Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot, starring Colman Domingo & Scott Shepherd in The Alice Griffith Jewel Box at The Pershing Square Signature Center through March 11, 2012

BLOOD KNOT's Colman Domingo, dialect coach Barbara Rubin and Scott Shepherd at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 13, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

BLOOD KNOT's Colman Domingo, dialect coach Barbara Rubin and Scott Shepherd at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 13, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night, I attended a very special performance of BLOOD KNOT, written and directed by Athol Fugard and starring Tony Award-nominee Colman Domingo (The Scottsboro Boys) as Zachariah and Obie Award-winner Scott Shepherd (Gatz) as Morris, in the Signature Theatre Company’s (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) spectacular new space, The Pershing Square Signature Center, designed by Frank Gehry, located at 480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and 10th Avenues in New York. BLOOD KNOT is Signature’s inaugural production in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre, and is the first play in the Residency One: Athol Fugard Series, runs January 31 – March 11, 2012 with a February 16th opening night. BLOOD KNOT is the first of three Fugard shows Signature will present this season.

After the curtain call, Fugard joined his cast Colman Domingo and Scott Shepherd onstage, calling their performances “gentle, courageous and brave,” and was surprised with a cake to commemorate 50 years since the play was staged at Labia Theatre, Cape Town on February 12, 1962.

Between patchwork walls in a one-room shack, two biracial South African brothers grapple with crippling poverty and lonely isolation. Morris, the punctilious force that keeps their room tidy, is light-skinned enough to pass for white, but dark-skinned Zach feels imprisoned by his job at a whites-only park. When they find themselves on some dangerous new ground, the brothers must come face to face with the blood knot between them. Athol Fugard’s revolutionary breakthrough play is a searing indictment of apartheid and one of his most celebrated works.

The design team includes Christopher H. Barreca (Set Design), Susan Hilferty (Costume Design), Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Design), Brett Jarvis (Sound Design) and Barbara Rubin (Dialect Coach). The Production Stage Manager is Pamela Salling and Assistant Stage Manager is Maggie Swing. Casting is by Telsey + Company.

All regularly priced single tickets ($75) for the initial run of both shows will be made available for $25 through The Signature Ticket Initiative: A Decade of Access. Tickets and season subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-244-7529 or online at

Barbara Rubin and Gordana Rashovich Photo by Lia Chang

Barbara Rubin and Gordana Rashovich Photo by Lia Chang

Written and Directed by Athol Fugard
January 31 – March 11, 2012

By Athol Fugard
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
May 1 – June 10, 2012

Written in 1989 shortly before the end of apartheid, My Children! My Africa! presents an honest and unflinching portrait of a country on the brink of revolution, and is a testament to the power and potential of youth, hope, and ideas.

Written and Directed by Athol Fugard
August 14 – September 23, 2012

Based on a true story, The Train Driver is a soulful exploration of guilt, suffering and the powerful bonds that grow between strangers.

Directed by David Esbjornson
February 14 – March 25, 2012

At a late night party, Sam and Jo entertain their friends with a round of Twenty Questions and another round of drinks. When an unexpected guest and her mysterious companion arrive, the question “Who are you?” gains a whole new and desperate meaning. Tony Award-winner Jane Alexander will play the title role.

By Katori Hall
Directed by Patricia McGregor
February 7 – March 18, 2012

It’s the end of a long summer in Hurt Village, a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee, and a government Hope Grant means relocation for many of the project’s residents. A bold, gritty and devastating work, Hurt Village earned Katori Hall the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, given annually to an outstanding female playwright.

Featuing Marsha Stephanie Blake (The Merchant of Venice; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), Nicholas Christopher(Rent, In the Heights), Corey Hawkins (Suicide, Incorporated), Charlie Hudson III (The Piano Lesson, Mother Courage), Ron Cephas Jones (Gem of the Ocean, The Bridge Project), Joaquina Kalukango (Godspell), Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change; “All My Children”), Saycon Sengbloh (Fela!, Hair) and Lloyd Watts (“Treme,” Mother Courage.)

By Will Eno
Directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett
In association with Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland
May 8 – June 3, 2012

A nameless traveler from a far off place searches for connection and solace in an unknown country in this funny and sad meditation on mortality, loneliness, innocence, home, family, love, funerals, words, and the world. A provocative new work by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Horton Foote Prize winner Will Eno, whom The New York Times called “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.”

