Blanka Zizka's remarks on The Body of an American
Dear Audience Members,
Welcome to the exquisite play The Body of an American by Dan O’Brien. It’s an amazing moment when you read a play for the first time and realize that you have come across a complex, poetic, precise, philosophical, politically aware, smart writer whose work you hadn’t known. It’s a dizzyingly exciting moment in the life of the Artistic Director.
The play received its premiere at Portland Center Stage in 2013. However, at the time I was unaware of it. I read the script for the first time in December 2013. Since then, The Body of an American, according to London reviews, received a terrific and intense production at London’s Gate Theatre in 2014. This November Dan was shortlisted at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards as the most promising playwright. A month earlier, The Body of an American received the Horton Foote Award for Outstanding New American Play. Previous awards for the script included the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired By American History, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award. That’s a lot of recognition and awards for a play that is only receiving its second US production at the Wilma. I hope that our production will inspire other artistic directors around the country to produce this immaculately written and riveting play.
Michael John Garcés is an extraordinary director and brilliant Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater in Los Angeles. Last year at the Wilma you may have seen his profoundly disconcerting and powerful production of Danai Gurira’s The Convert. As soon as I read Dan’s text, I thought of Michael as the perfect director for the play. Not surprisingly, Michael and Dan knew each other and had even already worked together. I’m very curious and thrilled to see what Michael, his team of designers, and actors Ian Peakes and Harry Smith will bring to the play and how they will make that text on the Wilma stage come vividly alive.