Great Reviews for 60 Miles to Silver Lake
Great Reviews for 60 Miles to Silver Lake
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THE WASHINGTON POST
Family Drama '60 Miles' Goes on Forever at Studio Theatre
By Nelson Pressley
Monday, April 26, 2010
An intriguing exhibition is taking place upstairs at the Studio Theatre, where two actors have mastered a blitzkrieg of father-son scenes, playing them all in the front seat of a car. The dialogue propels the duo backward and forward in time, sometimes hurtling across years in a single line. The non-linear memorization alone is impressive.
So, too, is the layered soundscape of radio tunes, dreams and memories that act as cushion and counterpoint to the dialogue. Also notable is the bank of Volvo tailgates on the back wall of the rough-and-ready Stage 4 space, plus the welded frame and cushioned seats that make up the car the characters occupy -- hey, nice body work.
There is a 75-minute play in the middle of all this: It's called "60 Miles to Silver Lake," and it chronicles the awful relationship between the father and son, who have been stuck together in the car time and again over the years. (The script just won a playwriting prize from The New York Times.) The family situation is glum, and the father, in particular, is a cartoonish, smarmy cretin of carnal appetites and alarmingly inappropriate advice. The story, if told straight, would probably be too thin to hold the stage.
Playwright Dan LeFranc thus makes a puzzle of it, locking Ky (the father) and Denny (the son) in place and listening for the significant repetitions in their dialogue over the years. One moment Denny's a preteen; the next, he's about to get his driver's license. Tropes come up again and again: Has Ky thought to bring any food for the kid after soccer? (Mom reliably brings burgers in a bag.) Does Denny's mom -- Ky's ex-wife -- have a job yet?
Bit by bit, we rough in the details of the divorce. Then comes evidence of the brazen infidelities, and then the trash-talking as Ky and the unseen ex-wife vent their mutual bitterness through poor Denny. The play's snap is all in the form, which is exceptionally well-handled by director Serge Seiden, the designers and the actors. Lights and sound shift on a dime, with Chris Mancusi (appropriately revolting as Ky) and Andrew Sonntag (a wry, disobedient menace as Denny) instantly adjusting as the story lurches two years backward, five years ahead -- whenever.
It doesn't add up to much more than a parlor trick. As time compresses, the show accelerates as if the gas pedal's stuck, and the acting takes on a grotesque quality, the characters riffing on their pathetic performances as warped father and son, trapped in a journey of alienation. The theatrics are swell . . . but are we there yet?
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WASHINGTON CITY PAPER
60 Miles to Silver Lake By Dan LeFranc; Directed by Serge Seiden At Studio Theatre Second Stage through May 9
Stalled Orange County freeways. Overheard family fights. Divorce. If cloudy VHS-era Belfast feels like purgatory, Studio Theatre’s 60 Miles to Silver Lake is set squarely in hell. Serge Seiden’s moving production of Dan LeFranc’s remarkable play offers at least modest hope that beauty and mercy can exist even there.
We’re trapped in the front seat of a Volvo crawling north up the Santa Ana Freeway with surly teen Denny and estranged dad Ky (Andrew Sonntag and Chris Mancusi). Ky’s shitty job always keeps him from arriving to exercise his weekend visitation rights until after Denny’s Saturday soccer games have ended. As in most families, their conversation is repetitive and predictable as the grave: Ky wants to know if his ex-wife has found a job or a boyfriend; Denny wants some In-N-Out Burger, control of the stereo, money to join another soccer league. At first, listening to this whiny kid and his flailing pop alternately attempt and resist connection with one another is as enervating as playwright Dan LeFranc no doubt intends. You’re never more conscious of being confined in your seat than when watching people confined in theirs—no surprise that even at 80 minutes, the show sometimes threatens to persist into yawning eternity.
But then staccato scene-breaks begin warping and folding the narrative we’ve been watching in real time. One hellish car trip splinters into many, seen as through a prism. We began to catch oblique glimpses of Ky and Denny’s memories, or dreams, or visions of their futures. The more we learn of their experience of the circumstances that pulled the family apart, the harder it becomes to sustain our early impression of them a louse and a brat.
