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BLACKBIRD ASKS “WAS IT LOVE?” BUT ANSWERS, “IT’S COMPLEX.”
Theatre B presents BLACKBIRD by David Harrower. Fifteen years ago, Ray and Una had a relationship. They haven’t set eyes on each other since. Now she’s found him, in a different town, with a different name. Oh, and fifteen years ago? Una was 12 and Ray was 40. Una tried to protect him, but Ray did time. Was it statutory rape? Or was it love? Even Ray and Una don’t know.
BLACKBIRD stars Crystal Cossette as Una and Hardy Koenig as Ray. Both actors note the challenges of this play. “This is the hardest role I’ve ever played,” says Cossette. “Blackbird is about living with a painful past experience, and confronting that past head on.” Koenig agrees. “The subject matter is hard. I have to go there and get in this guy’s head – why he did what he did – and try to tell his story. I have to find the reasons he did it, I have to forgive him/myself and try to move on. It is very hard, exhausting as we work on this great piece, digging, digging always deeper.”
Both actors have appeared on the Theatre B stage in recent years, and Cossette is a member of the Ensemble. Some of Koenig’s memorable roles include: Richard Harkin in The Seafarer, Vayna in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and artist Mark Rothko in Red. BLACKBIRD will be Koenig’s capstone performance on Theatre B’s stage. A Professor of Theatre at NDSU, he plans to retire at the end of this academic year.
Everyone on the production team agrees that, though hard, the subject matter is important. “I find the playwright’s ability to remain fairly neutral and let the audience come to their own conclusion about the characters to be very compelling,” says Cambria Larson, Stage Manager on the production. “Harrower’s writing is quick and tense, and the information unfolds in such a way that we can take a deeper look at a case like this without casting immediate judgement.”
This is precisely the kind of story Theatre B excels in telling. BLACKBIRD is a complex portrayal of two people whose damaged lives are inextricably intertwined. And the audience can decide how much of the story is black, white, or gray.
BLACKBIRD performances are scheduled for weekends February 28 through March 23. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees March 10 and March 17 at 2 p.m. The American Sign Language Interpreted Performance is on Saturday, March 2. Audio Description is available on Friday, March 15, or by advance request. Tickets can be purchased at www.theatreb.org or by calling the box office at 701-729-8880.
About Theatre B:
The mission of Theatre B is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative story-telling. Since 2003, the Ensemble and guest artists of Theatre B have brought to life a wide variety of the latest award-winning plays and bold new works. By removing barriers between actor and audience, and intensifying the experience of intimacy, Theatre B productions inspire a sense of community, engage conversation, and prompt viewers to contemplate the stories long after they have left the theatre. For more information about Theatre B, visit www.theatreb.org.
“Rearranging the furniture of your mind.”