Eric Samuelsen bids farewell to the #SeasonOfEric

Eric Samuelsen has written for Plan-B Theatre Company for a decade where, in addition to the #SeasonOfEric, his plays MIASMA, AMERIGO and BORDERLANDS also received their world premieres. It’s very rare for a fully professional American theatre company to devote time and resources to new work by local playwrights. It’s exponentially rarer for companies to do entire seasons devoted to the work of a single playwright. I expect, rarest of all, would be for companies to market that season using the playwright’s first name. So: the Season of Eric. And I’m Eric; apparently sufficiently known (or at least notorious) to warrant not just a season of my work, but a marketing campaign based on my first name. It’s immensely flattering and a tremendous honor. Obviously, the greatest five events in my life were when I married Annette, and when each of our four children were born. I’m not kidding when I say this: The Season of Eric comes sixth. We started off with GHOSTS. My PhD dissertation was on Henrik Ibsen, most of my scholarly publications were on Ibsen; I’m an Ibsen guy. And I can say this unequivocally; I love GHOSTS. And of course the ending of the play is powerfully and movingly tragic. But I’ve seen GHOSTS in production many times, and I’ve always felt there was something essential missing. Humor. Dour old Ibsen, the stuffy Victorian moralist. As I translated the play, I kept cracking up; I loved Ibsen’s subversive satirical wit. In our Script-In-Hand Series production, we only had a few days to rehearse, but it was so thrilling to hear laughs in the house....

What the critics are saying about CLEARING BOMBS

Plan-B Theatre’s world premiere of Eric Samuelsen’s CLEARING BOMBS features Kirt Bateman, Mark Fossen and Jay Perry, directed by Eric Samuelsen.  Click here for tickets and more info – there are limited tickets available on Saturday, March 1 at 8pm and Sunday, March 2 at 2pm.  #SeasonOfEric …this production’s cast is perfectly balanced and impassioned. As Keynes, Mark Fossen is authoritative, idealistic and slightly arrogant. Jay Perry’s Hayek has the tenacity of a bull terrier, zeroing in on perceived weaknesses in his opponent’s argument and attacking. And Kirt Bateman’s Bowles is the epitome of the English everyman: patriotic, hardworking, earnest and opinionated. – The Salt Lake Tribune Samuelsen delivers a script that is hilarious, passionate and never less than enthralling….Samuelsen’s script could not be in better hands; Fossen, Perry and Bateman all give stirring performances. – Salt Lake Magazine You’ll find yourself gripped by economic theory in ways you never thought possible. – SLCene CLEARING BOMBS will clear the muddled air of today’s economic situation… – Utah Theatre Bloggers Samuelsen — who also directed — grounds this esoteric debate firmly in his characters, terrifically performed by all three cast members….Without stacking the deck, Samuelsen strips down and humanizes these often-abstract notions. It’s the most enthralling live-action economics textbook you’ll ever find. – City...

What people are saying about CLEARING BOMBS

Plan-B Theatre’s world premiere of Eric Samuelsen’s CLEARING BOMBS continues tomorrow through Sunday, March 2, 2014, featuring Kirt Bateman, Mark Fossen and Jay Perry, directed by Eric Samuelsen.  Click here for tickets and more info.  #SeasonOfEric #MustSeePlanB Mike Thompson I saw CLEARING BOMBS this afternoon and I think it was brilliant!  Please let Eric Samuelsen and the cast know how much I enjoyed the performance and issues raised. This play should be on Broadway! Caren Frost For me, this was pure joy with terrific performances thrown in. John Hatch The most dramatic introduction to economic theory I’ve encountered. Stephen Carter Great date night seeing CLEARING BOMBS at Plan-B Theatre. Amazing, smart dialogue. Quick and intense. I learned a thousand new things!  See it! Keri Jones [Actors] Jay Perry, Mark Fossen and Kirt Bateman are amazing! Riveting play from Eric Samuelsen! Beth Bruner GREAT play! I LOVED imagining an encounter between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek and an average bloke waiting for German bombs to drop on King’s College Cambridge.  I think it speaks well to today’s ongoing debates on economic policy as well as the factor of fear in the dismal science of economics. Erika George A play about opposing economic theories? Yes! It’s educational and entertaining at the same time. Hayek vs. Keynes. No matter where you fall on the economic theory spectrum, government stimulus vs. laissez faire, this play will make you think. Brian Doughty CLEARING BOMBS is captivating, well written, and well performed. We were on the front row and thoroughly enjoyed it. David Allred Brilliantly accessible, thought-provoking and poignant. Miriam Carter The play was amazing. Wonderful surprise. Go...

William Richardson reacts to CLEARING BOMBS

William Richardson, a 28-year-old local actor and choreographer, had a such a fantastic experience with CLEARING BOMBS that we asked him to share his thoughts here. Kirt Bateman, Mark Fossen and Jay Perry are phenomenal in Eric Samuelsen’s CLEARING BOMBS at Plan-B Theatre!  I haven’t been able to stop talking about it. Thought-provoking and haunting, I think it’s an important new work. Make sure you don’t miss it – cuz I wanna talk with you about it! I remember trying to memorize parts of the discussion while watching CLEARING BOMBS. Tapping my head, pounding in certain turns of phrase, points made on each side of an argument trying to figure out what led to, and more, what happens after World War II. But it was like holding water, flowing through new points made or other phrases turned, and after a moment I couldn’t hold on to any one thing lest I lose the conversation. I sat straighter in my seat, I leaned forward and found myself audibly responding to what was happening in this hypothetical conversation between economists John Maynard Keyes (Mark Fossen) and Friedrich Hayek (Jay Perry). At times the deliberation seemed to be officiated by, and at times to be completely over the head of our everyman, Mr. Bowles (Kirt Bateman). I saw other members of the audience throw their hands up in exasperation, I saw people nodding or shaking their heads, I heard laughter at times and sometimes when I didn’t, I laughed anyway. Thinking of how to respond, and after much discussion on a myriad of topics presented, not only after the show, but later that afternoon and the...

Jay Perry on CLEARING BOMBS

Jay Perry has appeared in Plan-B’s TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY, FACING EAST, THE ALIENATION EFFEKT, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, LADY MACBETH and every RADIO HOUR.  He also appeared in Plan-B’s PETER AND THE WOLF (elementary school tour in partnership with Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation) and THE SOLDIER’S TALE (in partnership with NOVA Chamber Music Series). When I was in college one of my professors told me that as long as I was speaking the words of a gifted playwright alongside gifted actors, I’d be living the dream.  I learned that my task was to uncover the clues that a good writer would invariably leave, like so many breadcrumbs along the path of poetic dialogue.  He told me that a great playwright was an actor’s very best friend and someone I could trust.  Any actor who’s spoken the words of such a writer knows what I’m talking about. My first Eric Samuelsen play was the Script-In-Hand Series reading of his gorgeous translation of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL HOUSE in 2011.  This masterpiece of Ibsen had long resonated as one of my favorites, being the first thing I ever saw on Broadway, and Eric’s translation was perfectly wrought and divine to play.  Earlier this season, I had the incredible opportunity to perform in Eric’s RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA.  Radio drama is my favorite theatre genre and in this one, Eric created characters who’s voices seemed to leap from the page and a visceral environment as real as if it were right in front of my eyes. CLEARING BOMBS is my third Eric Samuelsen play.  It’s a study in the theories of two...

Dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers peeks inside CLEARING BOMBS

Martine Kei Green-Rogers returns to Plan-B, having served as dramaturg for NOTHING PERSONAL earlier this season.  She is a Raymond C. Morales Post-Doctorate Fellow in the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah. CLEARING BOMBS reminds me a lot of my grandfather.  My grandfather was not a great economist; actually he really wasn’t an economist at all, unless you count the day-to-day economics of our household. He was a simple man. A WWII vet who was very proud of the service he provided for his country. As I began working on this play as dramaturg, I found a special affinity for the character of Mr. Bowles. Speaking with Eric Samuelsen, the playwright/director of this production, I figured out pretty quickly why. Mr. Bowles is based on his grandfather and, in numerous ways, the “everyman” in the world of this play. As we mused over the similarities between our grandfathers, the delicious mystery of why this play is so compelling became quite clear. Despite some of the complex and diverse ideas of economics that are discussed as these characters sit on a rooftop, something undeniable emerges – that the behavior of humans are at the heart of economics. I know, that idea sounds self-evident and trite. However, I really mean this. Let’s think about it – our desires for security, for longevity, for sustainability, for connection, etc. drive our economic systems. The theories that explain how we make and spend money are rooted in our desires for LIFE. These may reflect our passions and our fears but it always comes back to the idea of life. This brings me...

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