Luciana Stecconi’s set thickens the air of mortality, hanging six Volvo hatchbacks behind the skeleton car the two actors inhabit, an image that suggests stacked caskets almost as readily as it does a bumper-to-bumper gridlock. And about those actors: Wow. Sonntag and Mancasui don’t get a second’s rest, and the emotional leaps demanded of them are as long and jarring as the temporal ones. It isn’t a comfortable ride, this journey from “When are we going to get there?” to “What are we going to get?” But the account of the trip is truthful and revelatory.
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Studio's 'Sixty Miles' a look into father-son dysfunction
Special to The Examiner
April 22, 2010
Dan LeFranc's "Sixty Miles to Silver Lake," at the Studio Theatre, is a stylistically unconventional play about a familiar theatrical subject: divorce and its aftermath. Set in a car, with only enough room for the driver and one passenger, its characters are a clueless divorced father, Ky (Chris Mancusi), and his soccer-loving son, Denny (Andrew Sonntag).
The premise of the play is that Ky picks Denny up every weekend after Denny's soccer game and drives him 60 miles away from Orange County, Calif., where Denny's mother lives, to Ky's home in Silver Lake.
"Sixty Miles" begins with deliberately repetitious and familiar scenes, in which Ky grills Denny on every trip about his ex-wife, her new social life, her job search. Denny responds with demands for his favorite fast food, computer games, loud music. They argue about everything -- from sports to the intelligence quotient of Denny's mother.
Yet those early scenes are not there to simply demonstrate the most prosaic, boring discussions an insensitive father and his reticent son might have. They serve as prologue, establishing a base line for the psychological violence to come.
LeFranc employs a clever technique in "Sixty Miles." It quickly becomes evident that the play exists in a time warp, taking place throughout a span of seven years. Denny is a young teenager at the start, then older, then 9, then in college.
The jumps in time give a frenetic sense to the play, which is exaggerated by the fact that, as the play draws to a close, the scenes get shorter and shorter, some lasting only a few seconds. The dialogue grows increasingly brief, then becomes nonexistent. As directed by Serge Seiden, the scenes illustrate Denny's increasing anger, need and fear as even the pretense of communication diminishes.
Sonntag is marvelous as Denny, capturing the disinterest, disgust and rage a teenage boy might feel at the way his parents have behaved and the terror he might feel at what waits in store for him. Whether he presses his face against the window in boredom or lashes out in anger to his father, Sonntag's Denny is the epitome of angst and loneliness.
Mancusi plays Ky as a gruff, pathetic loser, so out of touch with reality that he can't see why he has no connection with his child. Ky is not only a bumbling dad trying too hard to be a pal to his estranged son, he asks parentally incorrect questions and offers inappropriate sexual advice to Denny. As if that weren't enough, Ky is actively cruel; Mancusi emphasizes both Ky's idiocy and his brutality.
Ryan Gastelum's sound design and John Burkland's lighting design are powerful, demarking one trip to Silver Lake from the next. Luciana Stecconi's set is simple and effective. The frame of the front seat of a Volvo creates the confining locus for this road trip from hell, a dramatic statement of severe emotional claustrophobia and need.
A long ride home
Patrick Folliard | Apr 22, 2010 |
For most teenagers, a longish drive alone in the car with mom or dad is tantamount to torture. It’s no less painful for some parents. Playwright Dan LeFranc’s “60 Miles to Silver Lake” (currently in production at The Studio 2ndStage) draws on this unpleasant vehicular phenomenon to explore a particularly prickly father/son relationship.
Every Saturday, divorced dad Ky (Chris Mancusi) collects his teenage son Denny (Andrew Sonntag) from the soccer field near his ex-wife’s house in Orange County and drives the 60 miles to his new place in Los Angeles for a joint-custody weekend. Sadly, a potential bonding experience that usually kicks off with some light banter typically devolves into an interrogation session rife with accusations, recriminations, and some below the belt hits.
Set entirely in the front seat of Ky’s Volvo, LeFranc’s quick-paced, 90-minute play spans Denny’s adolescence, shuffling scenes from the weekly commute that is an ongoing part of the characters’ lives. Literally trapped together, the father and son (who, incidentally, do love one another) are forced to awkwardly confront, if not work out, their mutual feelings of abandonment and hurt.
