HEADLINE

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre Continues 2016-17 Season of New Plays with Franklin

BOSTON, MA: Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) continues its 2016-17 season with Franklin by Samantha Noble. Running from March 23 to April 2, this new drama is directed by Stephanie LeBolt.  The story of Franklin plays out in two parallel time periods: 1845, when the Franklin expedition sought the Northwest Passage in the arctic, and a contemporary story about an archaeologist searching for Franklin’s lost ship.

Franklin’s origin comes out of an assignment in one of Noble’s graduate classes with Professor Ronan Noone at Boston University. Noone challenged her to write a historical scene set at a moment that changed everything for the people involved. Noble says her mind went instantly to the last hours of the sailors of the Franklin expedition.

“It’s a moment when a great ambition became a great disaster,” she says. “But for the men involved, it’s something worse: it’s a moment of realizing that the ambition that you thought would make you great has doomed you.”

Noble says that, while she started writing the play because of everything known about the expedition, it’s what we don’t know about that voyage that drew her into the story.

“In one sense, the loss of the Franklin expedition is a mystery that’s been solved in my lifetime: we finally know the location of two lost ships that had practically become mythology in Canada,” she says. “In another sense, though, it’s a mystery that we’ll never solve. What really happened to and between the people on those ships? We can learn a lot from the Inuit oral history surrounding the expedition, and we can discover a great deal through ongoing research. We can speculate about lead poisoning, or the long-term effects of isolation and increasing desperation. But no matter what the science turns up or what information is preserved, we’ll only ever have the basic facts. We’ll never actually know what happened to Franklin’s men.”

Last summer Franklin was developed as part of the Kennedy Center and National New Play Network’s M.F.A. Playwrights’ Workshop. A post-show conversation with Franklin’s playwright, director, and cast members will follow the March 25 performance.

Noble is a member of the Boston University M.F.A. Playwriting Program class of 2017. She attended Smith College where she was awarded the Denis Johnston Playwriting Prize. Her play A Drink was sponsored by The Nora Theatre Company in Boston Theater Marathon XVIII. Director LeBolt makes her BPT directing debut with this production. LeBolt’s Boston credits include work with the Huntington Theatre Company, Fresh Ink Theatre, Lyric Stage and Bad Habit Productions.

BPT’s season concludes in April with Every Piece of Me by Mary Conroy, co-produced with the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre as part of its New Play Initiative.

SAMANTHA NOBLE is a Boston-based playwright and theatre artist. She attended Smith College where she was awarded the Denis Johnston Playwriting Prize. While at Smith, she acted as a Research Fellow in the joint faculty and student Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Liberal Arts Institute’s project titled “Evil,” for which she developed and staged her play The Strength of Stones. In 2013, she partnered with director Kathryn Stewart to create a Seattle-based theatre project, The Tenacity Theatre Collective, through which she premiered her original work An Actress vs. William Shakespeare as part of Seattle’s Arts Crush Festival. The play came to the East Coast as part of the Hamilton & Wenham Art Grows Here Festival. She worked with New Century Theatre in all aspects of theatrical production from 2008-2011. Her play A Drink was sponsored by The Nora Theatre Company in the 2016 Boston Theater Marathon. In summer of 2016, her newest play Franklin was developed as part of the Kennedy Center and National New Play Network’s M.F.A. Playwrights’ Workshop. She has worked as a dramaturg developing new works through Boston University and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and has taught Creative Writing at Boston University.

STEPHANIE LEBOLT is thrilled to make her directorial debut at Boston Playwrights' with Franklin. Upcoming work includes La Llorona (Fresh Ink Theatre) and The Ordinary Epic (Podcast). Boston credits include work with the Huntington Theatre Company, Fresh Ink Theatre, Lyric Stage, Bad Habit Productions, the Umbrella Arts Center, Solas Nua in Boston, The Open Theatre Project, One Minute Play Festival, and Boston Theater Marathon. She is a director, choreographer, producer, and artist-administrator based in Cambridge and a proud graduate of the University of Virginia.

Franklin by Samantha Noble
Directed by Stephanie LeBolt

March 23-April 2, 2017
Thurs. 7:30 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Adults ($30); BU Faculty/Staff ($25); Seniors-62+ ($25); Students with valid ID ($10)

Call 866.811.4111 or visit www.bostonplaywrights.org

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