By John Strand
Monday, June 9 at 7:30 pm
Directed by Gregg Henry
Locally Grown: Community Supported Art Festival
Washington, DC, 1980. Peter loves Kay. Kay leaves her husband for Peter. Kay pleads with Peter not to abandon the symphony he is composing and take that State Department job. Six months later, Peter is in Baghdad, part of the U.S. foreign policy initiative to implant a Western-style democracy in the Arab world. They shower money and military aid on their hand-picked candidate: Saddam Hussein.
Spanning the years from the early 1980s to 2002 and based on factual events leading up to the Iraq War, Orchestration looks at the human effects of lying, dissembling, marketing and maneuvering—and making bad choices—in politics and in love.
John Strand is a winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Playwriting, and was named Broadway Play Publishing’s Playwright of the Year. Recent work includes the book and lyrics for Hat! A Vaudeville, a new musical with a score by composer Dennis McCarthy (South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, Calif.); Lincolnesque, a dark comedy about politics and madness in Washington, DC, (The Old Globe, San Diego, directed by Joe Calarco); and Lorenzaccio, his adaptation of Alfred de Musset's 1834 French classic (The Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, DC, directed by Michael Kahn). Strand is the author of the book for the musical The Highest Yellow, with a score by Michael John LaChiusa, at Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va., directed by Eric Schaeffer. Among his other plays are Lovers and Executioners, Arena Stage, winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play; The Diaries, commissioned by Signature Theatre and nominated for the MacArthur; Tom Walker, commissioned by Arena Stage. Additional plays are Otabenga, directed by Michael Kahn at Signature Theatre, nominated for the MacArthur; The Miser, an adaptation of the Molière play set in Reagan-era America, at Arena Stage; Three Nights in Tehran, a comedy about the Iran-Contra affair, Signature Theatre; The Cockburn Rituals, Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Strand spent 10 years in Paris, where he worked as a journalist and drama critic, writing in English and French, and directed New York University's Experimental Theater Wing in Paris. His novel Commieland (Kiwai Media, Paris) was published in the spring of 2013. His latest play, The Originalist, about Justice Antonin Scalia, will premier at Arena Stage in March 2015.
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