees: Every Sun 2:00 pm | Sat 3/1 & 3/15, 2:00 pm | Thu 3/6, 1:00 pm

Check marintheatre.org or call the box office at (415) 388-5208 for exact performance dates and times.

WHERE
Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

ABOUT
“Stunning and compelling… raw and bold, brutal and ironic, Kreitzer’s work is full of nagging questions.” – Hollywood Reporter

Known for her “muscular and sharp” (CityBeat) writing, Kreitzer traces the origin story and lasting impact of the comic character Wonder Woman through the life of her controversial creator, William Moulton Marston. The early 20th-century psychologist and father of the modern lie detector modeled his superheroine on two women – his wife and his former student – both of whom he lived with in a polyamorous relationship.

In this inventive multimedia theatrical experience that combines live action with comic book illustration and animation, a contemporary young woman looks back and questions the knotty history behind the worldwide feminist icon.

TICKETS
$37–$58, details below (discounts available for Seniors and those Under 30)

Ticket Prices
Previews: $37 all
Opening Night & Sat Evenings: $53 side | $58 center
Tues: $37| $42
Wed, Thu, Sun Evenings & Matinees: $42 | $47
Fri: $48 | $53

Discounts available:
RUSH tickets: $20, available one hour prior to show, based on availability
Under 30: $20, all performances
Senior discounts: $4 off, all performances
Military personnel, their families & US veterans: $5 off, all performances, must show ID

For group discounts, contact Julie Knight, (415) 388-5200, ext. 3302

ENGAGE
“MTC Engaged” invites patrons to join MTC’s artistic staff, designers and casts in conversation.

After Words – A member of MTC’s artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) hosts a Q&A talk back after every performance, except Saturdays and Opening and Closing Nights.

MTC Engaged Special Events:

• Theater Lecture Series – FREE public lectures by MTC artistic staff, all start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted
     - Tues, 2/6 – Belvedere-Tiburon Library, 1501 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon
     - Thur, 2/6 – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur
     - Wed, 2/12 – Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley
• Perspectives: pre-show topical lecture: Thu 3/6, 12:00 p.m.

ACCESS
“MTC All Access” strives to make theater accessible to all audiences. For visually impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available at the box office at all performances and Braille playbills are available with two-weeks advance notice through partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. To request a Braille playbill, call MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing “711.” For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.

CONTACT
marintheatre.org | (415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

Carson Kreitzer (playwright) makes her MTC debut with the world premiere of Lasso of Truth. Her play The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer won the Lois and Richard Rosenthal New Play Prize, the American Theatre Critics’ Steinberg Citation, the Barrie Stavis Award and is published in Smith and Kraus’s New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2004 and by Dramatic Publishing. SELF DEFENSE or death of some salesmen has been produced across the country, and is published by Playscripts and in Smith and Kraus’s Women Playwrights: Best Plays of 2002. Her other work includes 1:23, Flesh and the Desert, The Slow Drag, Freakshow, Slither, Dead Wait and Take My Breath Away, which was featured in Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1997 Next Wave Festival. Her plays have been produced or developed by the Public Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, the Guthrie Theater, Portland Center Stage, Perishable Theatre, Mabou Mines, Frank Theatre, the Actors Gang and Next Theatre, among others. Kreitzer has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a Core Writer at Playwrights’ Center, the first Playwrights Of New York Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center and was a McKnight fellow. She is an associated artist with Clubbed Thumb, New Georges and the Fire Department, and a member of The Workhaus Collective and Dramatists Guild. Her latest play, Behind the Eye, was produced by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, supported by a National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development grant. She is currently working with composer Matt Gould on a musical inspired by art deco artist Tamara de Lempicka, commissioned by Yale Rep and New Dramatists through Full Stage USA. Kreitzer has a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin.

Jasson Minadakis (director) is in his eighth season as artistic director of MTC, where he has directed The Whipping Man, Waiting for Godot, Othello, the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie, Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for best director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman, Bug, Carson Kreitzer’s The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Echoes of Another Man, Killer Joe, Burn This, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Blue/Orange and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production), The Beard of Avon, Arcadia, Nocturne, Fuddy Meers, Lovers & Executioners, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Betrayal, The Weir, Waiting for Godot, The Misanthrope, A Chance of Lightning, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, The Color Wheel and 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include The Whipping Man at Virginia Stage Company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production) and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre.