Through innumerable, non-chronological scenes, the broken family’s sad, familiar story unfolds: Infidelity, bitter divorce, and an only child placed uncomfortably in the middle of two feuding exes. During these drives, Ky’s never-to-be-resolved questions remain constant: Has his ex-wife found a job yet? Is she seeing anybody? Who’s going to pay for Denny’s pricey soccer club?
Sonntag’s pubescent Denny is too wide-eyed and babyish. He fares better as the older teen with his wonderfully disaffected body language and sidelong looks. As the boorish father, Mancuso is appropriately embarrassing — casually racist, sexist and forever curious about his son’s incipient sex life (“Got your fingers fishy yet, son?”). Now and then, Ky mortifies his son with bad animal impersonations. For Denny however, his father’s most egregious offense is finding Jesus and attempting to play Christian rock CDs on their 60-mile trips.
Staged by Studio’s gay associate producing artistic director Serge Seiden, the production’s design elements are simple but effective. Throughout the show, Denny wears a muddied soccer uniform while Ky is dressed in Dockers style office drag (compliments of designer Brandee Mathies). Luciana Stecconi’s set is the interior of a car backed by a wall of six, real Volvo rear windows. A haze hangs over the set, adding to the memory, time traveler qualities of the piece.
Seiden succeeds in drawing some incredibly authentic moments from his actors. And when the production moves away from the naturalistic and toward the dreamy, Seiden’s strong yet graceful touch is evident, bringing the work’s poignancy to the fore.
Lefranc’s seemingly commonplace dialogue is surprisingly compelling. And while the situation is stereotypical and could easily feel stale, it doesn’t. The joy and pain of the parent/child experience is so basic — a skillful retelling is always welcome.
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Chris Mancusi (Ky) THE STUDIO 2NDSTAGE: TempOdyssey (u/s) THE STUDIO THEATRE: In the Red and Brown Water, The Pillowman (u/s), Shining City (u/s), The Internationalist (u/s), Adding Machine: A Musical (u/s). LOCAL: Sugar Gliders, Source Festival 2009; Homokay's Medea, Venus Theatre; Lost And Foundling, Imagination Stage; Fool For Love, Winters Lane Productions; Blue Window, The Underpants, Coyote On A Fence, 5th Of July, Maryland Ensemble Theatre; The Italian-American Reconciliation, Landless Theatre Company. TRAINING: The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory; The Maryland Ensemble School and The Theatre Lab.
Andrew Sonntag (Denny) THE STUDIO THEATRE 2NDSTAGE: Reefer Madness: The Musical (Helen Hayes nomination; Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical). LOCAL: Glory Days (u/s) Signature Theatre; Redhand Guitar, Arena Stage; Souvenirs, Bernstein's Mass, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, The Secret Garden, Adventure Theatre; Camelot, The Call of the Wild, Olney Theatre Center; The Stephen Schwartz Project, MetroStage; The Neverending Story, Imagination Stage; Marisol, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Gilbert V. Hartke Theatre. EDUCATION: The Catholic University of America, B.A. in Drama; American Theatre Wing, Springboard NYC.
Directors and Designers
Serge Seiden (Director) THE STUDIO 2NDSTAGE: All That I Will Ever Be, This is Our Youth, Ecstacy, Mad Forest, Durang/Durang, Hot Fudge, Sincerity Forever. THE STUDIO THEATRE: In the Red and Brown Water, Grey Gardens, My Children! My Africa!, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, The Long Christmas Ride Home, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Black Milk, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The York Realist, A Class Act, A New Brain, Two Sisters and a Piano, Blue Heart, The Last Night of Ballyhoo,
Old Wicked Songs. CURRENT: Studio Theatre Associate Producing Artistic Director and teacher at The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory.
Luciana Stecconi (Setting) THE STUDIO 2NDSTAGE: That Face, A Beautiful View, All
That I Will Ever Be, Crestfall. THE STUDIO THEATRE: In the Red and Brown Water, The Year of Magical Thinking, Stoop Stories, Amnesia Curiosa, created and performed by rainpan43, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Lypsinka: The Passion of the Crawford. REGIONAL: Zero Hour, Theatre J; Scenes from an Execution, The Two Orphans (Brandeis Theatre Company). AWARDS: 2010 Mayor’s Art Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist, 2006 Ira
Gershwin Prize. EDUCATION: Brandeis University, M.F.A. in Theatre Arts: Design.
