The latest production at The Huntington, The Art of Burning, features three Watertown residents: actor Adrianne Krstansky, who plays Patricia; actor Sarah Newhouse, understudying Patricia and Charlene; and fight director Ted Hewlett.
See The Huntington’s announcement for the play below:
The Huntington announces the world premiere of The Art of Burning, a new play from acclaimed Boston playwright Kate Snodgrass and directed by Melia Bensussen, in association with Hartford Stage. The production runs from January 13 – February 12, 2023 at The Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA with digital access to the filmed performance available until February 26, 2023.
Snodgrass’ new play marks her debut at The Huntington and follows modernist painter Patricia as she changes the terms of her divorce with husband Jason mid-negotiation. Meanwhile, their daughter Beth didn’t show up for school. Does Patricia know where she is, or is there something more sinister afoot? Crafted with humor and insight, The Art of Burning explores the love, rage, and responsibility that come with marriage and parenting in America.
The Art of Burning pairs Kate Snodgrass, the highly regarded Boston playwright and leader of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre for 35 years, with director Melia Bensussen (Common Ground Revisited, Luck of the Irish, Awake and Sing! at The Huntington), artistic director of Hartford Stage, who first worked together on an earlier version of this Greek-inspired play at The Huntington’s Summer Workshops in 2019.
“Kate Snodgrass is a lion of the Boston playwriting community,” says Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco. “And this play is her newest, a dynamic exploration of what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend in contemporary America. It teams her for the first time with longtime friend Melia Bensussen, in a coproduction with Melia’s new home at Harford Stage.”
“What an absolute thrill it is for me to be working with The Huntington and with the incomparable Melia Bensussen!” says Snodgrass. “As a longtime Huntington Playwriting Fellow myself, I know how committed The Huntington is to new work and to Boston playwrights in particular. Seeing my play come alive…It doesn’t get better than this!”
“Kate’s play takes us on a wild ride subverting our expectations about what women should do and say, and how we listen to them,” says Bensussen. “A play to argue about long after you’ve seen it.”
Following the run at The Huntington, the production will move to Hartford Stage, where Bensussen is artistic director. Performances will run there from March 2 – March 26, 2023.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Melia Bensussen (Director) The Huntington: Common Ground Revisited, We All Fall Down, Yerma, A Doll’s House, Awake and Sing!, Luck of the Irish, and Circle Mirror Transformation. Other directing credits include work with Hartford Stage, Shakespeare & Company, Trinity Repertory Company, Sleeping Weazel, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Shakespeare Festival, MCC Theater, Primary Stages, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and many others. She has received two directing awards from the Princess Grace Foundation, including their top honor, the Statue Award for Sustained Excellence in Directing. Bensussen’s edition of Langston Hughes’ translation of Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding is published by Theatre Communications Group, and she is featured in Rebecca Daniels’ Women Stage Directors Speak, Nancy Taylor’s Women Direct Shakespeare, and in Jews, Theatre, Performance in an Intercultural Context. An Obie Award-winning director, she is on the executive board of the Society of Directors and Choreographers and serves as chair of the Arts Advisory Board for the Princess Grace Foundation. A longtime Emerson College faculty member, Bensussen is the artistic director of Hartford Stage.
Kate Snodgrass (Playwright) is the former artistic director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and of the Boston Theater Marathon (which she co-founded). She is a professor of the practice of playwriting at Boston University. A playwriting fellow with The Huntington, Snodgrass is the author of the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award-winning play Haiku, which has been anthologized, translated, and performed around the world. The BPT production of her play The Glider was nominated from the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award. The Glider and her play Observatory each won the IRNE award for Best New Play (2005 and 1999). She was StageSource’s 2001 Theatre Hero and the recipient of the 2012 Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence.
The cast of The Art of Burning includes notable actors from the Boston area and around the country. They are, in order of appearance:
Adrianne Krstansky as Patricia, a mother and artist full of love, rage, and reawakened purpose, Jason’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Credits include Come Back, Little Sheba, A Doll’s House, and Dream Boston at The Huntington, and People, Places, and Things and Every Brilliant Thing at SpeakEasy Stage.
Michael Kaye as Mark, an attorney helping his friend Jason go through the formalities of divorce, and husband to Charlene. Credits include Common Ground Revisited at The Huntington.
Vivia Font as Katya, an attorney in Family Law and Jason’s lover. Credits include Bad Dates at Cincinnati Playhouse and Native Gardens at Merrimack Rep.
Rom Barkhordar as Jason, a financial planner and father who wants a divorce. Credits include The Who and the What at The Huntington, the film Canal Street, and TV’s “Chicago Med.”
Clio Contogenis as Beth, Patricia and Jason’s forthright daughter. Credits include The Changeling at Rude Grooms and the film The Legend of Princess Ronkonkoma.
Laura Latreille as Charlene, a housewife and mother, married to Mark and friend to Patricia. Credits include Ripcord and Mauritius at The Huntington, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at SpeakEasy Stage.
Understudies include local actors Steven Barkhimer, Sarah Newhouse, Samantha Richert, and Sandra Seoane-Serí.
The predominantly female creative team for The Art of Burning includes scenic design by Luciana Stecconi (Witch at The Huntington), costume design by Kara Harmon (The Purists, The Niceties, and A Guide for the Homesick at The Huntington), lighting design by Aja Jackson (Once on this Island at SpeakEasy Stage), and sound design by Jane Shaw (Our Daughters, Like Pillars at The Huntington). The production stage managers are Kelly Hardy and Emily F. McMullen, and the stage manager is Stephen MacDonald.
In-person performances: January 13 – February 12, 2023
Select Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30 pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8 pm; select Sun. at 7 pm
Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2 pm
Days and times vary; see complete schedule above.
Digital: Available February 6 – 26, 2023
Anticipated running time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Press Opening: January 25, 2023 at 7 pm
The Huntington/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston.
Tickets to in-person performances and to a digital recording of the performance start at $25. Season ticket packages and FlexPasses are also now on sale:
- online at huntingtontheatre.org
- by phone at 617-266-0800;
- or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston
Select discounts apply:
- $10 off: season ticket holders
- $30 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
- $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)
ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR THE ART OF BURNING
Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston. Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.
OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, January 31 at 7:30pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play.
ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, February 3 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, February 11 at 2pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/visit/accessibility for information.
Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances.
If patrons ever feel as if they would rather not see The Art of Burning in person – for any reason – they can easily exchange their in-person tickets for a home viewing opportunity of a specially recorded version of this play. OR, they can purchase tickets to the digital version of The Art of Burning in advance.
The digital recording of The Art of Burning will be available February 6 – 26, 2023.
THE ART OF BURNING COVID POLICY
Patrons areencouraged to wear masks at the Calderwood Pavilion, though mask wearing may not be required. COVID protocols will be announced to ticket holders in advance of the performance.
The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.