Lauren English (Girl) makes her MTC debut in the world premiere of Lasso of Truth. Most recently, she starred in SF Playhouse Sandbox’s National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Grounded. She is a founding company member of SF Playhouse, where her favorite roles have been Reasons to be Pretty, Bell, Book and Candle, Becky Shaw, Reborning, Cabaret, Our Town and The Glory of Living. Locally, English is a PlayGround company member and has worked with Cal Shakes, Word for Word, Marin Shakespeare Company and Magic Theatre. In New York, she appeared in The Actors Company Theatre’s Off-Broadway production of The Cocktail Party, Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and The Idealist at the New York Times Theatre. She has also worked at the Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Lark Play Development Center and Playwrights Realm, among others. English is a two-time San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award winner and three-time Dean Goodman Choice Award recipient. She holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program.

Jessa Brie Moreno, formerly Berkner (Wife, also Gloria) has appeared at MTC in The Crucible and Mere Mortals, and directed MTC’s 2013 School Tour of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. She has performed with A.C.T., Marin Shakespeare Company, Aurora Theatre Company, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks, CenterRep and San Jose Stage Company. Moreno has been the recipient of a Northern California Emmy, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Dean Goodman Choice and Shellie Awards for Best Actress. Her directorial work includes The Last Night of the Barbary Coast, Today I Live and asstistant director of Macbeth at CalShakes. Moreno studied Theater at University of Southern California, has attended Scuola Internazionale della Commedia dell'Arte e dell'Attore Comico in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and holds an MFA from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She currently teaches at CIIS, Sofia University, Laney College and Oakland Technical High School, where she leads the student theater company OakTechRep. She is currently directing American Night: The Ballad of Juan José with OakTechRep.

John Riedlinger (Guy, also Machine and Judge) makes his Bay Area and MTC debut in the world premiere of Lasso of Truth, which marks his fourth collaboration with playwright Carson Kreitzer. He has previously performed in her plays SELF DEFENSE or death of some salesmen, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Flesh and the Desert in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Upon returning home to the Twin Cities, he will appear in his fifth, Behind the Eye, at Park Square Theater in St. Paul. A veteran actor of Minnesota stages, Riedlinger has also appeared in the films Embrace of the Vampire, Joe Somebody and Vernie and been heard in national campaigns for Coca Cola, Holiday Inn and L.L. Bean, as well as a Super Bowl commercial for GMC.

Nicholas Rose (Inventor) makes his MTC debut in the world premiere of Lasso of Truth. With MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis, he co-founded what is now Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, where he is an ensemble member and has performed in more than 80 productions over the past 20 years. Rose is a veteran actor in Cincinnati regional theater and has also performed at Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Know Theatre of Cincinnati and New Edgecliff Theatre. Some of his recent credits include The 39 Steps, Titus Andronicus, When the Rain Stops Falling, Macbeth, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Pillow Man.

Liz Sklar (Amazon, also Friend) has appeared at MTC in Othello, the Moor of Venice, as well as the world premieres of Bellwether and Seagull, and was an MTC teacher in residence at Martin Luther King Junior Academy in Marin City. She most recently participated in MTC’s workshop and public readings of Bill Cain's play-in-development 33 and A.C.T.’s staged reading of The Desk Set. Other Bay Area credits include Becky Shaw at SF Playhouse, Care of Trees at Shotgun Players, A Christmas Carol at A.C.T., King John at Marin Shakespeare Company and The Tempest at Cal Shakes. Sklar has also appeared in Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Mortal Folly Theatre in New York City and co-starred with Stacy Keach in the film Imbued. She holds a BA in Theater Arts from Brown University, an MFA in Acting from A.C.T and has trained with the SITI Company in New York.

ABOUT MTC
Founded in 1966, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our 231-seat main stage theater, as well as a five-show Theater Series for Young Audiences in partnership with the Bay Area Children's Theatre in our 99-seat studio theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of world premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and membership in the National New Play Network. Our numerous education programs serve more than 6,000 students from over 40 Bay Area schools each year. MTC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

PRESS CONTACT
Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director

(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | sasha@marintheatre.org

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