May 15 – June 24, 2012

Kenneth Lonergan, acclaimed playwright (This is Our Youth, Lobby Hero, The Starry Messenger) and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter (You Can Count on Me), shares a new work with Signature audiences.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature Theatre exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. Signature is the first theatre company to devote an entire season to the work of a single playwright, including re-examinations of past writings as well as New York and world premieres. By championing in-depth explorations of a living playwright’s body of work, the Company delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision.

Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, the historic Negro Ensemble Company, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson. Signature remains deeply committed to season-long residencies, and during the company’s tenth and fifteenth anniversaries, Signature introduced the Legacy Program. The Legacy Program invites past Playwrights-in-Residence back to Signature through two series: the Signature Series, which presents “signature,” or more well-known works; and the Premiere Series, which presents New York and world premieres.

In pursuit of its goal to build new audiences and remove the price barrier to those interested in experiencing live theatre, Signature has provided $20 tickets to all of its productions since 2005 through its groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative. Providing unprecedented access to world class theatre, this innovative program has served as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country. The program’s next phase, A Decade of Access, will continue for the next ten years, making all regularly-priced single tickets ($75) during the initial announced run available for $25. Signature is committed to raising the funds needed for A Decade of Access and continues to pursue lead corporate sponsorship. Generous seed support has been provided by Marma Foundation, Time Warner Inc., The Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the New York City Council.

Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, fourteen Lucille Lortel Awards, sixteen Obie Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and twenty-two AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year. For more information on Signature please visit

AboutThe Pershing Square Signature Center
Opening in January 2012, The Pershing Square Signature Center is the new, permanent home of Signature Theatre. Spanning an entire city block at 42nd Street between Dyer and 10th Avenue, the Frank Gehry-designed The Pershing Square Signature Center will feature three intimate theatres, a studio theatre, rehearsal studio, and a public café and bookstore and will serve as both a theatre community hub and neighborhood destination. Working hand-in-hand with Signature leadership and architect of record H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC, Gehry’s design has been carefully calibrated to foster interaction among playwrights, artistic collaborators and the public. The Pershing Square Signature Center will allow the 20-year old Company, critically acclaimed for its programs that celebrate the playwright’s body of work, to expand and enhance its programming, introduce new initiatives, and build audiences.

At The Pershing Square Signature Center, the Company’s programming will include: Residency One, the continuation of Signature’s core program which provides audiences with an immersive exploration of the work of a singular playwright; Residency Five, a new artistic initiative which provides five-year residencies and guarantees three full productions for multiple playwrights to support the creation and staging of new work; and the Legacy Program, which honors the lifetime achievement of artists who have previously been in residence at Signature with stagings of new plays and signature works. The Pershing Square Signature Center will serve as the artistic home for as many as 9 playwrights at any one time, fostering a dynamic creative community where playwrights will engage directly with audiences and one another.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Linsanity: Sports Illustrated Cover Guy New York Knicks Starting Point Guard Jeremy Lin
Photos: AALDEF 2012 Justice in Action Honorees Parkin Lee, Jean Koh Peters and Fareed Zakaria Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Cindy Cheung’s solo show SPEAK UP CONNIE, directed by BD Wong at Stage Left Studio has been extended, February 5-15, 2012 Photo Flash: SPEAK UP CONNIE In Rehearsal
Feb. 13: Chinglish Playwright David Henry Hwang Moderates “RepresentAsian: The Changing Face of New York Theater” at Pope Auditorium at Fordham University
Larry Bryggman, Peter Jay Fernandez, Arliss Howard and David Pittu Set for Atlantic Theater Company’s CQ/CX, January 25-March 4, 2012
Ma-Yi Theatre Company Presents Qui Nguyen’s THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G at Theatre Row’s Beckett Theatre, 2/7 – 3/4
Photos: Eiko Ishioka
Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert and Minnesota Tour, February 9-19, 2012
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Photos & Video: Celebrate Chinese New Year with David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish through January 29, 2012
Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert and Minnesota Tour, February 9-19, 2012
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway and John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor for Windows Unveiling
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo opening night of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Subscribe to Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. In 2010, the Library of Congress established The Lia Chang APA Theater Portfolio in the Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian Pacific American Islander Collection.

Bookmark and Share

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on