John Burkland (Lighting) THE STUDIO 2NDSTAGE: A Beautiful View, The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, Frozen, TempOdyssey, All That I Will Ever Be. THE STUDIO THEATRE: Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins. LOCAL: Theater Alliance, Long Acre Leah, MetroStage, Rorschach Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center. NYC: Lincoln Center Institute, La Mama E.T.C., Sonnet Repertory, HB Playwrights Studio, Guggenheim Arts in Process, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Skirball Center, NYC Fringe, and The Summer Play Festival. REGIONAL: The Williamstown Theater Festival, Bellingham Theater Guild, Little Theater of Winston-Salem, The Actors Theater of Atlanta, Andrea Dance, and the Dance Gallery Among others. EDUCATION: North Carolina School of the Arts.
Ryan Gastelum (Sound) LOCAL: The Light in the Piazza, The Fantasticks (Assistant Designer) Arena Stage; Full Circle, Eclipsed (Assistant Designer) Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Teddy Roosevelt and the Ghostly Mistletoe, Barrio Grrrl!!!, (Assistant Designer) The Kennedy Center. REGIONAL: Leaving Iowa, Ordinary Days, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Alice, A Year with Frog and Toad, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte; From the Mississippi Delta, Mrs. Warrens Profession, Beautiful Star, Sleuth, Triad Stage. EDUCATION: M.F.A. in Sound Design, North Carolina School of the Arts.
Brandee Mathies (Costumes) THE STUDIO 2NDSTAGE: A Beautiful View, Crestfall, Polaroid Stories, This Is Our Youth. THE STUDIO THEATRE: The Year of Magical Thinking, Stoop Stories, Rimers of Eldritch, A Number, The Syringa Tree, Comic Briefs. LOCAL: Spunk (Assistant Designer), CenterStage; Blues for an Alabama Sky, Sunday in the Park with George (First Hand), Arena Stage; Black Nativity (Assistant Designer), The Kennedy Center; God’s Trombones, Jelly’s Last Jam (Assistant Designer), Howard University Theater. NATIONAL TOURS: A Cry in the Dark (Assistant Designer). CURRENT: Costume Shop Manager, The Studio Theatre.
The Playwright: Dan LeFranc
Dan LeFranc’s plays include Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, Origin Story, Bruise Easy, Night Surf, In The Labyrinth, The Fishbone Fables, Backyard, Kill The Keepers, and Catgut. His work has been produced and developed across the country at institutions such as Page 73 Productions, Soho Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Studio Theatre, Circle X Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Sundance Theatre Institute, MCC, The Kennedy Center, American Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, ArsNova, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Clubbed Thumb, Magic Theatre, Inc., American Theatre Company, Babel Theatre Project, Perishable Theater, and Kitchen Dog Theater, among others. Dan is a member of New Dramatists, the MCC Playwrights Coalition, and an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Awards include the Whitfield Cook Award, the John C. Russell Fellowship in Playwriting, a Djerassi Resident Artists Program Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony/Alpert Foundation Residency; and commissions from Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, and Perseverance Theatre. Dan received his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his MFA from Brown University, where he served as visiting faculty in Literary Arts and head playwriting instructor at the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium. He was born and raised in Southern California and currently lives in Brooklyn.
Sixty Miles to Silver Lake bends time and space as a boy and his father traverse damage of a rough divorce and growing older. Set entirely in the front seat of a used car, the men are glued to the pleather and seatbelted in tightly as they speed down a California freeway toward territory both familiar and strange.
Other Plays by Dan LeFranc
Bruise Easy (2009)
Night Surf (2008)
In The Labyrinth (2008)
The Fishbone Fables (2007)
Origin Story (2006)
An Exclusive Interview With The Playwright
Dan LeFranc on Sixty Miles to Silver Lake
What were the challenges of fitting the action of Sixty Miles to Silver Lake in a locked, moving car?
