On February 6through March 1, 2020, BCS will be presenting a play, “Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally,” by emerging playwright, Noah Diaz directed by Taylor Reynolds in Co-Production with The Playwrights Realm.
In 1987 Baltimore Center Stage was designated the State Theater of Maryland. It continues to provide great theater and also programming for youth and community members under the leadership of Artistic Director, Stephanie Ybarra and Executive Director, Michael Ross. Baltimore Center Stage does productions on two main stages and a more intimate (99 seat) theater.
The classic child’s school text that taught many baby boomers to read, the world of Dick and Jane, begins to fracture in this “witty and raw look into one dysfunctional and dissembling family.” In this play, Dick and Jane are grown-ups and have changed from the iconic kids from those first readers. It deals with loss, sibling relationships and even a family dog, named, aptly, Spot.
The cast includes Noah Averbach-Katz (Spot), Michelle Beck (Jane), Jay Cobián (Dick), Neimah Djourabchi (Richard), Treshelle Edmond (Sally) and Vanessa Kai (Mother).
In addition, Stephanie Osin Cohen is Scenic Designer, Alicia J. Austin is Costume Designer and Reza Behjat is Lighting Designer.
I had a chance to interview playwright Noah Diaz before the opening of “Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally.”
Bio: Noah Diaz is an MFA candidate in Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. His work has been produced and/or developed at Baltimore Center Stage, Playwrights Realm, The Sol Project, Two River Theater, First Floor Theater, the Kennedy Center, Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, Howlround Latinx Theater Commons, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and the Rose Theater, among others. Awards/Fellowships include three Kennedy Center Playwriting Awards, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center NPC Finalist, 50PP Best Unproduced Latin@ Plays, Blue Ink Playwriting Award Finalist, and the Woodward/Newman Playwriting Award Finalist. He is currently under commission from La Jolla Playhouse, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan.
- Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a third-year graduate student in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. I was born in Council Bluffs, IA by way of Omaha, NE. I’ve been bitten by an ostrich. I’m an Aries. I’ve been mugged two different times, by the same man, once while dressed as the Cat in the Hat. I’m 6’3”, but I think I’m shrinking. One of my greatest fears in life is losing my hair. My favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day, mostly because I think I look good in red and pink.
- When did you start writing plays?
I began writing plays when I was a sophomore in undergrad. I had recently abandoned my career as an actor not long before enrolling. So after about two years away, I found myself really missing theatre. Writing felt like an easy re-entry point to the form. My first play was an anachronistic, dramaturgically associative constellation of scenes about mother/daughter relationships through time and space. I realized before long that it was a gift for my mother. That experience became foundational to my understanding of how and why I write plays.
- Is there any particular playwright or playwrights you hold in esteem, living or dead?
I love this question. I’m in the enviable position of studying under some of my favorite artists, including Sarah Ruhl, Amy Herzog, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Robert O’Hara. I’m also a huge fan of Edward Albee, Caryl Churchill, Lucas Hnath, Suzan-Lori Parks, Annie Baker, Anne Washburn, Thornton Wilder, and Clare Barron. Also, my classmates will always have my heart: Christopher Puglisi, Margaret E. Douglas, Benjamin Benne, Angie Jones, Gloria Majule, a.k. payne, Edwin Rosales, and Rudi Goblen.
- Did you choose those names (Richard, Jane, Dick and Sally) because they were the characters in children’s readers or another reason?
Yes, those names were lifted directly from the classic children’s readers from the 1950s.
- Are you working on a new project yet or have one in mind?
I’m in the pre-production process for two plays: “The Juniors,” which will receive its world premiere in Chicago this April, and my thesis play “You Will Get Sick,” which will open at Yale in May. Those are occupying most of my brain-space right now. Beyond that, I just began writing a new play about the wild west and recently tiptoed my way into screenwriting.
“Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally” opens for Previews at Center Stage on February 6, 2020, and closes on March 1, 2020. For tickets and information go online.
Center Stage is located at 700 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.