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Nature vs. nurture explored in world premiere family
drama ‘Please Don’t Ask About Becket’ by Wendy Graf
LOS ANGELES (REVISED Aug. 25, 2016) — It’s been years since he disappeared, but Emily Diamond is still haunted by dreams of her twin brother, Becket. Kiff Scholl directs the world premiere of Please Don’t Ask About Becket, an enthralling family drama by Wendy Graf (All American Girl, No Word In Guyanese for Me) opening August 20 in an Electric Footlights production at the Sacred Fools Theater Black Box.
The issue of nature versus nurture is at the heart of this evocative memory play that’s sure to resonate with anyone who has a family. Please Don’t Ask About Becket grapples with universal questions many of us ask ourselves everyday: To what extent are parents responsible for their children’s bad behavior? Can parents love a child too much? Where do we draw the line between standing up for our kids and forcing them to overcome obstacles on their own?
Producer Lisa Brenner was introduced to Graf at April’s Stage Raw awards ceremony, where Graf was a nominee for playwriting. “I casually asked if she had anything new, and she sent me Becket,” Brenner says. “I couldn’t stop reading. The story is so honest, the characters so rich, unique and relatable. I decided immediately to fast-track a production.”
“I love the natural way that Wendy handles dialogue and characters,” agrees Scholl. “There’s a heightened sense of tension from the get-go that compels us to care about these people.”
Rob Nagle (Church & State at Skylight Theatre; co-artistic director at Antaeus) stars as Rob Diamond, whose position as a studio mogul allows him to provide his family with the best of everything. Deborah Puette (Cloud 9 at Antaeus, Odyssey Theatre’s LADCC ‘Best Revival’ award-winning A Delicate Balance) is Grace, the twins’ devoted mom who fights to preserve her “perfect” family. Hunter Garner (Banshee, Lifetime’s Gone Missing) plays Becket, the twin who seemed to get all the talent, personality and charisma genes – yet remains a lost soul; and Rachel Seiferth (Measure for Measure and Richard III with Kingsmen Shakespeare Company) is Emily, whose journey to self-awareness as an individual, separate from her twin, holds the play together.
The creative team includes set designer Evan Bartoletti; sound designer Cricket S. Myers; and costume designer Wendell C. Carmichael. The associate producers are Susan K. Coulter and Victoria Watson, Theatre Planners; the producer is Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners; and the executive producer is Lisa Brenner.
Please Don’t Ask About Becket was developed and read in Pacific Resident Theatre and Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA writing groups.
Wendy Graf is an award-winning playwright whose plays include All American Girl (Stage Raw Award nomination for Playwriting); Closely Related Keys (directed by Shirley Jo Finney); No Word In Guyanese for Me (GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding L.A. Theater, Bitter Lemons “Top Rated” production); Behind the Gates; Lessons (L.A. production directed by Gordon Davidson); Leipzig (L.A. Drama Critics Circle nomination, Back Stage Garland award, Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition finalist); The Book of Esther (San Fernando Valley Artistic Director Award nomination for Best Play, ASK Theater Projects Grant Award); and Bethany/Bakol (Attic Theater One Act Winner). Recent award-winning short plays include Sophie/Alexander/Lisboa; Ashes to Ashes; A Hollywood Fable; Lester and Schloss; Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated; A Shonda; and Red and Blue. Ms. Graf is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA and Pacific Resident Theatre writing units and the Dramatists Guild of America.
Kiff Scholl most recently directed Dinner at Home between Deaths; Weapons; and Moon Over Buffalo (BroadwayWorld award nomination). Other critically acclaimed productions include La Bête and world premieres of A Mulholland Christmas Carol; Middle Savage; Act a Lady; and Don Giovanni Tonight, Don Carlo Tomorrow at Sacred Fools, about which the LA Times wrote “Director Kiff Scholl has few peers at keeping us intrigued.” His shows have won seven Back Stage Garland awards, five LA Weekly awards, a GLAAD nomination and an Ovation award. Scholl was listed as “one of LA’s emerging and accomplished stage directors” by the LA Weekly. An award-winning filmmaker, his feature Scream of the Bikini won numerous awards, including a Maverick Movie Award for Best Director, and is now available on Amazon, and in Japan, where it’s known as Spy Mission. His low-budget horror film 11/11/11 is also on Netflix. Kiff’s latest film, Surprise, just entered the short film festival circuit, and he co-wrote and directed the election-centric, political satire web-series Medicare Mermaids.
Electric Footlights, created by Lisa Brenner as a theatrical division of Electric Entertainment, seeks to find new work that inspires, enlightens and sometimes even make us laugh. Previous productions include Trigger by Kyle Jarrow at the Blank Theatre and The Kill-or-Dies by Meghan Brown at the McCadden Place Theatre. Best known as an actress, Lisa began her career as the infamous villain “Maggie Cory” on the soap opera Another World. Since then, she’s appeared in numerous TV shows including Chicago Hope, Magnificent Seven, Criminal Minds, Rizzoli & Isles and the critically acclaimed Maron on IFC. She played the title role in Stephen King’s The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer and starred in two of TNT’s The Librarian movies. Feature film credits include The Patriot, Finding Home and What Boys Like.
Please Don’t Ask About Becket opens for press on Aug. 20 and continues through Sept. 17. Performances take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. There will be two preview performances, on Thursday, Aug. 18 and Friday, Aug. 19, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25; previews are $15. The Sacred Fools Theater Black Box is located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038 (one block West of Vine at the corner of Lillian Way). For reservations and information, call (323) 960-7745 or go to www.plays411.com/becket.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘Please Don’t Ask About Becket’
World premiere of Please Don’t Ask About Becket — It’s been years since he disappeared, but Emily Diamond is still haunted by dreams of her twin brother, Becket. The issue of nature versus nurture is at the heart of this enthralling new family drama by Wendy Graf (All American Girl, No Word In Guyanese for Me), an evocative memory play sure to resonate with anyone who has a family.
• Written by Wendy Graf
• Directed by Kiff Scholl
• Starring Hunter Garner, Rob Nagle, Deborah Puette, Rachel Seiferth
• Produced by Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners
• Executive producer: Lisa Brenner
• Presented by Electric Footlights
Previews: Aug. 18 and Aug. 19
Performances: Aug. 20 – Sept. 17
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 18 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 19 (preview); Sept. 2, 9, 16 (dark Aug. 26)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Aug. 20 (opening), 27; Sept. 3, 10, 17
• Sundays at 3 p.m.: Aug, 21, 28; Sept. 4, 11
• Monday at 8 p.m.: Aug. 29 ONLY
Sacred Fools Theater Black Box
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(one block West of Vine at the corner of Lillian Way)
(323) 960-7745 or www.plays411.com/becket
General admission: $25