Well, Sixty Miles began as my attempt to write a play about a father and son, and when I started digging into my relationships with various father figures I realized that so many of the memories took place in cars. Especially during those ritualistic weekends of “visitation rights” after soccer games. So immediately I knew the play MUST take place in a car during these weekend rituals. It felt like it was the only way I could do it with any integrity. But, of course, that’s like one of the cardinal rules of playwriting: don’t set your play in a car. If you do, you’re SCREWED. But I really love to do things like that. I love to approach my writing with an impossible task in mind. Restrictions that seem like you’ll never overcome them, but in the long run fuel the creative force. It’s kinda like trying to paint with one hand tied behind your back. It’s frustrating as hell, but I think the work is better for it. Due to these limitations, I knew that if I wanted to create a dynamic, emotionally compelling theatrical event I needed to find a way to tell the story in an unexpected and unconventional way. Something that fractured my notion of how these father/son stories are usually told and allowed me to approach the relationship in a new but truthful way. So I thought a lot about what it’s like for me to be around my parents. And after a while I discovered that whenever they’re around I always feel like I’m simultaneously ten, fifteen, eighteen, twenty years old, etc. No matter how old I am it’s like I’m all my younger selves at once. I find myself complaining the way I did when I was twelve. Or needling like a sixteen year-old needles. Phases you think you’ve out grown all of a sudden reemerge. It’s weird and scary. And that idea felt very honest to me, so once I figured that out the play broke open and I felt I had an insight into how to tell this story in a fresh, meaningful way.
You were born and raised in Southern California. What, if any, aspects of Sixty Miles are autobiographical?
A lot of the play is autobiographical but a lot of the play is also invented or an amalgam or an exaggeration of events. My parents divorced when I was very young so I never really knew them as a couple. I mostly knew them through the lens of custody battles, alimony, and visitation rights. Like I mentioned before, most of the time I spent with my father as a kid was during these weekends when he would pick my sister and me up after a soccer game and take us to his place. My little brother had a very similar experience with his father as well. But the father in Sixty Miles isn’t my father. Or my step-father or my mother or step-mother. He’s a composite. As is Denny. So, yeah, the play is very personal but I don’t think I could have written it if there weren’t a significant amount of distance.
Some of your plays feature repetition in the dialogue. What is it about repetition that fascinates you?
I don’t know if it’s repetition that fascinates me so much as finding new structures to tell more emotionally rich, visceral, and compelling stories. That’s what I set out to do most of the time when I write a play. I oftentimes ask myself, What’s the most honest way to express this experience to someone? And the answer usually leads me to something a little off the beaten path. In this case, I use repetition as a means to express what it’s like to be a part of this agonizing and wonderful and scary and funny father/son ritual. I’m a big believer in the old Russian Formalist idea of Defamiliarization—that art’s primary duty is to make us see the familiar as strange and the strange as familiar. And I think if you want to hit an audience with a satisfying emotional wallop or an important idea, you’ve got to allow them to see something in a way they’ve never seen it before. Now don’t get me wrong. The classic forms are great. They’re very effective. But for me, in order to really grab someone you’ve got to show them something new. But not for the sake of “newness” or “furthering the craft.” But rather to better communicate the human experience to other human beings.
What’s frustrating is how slow theatre is to adapt. I look at what’s happening with narrative in mainstream television and film and internet media and it looks downright radical compared to what’s getting produced at most theatres across the country. And this always baffles me because theatre is so much cheaper and can be produced so much faster (well, except for maybe the internet) but for some reason it’s always the last to catch up.
The dialogue of Sixty Miles has a poetic and musical quality. How did you develop the poetry in your playwriting?
I think speech is music and I approach writing dialogue as I would writing music (if I had the ability!). The rhythms in my character’s language can be just as important to me as the meanings inside of them. But of course there’s so much meaning in rhythm. Meaning and rhythm are totally interwoven in my opinion. And I think that’s one of the reasons the dialogue on the page in many of my plays kind of cascades vertically like a poem and therefore gives the impression of being “poetic.” In truth, it’s just the best way for me to capture the music I hear in speech through the visual organization of the text. I usually tell actors to ignore the formatting, to trust their instincts, and only use it when it seems helpful. So when the language is spoken out loud I’m not sure it sounds poetic to the ear. In Sixty Miles, my hope is the dialogue kinda sounds like people talking how they talk.
Even though Denny and Ky remain stationary in the car during the play, you make the stage your playground with technical effects. Do you consider the complexities of staging your plays when you write them?
