Winner of the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Winner and finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Playwrighting Prize, I AND YOU is a haunting play about the strange and transcendent connections between us all.

lucilleintheskywithdragqueens:

Tonight is our first invited preview audience for I AND YOU by Lauren Gunderson at Invisible Theatre here in Tucson, AZ. I’m so anxious to get this show in front of people. It’s so beautiful, and sweet, and sad, and true to the way teenagers interact without making fun of them. 

Ticket and schedule information can be found at www.invisibletheatre.com 

We have discounted student pricing on Fridays and Saturdays that knock them down from $30 to $10 so if you’re fortunate enough to be in school, and an avid theatre goer in Tucson, that would be the perfect time to come. 

Find more information about the play, playwright, and the show’s overall progression here iandyouplay
lucilleintheskywithdragqueens:

Tonight is our first invited preview audience for I AND YOU by Lauren Gunderson at Invisible Theatre here in Tucson, AZ. I’m so anxious to get this show in front of people. It’s so beautiful, and sweet, and sad, and true to the way teenagers interact without making fun of them. 

Ticket and schedule information can be found at www.invisibletheatre.com 

We have discounted student pricing on Fridays and Saturdays that knock them down from $30 to $10 so if you’re fortunate enough to be in school, and an avid theatre goer in Tucson, that would be the perfect time to come. 

Find more information about the play, playwright, and the show’s overall progression here iandyouplay

lucilleintheskywithdragqueens:

Tonight is our first invited preview audience for I AND YOU by Lauren Gunderson at Invisible Theatre here in Tucson, AZ. I’m so anxious to get this show in front of people. It’s so beautiful, and sweet, and sad, and true to the way teenagers interact without making fun of them.

Ticket and schedule information can be found at www.invisibletheatre.com

We have discounted student pricing on Fridays and Saturdays that knock them down from $30 to $10 so if you’re fortunate enough to be in school, and an avid theatre goer in Tucson, that would be the perfect time to come.

Find more information about the play, playwright, and the show’s overall progression here iandyouplay

A lovely poster of #IAndYou from Arizona’s Invisible Theatre
A lovely poster of #IAndYou from Arizona’s Invisible Theatre

A lovely poster of #IAndYou from Arizona’s Invisible Theatre

On Insisting That I AND YOU is Cast With Diversity

This is the character description at the very beginning of I and You:

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Cast of Characters

ANTHONY, a boy, 17. He is neat, poised, mature for his age. African-American. He’s an “a” student, a team player, a nice guy. He’s not really great around girls. he takes his homework very seriously. when he likes something (jazz music) he is all in. Throughout the whole play he looks at Caroline like he’s trying to figure her out. Like he really needs to know who she is.

CAROLINE, a girl, 17. She is in comfy clothing, she does not expect company, she is sick but mainly just looks a little weak and frumpy. She doesn’t go out. She is cynical, over it, does not let a stray “feeling” near the surface. White.

Casting Note

The race of each character can be altered. The only essentiality is that the characters not be the same race.

I’ve had a few casting directors and AD’s ask about that italicized note at the bottom. "The only essentiality is that the characters not be the same race.”

Why insist on diversity?

1) It’s Exactly What I Saw As I Was Writing

In my mind, Anthony was a young black man and Caroline was white. It mirrored the high school and middle school reality I grew up in in Atlanta, GA. Simple as that. The setting of the play reflects this when it says:

SETTING: Now. In your city (I imagine Atlanta, GA)

Regionalism and specificity of place were not that important to exhibit in this play for me. But it’s always helpful to know exactly what the writer envisioned (if anything) as she was writing.  

2) It’s More Interesting

I’m desperate for plays that are written with and for internal diversity. I think we all often see season planning that offers a lot of shows with all-white casts, and then one play all African-American or All-Asian-American, or Latino/a cast. I want to see plays where more of us inhabit the same play, the same story. My friends are varied and I’m sure yours are too. 

I’m not talking about blind casting, which is needed and beneficial and fabulous. I’m talking about writing plays with the specific intention for diversity onstage. It was important to me that this play do that. So I insisted.

3) There’s a Deeper Meaning

The entire point of this play and the Whitman poetry it’s characters reference is unity, democracy, one-ness. Just having two actors of different racial backgrounds onstage together is part of telling that story. It’s become a silent, visual sub story of a play that’s all about connection and communion. And after one sees the play, there might be a even deeper discussion of the final meaning.

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What’s Next?

Thus far every production has had the original racial breakdown that I indicated: white girl, black boy. It’s worked beautifully in four cities and counting. But I must admit that I’m looking forward to productions that switches it up based on their community’s cultural breakdown. A Japanese Caroline and a Latino Anthony? A Persian Caroline and an Israeli Anthony? How can this play present a bridge or challenge or possibility, just by who the audience sees telling them the story?

I hope the casting iterations add to the play’s reflection of whatever community this play finds itself in. I hope it provokes a conversation that might not have happened otherwise (I and You was a part of Geva Theatre post show series about race). And I hope the casting continues to help the play unpack it’s message of ultimate human solidarity.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the granddaddy of American poetry; the gray ghost; the big thumper; the barbarian’s text with its barbaric yawp; the nation’s first truly great mega biblion; the Kosmos; the Civil War witness; the seaside songbook; the irreverent hymnal; the book of the lover; the book of the loafer; the peacemaker; Leaves of Grass.”

More here

Hello my name is Lauren and I am a playwright and you are room full of critics and that is not awkward at all.
-

Perspectives in Criticism talk, the 33rd in a series that began in 1992.
By Lauren Gunderson, playwright

For the ATCA National Conference at the Humana Festival, April 3, 2014

Read the full text here