TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is presenting The Lake Effect, the newest drama from Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. The Lake Effect began previews March 4th for a March 7th opening, and will continue performances through March 29, 2015. For tickets and information, visit www.TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
Set in a shuttered Indian restaurant, The Lake Effect centers on the owner’s grown children as they ponder the legacy of their family business. This engaging new work, which has already been awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play, is helmed by TheatreWorks’ New Works Director Giovanna Sardelli, who also directed the world premiere of Joseph’s The North Pool at TheatreWorks. That production was lauded by critics and audiences, receiving the Will Glickman Award and the Edgerton New American Play Award.
Borrowing its title from a meteorological phenomenon that occurs when a cold weather system passes over a warmer body of water, resulting in a deluge of snow or icy rain, The Lake Effect unfolds in layers of emotional and psychological torrents. Estranged siblings Vijay (Adam Poss) and Priya (Nilanjana Bose) find themselves at the restaurant of their ailing father. Through the course of the play, the duo sorts through the remnants of pain and love left after a childhood forever marred by the death of their mother. In addition to their difficulties with grief and reconciliation, Vijay and Priya also clash with Bernard (Jason Bowen), whose complex relationship with their father ranges from sometime bookie to close friend and surrogate son. Laced with moments of both tenderness and comedy, The Lake Effect is a richly woven portrait of family dysfunction, unlikely friendship, and the strange ways death can unearth long-buried truths.
Called “Simply brilliant” by Showbiz Chicago, The Lake Effect opened at Chicago’s Silk Road Rising in 2013, and was honored with the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones described the play’s in-depth look at “the struggle of the well-educated children of immigrants, who might reject the careful, small-business ways of their parents, and surely do not share their accents, but who inevitably remain tied to their family in ways they struggle to fully process.” His review went on to praise “Joseph’s rich storytelling abilities” noting, “You’re never ahead of this prismatic play, which reminds me in places of Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts, but nonetheless manages to be very distinctive. It’s especially admirable in its sense of balance.”
TheatreWorks has assembled a dynamic cast for The Lake Effect including Adam Poss, who reprises his role as “Vijay” after starring in the Chicago premiere of The Lake Effect in 2013. About his performance, Stage and Cinema noted, “Every time that Poss tossed out an incredulous ‘What?’ it was filled with more layers than most actors find in an entire monologue.” TheatreWorks audiences will remember Mr. Poss as the young student in Joseph’s psychological thriller The North Pool. He also appeared in Animals Out of Paper at Steppenwolf Garage. Other Chicago credits include Christopher Shinn’s Teddy Ferrara at The Goodman Theatre and the world premiere of Antebellum, written and directed by Robert O’Hara at Athenaeum Theatre. Mr. Poss is a member of Erasing the Distance, an organization dedicated to education about mental illness through theatre. Regionally, he appeared at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC in The History Boys. Television credits include “Chicago Fire,” “Shameless,” and” The Mob Doctor”.
Nilanjana Bose joins the cast as “Priya.” Ms. Bose has performed widely in both the United States and India, and received her BFA in theatre from The Juilliard School. Off- Broadway theatre credits include Tamburlaine the Great (Theatre for a New Audience) and The Memorandum (The Actors Company Theatre). She was also featured in the Dorset Theatre Festival production of Noises Off, and has appeared internationally in productions with Shakespeare Society Productions (New Delhi, India) and Calcutta Club Productions (Kolkata, India).
Jason Bowen will play the role of “Bernard” in this production. Boston theatre credits include A Raisin in the Sun (“Joseph Asagai”), Ma Rainey’ s Black Bottom (“Levee”), and Ruined (“Fortune”) at Huntingon Theatre Company, as well as Othello (“Othello”), The Tempest (“Ferdinand”), and Twelfth Night (“Orsino”) at Actors’ Shakespeare Project. Bowen has received numerous awards including Best Actor at the 2013 Independent Reviewers of New England Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Best Actor in Boston Magazine’s 2012 Best of Boston Awards.
Director Giovanna Sardelli is TheatreWorks’ Director of New Works. She helmed the world premieres of Rajiv Joseph productions The North Pool, All This Intimacy, and Animals Out of Paper, for which she received a Joe A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Director. A long-time collaborator of Joseph’s, Sardelli also directed The Leopard and the Fox with Alter Ego Productions and Huck & Holden at Cherry Lane Theatre. Other credits include The Whipping Man (Old Globe Theatre) and world premieres of Christopher Wall’s Dreams of the Washer King (Playwrights Realm), Lila Rose Kaplan’s Wildflower (Second Stage), Zoe Kazan’s Absalom (Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival) and Adriana Sevan’s Taking Flight (developed: Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, world premiere: Center Theatre Group). Ms. Sardelli received her MFA from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU and graduated from its Director’s Lab.
Rajiv Joseph came to national attention when his celebrated hit Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo became a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and received an Outstanding New American Play Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. With direction by Moisés Kaufman, Bengal Tiger was a sensational hit at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in 2009 and moved to the Mark Taper Forum in 2010 where the New York Times described it as a “boldly imagined, harrowing and surprisingly funny drama.” The show made its Broadway debut starring Robin Williams in March 2011. Joseph’s other New York productions include Gruesome Playground Injuries, All This Intimacy, and Animals Out of Paper (all at Second Stage Theatre); The Leopard and the Fox (adaptation, Alter Ego); and Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre). He received his BA in Creative Writing from Miami University and his MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is the librettist and co-lyricist for the musical, Fly. Joseph also wrote for the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” for its third and fourth seasons and was the co- screenwriter of the film Draft Day, which was released last year, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. Joseph was named a 2010 Rockefeller Fellow by United States Artists. He is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, the Whiting Award, the Glickman Award, the 2013 Equity Jeff Award for The Lake Effect, produced by Silk Road Rising in Chicago and the prestigious 2013 Steinberg Playwright Award from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. This year two of his new plays, Mr. Wolf and Guards at the Taj, will premiere at South Coast Repertory and Atlantic Theatre Company, respectively. Guards at the Taj was awarded the 2015 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, given annually for an unproduced, full-length play of social relevance by an emerging American playwright.
With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatergoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical that played on Broadway for three years before embarking on a 19 month national tour, was first workshopped and received its world premiere. It is currently enjoying an extended run on London’s West End.
SHOWS: Previews: 8:00 PM Tuesdays: 7:30 PM, Wednesdays: 2:00PM, 7:30PM, Thursdays and Fridays: 8:00 PM, Saturdays: 2:00 PM, 8:00 PM, Sundays: 2:00 PM, 7:00 PM.
TICKETS: $19 (30 and under) – $74; savings available for educators, seniors, and patrons 30 and under. A $6 convenience fee will be assessed for online and telephone orders. Pricing subject to change. For information or to order tickets visit theatreworks.org or call (650) 463-1960
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