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The second show of our season is KURT VONNEGUT’S MAKE UP YOUR MIND, running
October 30 – November 30. We asked SpeakEasy Artistic Fellow Jeff Kubiatowicz, who was instrumental in bringing the play to our stage, to tell us more about the show.
What is the play about?
It’s the World Premiere of a dark comedy in which a small-time entrepreneur named Roland Stackhouse opens a business to help the world with its decisiveness problem-to call his approach non-traditional would be a serious understatement. The material is straight-up Vonnegut-we’re talking wealthy coquettes, paid enforcers, blue movies and confused clergy. It’s a funny, smart, unconventional piece and we couldn’t be more excited to see it take flight in front of a Boston audience.
How did this show come to SpeakEasy’s attention?
A little luck and a little hustle. I was in New York for a weekend producing seminar at the Commercial Theater Institute and during the very last session, I was approached by a producer who’d heard about SpeakEasy and was looking for a regional theater where they could mount a production of the show. I got the script over to Paul Daigneault that afternoon, he liked the material, and within about two weeks we had a deal. The fact that it came together as quickly and as smoothly as it did tells me that we’ve got a good match on our hands.
How long ago did Vonnegut write the show?
There was a reading at John Drew Theater in East Hampton in August of 1989 and then a small workshop production at New Group Theater in New York in April of 1993. After that, the script sat in a drawer somewhere until the current producing team got hold of it.
What is Broadway playwright Nicky Silver’s involvement with the production?
Apparently Vonnegut couldn’t make up his mind because he left us with twelve versions of the script. Working closely with the Vonnegut estate, Nicky Silver has “assembled” the current version of the play from the existing material plus a number of other items from the Vonnegut catalog. Nicky plans to be in Boston to work on the show during its time at SpeakEasy.
Why do you think SpeakEasy audiences will enjoy the show?
It’s smart. It’s funny. It’s touching. It’s about people trying desperately to connect. It’s such a human need and it drives so much of our crazy behavior. And, of course, it’s a Vonnegut play. Everything you think of when you think of him is in there-satire, gallows humor, science fiction, deeply flawed human experience. Vonnegut fans will be delighted.
Are there any plans for the show after Boston?
My conversations with the producing team have indicated that they’re excited about the potential for a commercial run on Broadway. We’d love to see the show have a life after SpeakEasy.