Oddly enough, Sixty Miles is probably my most tame play in terms of technical effects! I see stage directions as an open invitation for a fruitful but fraught artistic collaboration. Because let’s be real—those are the best kind! And while my stage directions can seem pretty outlandish and specific at times, I don’t necessarily intend for them to be treated literally. My hope is that they’re interpreted to respond to the moment, the space, the audience, the people in the room.
The American theatre just isn’t spectacular enough. And that doesn’t mean it ought to be more expensive. It’s just a shift in attitude, in values, I think. Look at what our visual artists are capable of pulling off with so very little. It’s absolutely incredible. So why do we settle for so much less in the theatre? And for me it’s not about imitating film and television. It’s about taking full advantage of the elements that make our art form what it is. We tend to tout “liveness” as the thing that distinguishes theatre from other dramatic mediums, but liveness isn’t enough. Yes, it’s a very special thing but it’s amazing how easily liveness can feel dead. Whenever I sit down to write I try to challenge myself—What are you going to DO with that liveness? I want to stretch liveness to its fullest. To its breaking point. This might sound corny, but at the end of the day, I think the thing that’s gonna determine if people come to the American theatre is whether or not we can keep the liveness alive.
Studio on the Road
In many ways, the new millennium’s technophilia moves Americans towards a more individual, less social society. Movie theatres are increasingly replaced by personalized viewing on Netflix, concerts are replaced by downloads on iTunes, and trips to the market are replaced by ordering groceries online. The car, like the theatre, is one of contemporary America’s last remaining social environments—a place where the medium itself involves people spending long periods of time together, in an enclosed space. Perhaps this is the reason why such compelling dramas take place in cars.
60 Miles to Silver Lake draws on the familiar experience of the sometimes stilted, sometimes life-changing conversations that takes place as trees whiz by on the freeway. It joins other recent Studio productions drawing on the theatrical wealth of rides in the car.
In the 2006-2007 Studio Season, Serge Seiden directed Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home, a portrait of a family’s emotionally-charged drive back from visiting their grandparents, incorporating bunraku-style puppets.
Paul Nolan, Laura Giannarelli, Emmy Bean, Courtney Bell and Lucas Maloney in
The Long Christmas Ride Home. Photo credit: Carol Pratt.
In 2006 Erica Gould directed the Studio 2ndStage’s world premiere of Autobahn by Neil LaBute. The piece was a collection of six short plays, all taking place in cars. In the title vignette, a nervous wife attempts to deal with the difficulties of having taken in a difficult foster child.
Karen Novack and Elizabeth Richards in Autobahn. Photo credit: Carol Pratt.
Like 60 Miles to Silver Lake, these plays portray not only the drive to or from a destination, but the drive to connect as a family. As Ky and Denny speed down Highway Five, they visit places that cannot be found on any map. And, as Herman Melville wrote, “true places never are.”
SIXTY MILES TO SILVER LAKE PLAYWRIGHT DAN LEFRANC WINS MAJOR PLAYWRITING AWARD!
On April 16 The New York Times announced that Dan LeFranc was the recipient of the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for his play Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, now playing at The Studio 2ndStage. “The judges admired the skill with which Mr. LeFranc mapped out two complicated characters in a difficult relationship,” said Sylviane Gold, chair of the award selection committee and a frequent contributor to the Times. “We also wanted to honor the theatrical imagination he used to transform an everyday situation – a father-son drive – into a highly dramatic one.”
Dan LeFranc writes with an edgy perspective, incomparable to any of his contemporaries. He is a graduate of Brown University’s MFA playwriting program and a former student of prominent playwrights Paula Vogel and Naomi Iizuka. His plays include Origin Story, Bruise Easy, Night Surf, In the Labyrinth, The Fishbone Fables, Backyard, Kill The Keepers and Catgut. His work has been produced and developed at institutions such as Page 73 Productions, Soho Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Vineyard Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Sundance Theatre Institute, MCC, The Kennedy Center, American Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, ArsNova, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Clubbed Thumb and American Theatre Company.
The prize will be presented on May 13 at a ceremony at the Times Center in Manhattan. The first recipient of The New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, in 2009, was Tarell Alvin McCraney for his play The Brothers Size. McCraney has also been a feature at The Studio Theatre with his plays The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water and next season’s Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet.