A world premiere by Eric Samuelsen
October 24-November 3, 2013
Th & Fri @ 8 | Sat @ 4 & 8 | Sun @ 2
Studio Theatre @ Rose Wagner
138 W 300 S, SLC
No late seating
Running time 80 minutes, no intermission
Click here for 2013/14 Mini Season Subscriptions and/or Single Tickets
Beginning with the persecution and imprisonment of Susan McDougal, jailed for contempt of court for her principled refusal to lie before Kenneth Starr’s grand jury, NOTHING PERSONAL explores the loss of civil liberties and the violations of human rights that have since disfigured our culture and politics. Fanaticism and principle, false ideals and genuine integrity, prison, torture and the tug of freedom … it’s nothing personal.
Featuring Kirt Bateman, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin and April Fossen. Directed by Jerry Rapier.
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Who’s Who | Playright’s Statement
ERIC SAMUELSEN has written for Plan-B since 2004, where his plays MIASMA, AMERIGO and BORDERLANDS received their world premieres. He has had twenty-four plays produced across the country (most of them in Utah, but also in New York, Louisiana, Idaho and California). A three-time recipient of the Association for Mormon Letters award for best play, several of his plays have been published by Plan-B and Sunstone. His Ibsen translations have been produced in Utah, California and elsewhere (including A DOLL HOUSE and GHOSTS as part of Plan-B’s Script-In-Hand Series). Also a critic and stage director, Eric blogs at MormonIconoclast.com.
Kirt Bateman* (Kenneth) is honored to create another role in an Eric Samuelsen play, following AMERIGO in 2010 and BORDERLANDS in 2011, both here at Plan-B. He was honored with back-to-back City Weekly Arty Awards for his performances in those productions. Kirt considers Plan-B home and has had the privilege to lark about in many Plan-B events, fundraisers, readings, plays and even a musical. This is his first play since becoming a father, which is pretty awesome!
Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin (Matron) has appeared in Plan-B’s THE THIRD CROSSING and SLAM 2012. Past credits include LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL and WELL (Pygmalion Theatre Company); FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF (People Productions); THE OVERWHELMING and SATURDAY’S VOYEUR (Salt Lake Acting Company); MESSIAH, CROWNS, 1940’s RADIO HOUR and YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Grand Theatre); and TSEPHANGE (Sundance Theatre Lab). Human kindness is overflowing, and I think it’s gonna rain today.
April Fossen (Susan) has appeared in Plan-B’s SUFFRAGE, LADY MACBETH, MESA VERDE, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, MIASMA, eight SLAMs and the Script-in-Hand Series reading of 8. Other credits include THE RIGHTEOUS AND VERY REAL HOUSEWIVES OF UTAH COUNTY (Alligator Press Productions); LIVING OUT (Pygmalion Theatre Company) and AS YOU LIKE IT, ROMEO AND JULIET and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Davis Arts Council). Regional credits include Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the California Shakespeare Festival. April holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from UC Berkeley.
Cheryl Cluff (Sound Design) co-founded Plan-B in 1991 and is the company’s Managing Director. She has directed all of Plan-B’s RADIO HOURs (most recently EPISODE 7: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BLUE CARBUNCLE) as well as MESA VERDE, THE SCARLET LETTER and SUFFRAGE. Cheryl has designed sound for nearly every Plan-B production since 2000.
Martine Kei Green-Rogers (Dramaturg) makes her Plan-B debut. Her dramaturgical credits include UNCLE VANYA, ANTIGONE, CANDIDA, GHOSTS, TARTUFFE and SHYLOCK, THE JEW OF VENICE (Classical Theatre Company); THE MOUNTAINTOP, HOME and PORGY AND BESS (Court Theatre); and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE AFRICAN COMPANY PRESENTS RICHARD III, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and FENCES (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Raymond C. Morales Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Utah’s Department of Theatre.
Phillip R. Lowe (Costume Design) has designed for Plan-B since 2004, where his credits include ANIMAL FARM, BLOCK 8, WALLACE, THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER, AMERIGO, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, BORDERLANDS, LADY MACBETH, THE THIRD CROSSING, THE SCARLET LETTER, ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA and SUFFRAGE. Phil serves as the Director of Costumes & Wardrobe for Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre and teaches acting and theatre studies at Weber State University. He holds a BFA in Acting and Directing and an MFA in Theatrical Design from Utah State University.
Sarah Mohr* (Stage Manager) is delighted to make her Plan-B debut. Her credits include ROUNDING THIRD, THE CLEAN HOUSE and GO, DOG. GO! (Salt Lake Acting Company); SANTALAND DIARIES and PROJECT FABULOCITY (Tooth & Nail Theatre), SHEAR LUCK (Grand Theatre); and THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) (Salt Lake Shakespeare). BFA, Stage Management, University of Utah.
Jesse Portillo (Lighting Design) has lit Plan-B’s EXPOSED, AMERIGO, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, MESA VERDE, BORDERLANDS, THE THIRD CROSSING, ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA and ERIC(A), among others. He has also designed lighting for Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, Pygmalion Theatre Company, Grand Theatre, Mobile Opera, LOOK Musical Theatre, Baylor University Opera and Millikin University. Jesse teaches lighting design for the University of Utah’s Department of Theatre.
Jerry Rapier^ (Director/Props Design) joined Plan-B in 2000 and is the company’s Producing Director. Eric Samuelsen’s AMERIGO and BORDERLANDS are among the more than two dozen Plan-B productions he has directed; he has also directed independent stage and film versions of Mr. Samuelsen’s PECULIARITIES. Next project: traveling coast-to-coast with Matthew Ivan Bennett, Teresa Sanderson and ERIC(A).
Randy Rasmussen (Set Design) has designed nearly every Plan-B set since the company’s inception. “I do the same thing, year after year, and still love it. I must be crazy. Oh – and I painted a huge-ass painting for the Rio Grande Café.”
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association. | ^Member, Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers
STATEMENT FROM PLAYWRIGHT ERIC SAMUELSEN
From 1996-1998, Susan McDougal, a woman from Little Rock, Arkansas, married to Jim McDougal, an S&L owner, was under investigation by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr for her alleged complicity in the Whitewater case. Because she refused to testify before Starr’s Grand Jury, Susan McDougal spent eighteen months in federal prison, including 8 months in solitary confinement. David Hale, a main Whitewater witness, insisted that she had had an affair with Bill Clinton. She insisted that she had not done so, and would not lie about it in court. For that refusal, she was imprisoned.
In a sense, then, the character ‘Susan’ in my play NOTHING PERSONAL refers to Susan McDougal, and ‘Kenneth’ refers to Kenneth Starr. References in the play to ‘David’ mean David Hale, ‘Jim’ equals Jim McDougal and ‘Bill’ means Bill Clinton. NOTHING PERSONAL is a play very loosely based on McDougal and her imprisonment.
But not all that much of it. My initial impulse was to focus entirely (and factually) on McDougal and her imprisonment. But as I wrote the play in the darker years of the Bush administration, I became increasingly concerned about the loss of civil liberties taking place through a wide variety of measures and incidents. The Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps, the illegal detention of terrorist suspects in Guantanamo and other ‘dark sites’ across the globe, all reflected an overall atmosphere of fear and paranoia, leading to the destruction of basic American constitutional provisions. I began to see Kenneth Starr’s out-of-control Whitewater inquisition as an early symptom of that paranoia. Starr’s self-righteousness, his prissy obsession with sexuality, his prurient obsession with McDougal’s appearance and (as he supposed it) loose morals, it all seemed to reflect a similar narrative to the Bush/Cheney war on terror narrative. America under attack. America in terrible mortal but also moral danger. Because Bill Clinton was sexually rapacious, (hardly the case), because he had had an affair with Susan McDougal (which was completely untrue), America was morally threatened, morally bankrupt even, and McDougal’s civil rights could be violated with impunity. I’ll grant that that 9/11 attacks did constitute an actual threat to the American homeland. But by so routinely violating the fundamental human rights of detainees (most of whom were entirely innocent), we lost the moral high ground, and lost as well the opportunity to genuinely engage with the Moslem world.
The same arrogance and self-righteousness and contempt for rule of law continues today. I supported Barack Obama’s candidacy because I saw in him the possibility for genuine change. But as our country continues drone attacks that kill non-combatants, and Guantanamo stays open, that assault on civil liberties continues. I supported the President in both his political campaigns, with both time and money. But friends tell friends the truth, and this President has also succumbed to fear, with its attendant violence.
So the play gradually shifts away from the specifics of the McDougal case, and begins to make reference to such ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ as sensory deprivation and waterboarding, none of which actually happened historically to McDougal.
The third character in the play, the Matron, represents for me the law enforcement establishment, the soldiers at Guantanamo, the bailiffs in the courtroom, the jailers and cops and foot soldiers. She’ll go along with Starr, but when he loses her, he’s done. And she’s deeply, personally and genuinely religious, which I have symbolized by having her speak entirely using glossalia.
The idea that ‘truth’ is a function of power derives from Kenneth Starr. And the play also explores a link between fundamentalist religious dogma and conservative politics. The play also echoes 9/11, symbolized by imagery of people leaping from the roof of a burning building.
The play does describe ‘Susan’ as being mistreated in ways that Susan McDougal never was. No confusion is intended—I simply want the play to have a broader scope than the specifics of one case.