The Indians are Coming to Dinner
The third show of the season is a
World Premiere Comedy by Jennifer W. Rowland
Playing thru April 8, 2012
Thurs, Fri, Sat at 8:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm
Peter Chen, Sara Newman, Justin Preston, Michael Rothhaar, Thea Rubley, Rikin Vasani, Kevin Vavasseur
Directed by Julia Fletcher, Set Design by Tom Buderwitz, Costumes by Audrey Eisner, Lighting Design by Leigh Allen, Sound Design by Keith Stevenson, Original Music by Peter Erskine, Stage Manager Miguel Flores and Angela Fong, Construction by William Wilday, Prop Master Lesley Williams, Rehearsal Stage Manager Brian Sonia-Wallace, Associate Producer Vitor Martins, Produced by Sara Newman-Martins and Greg Paul, Executive Producer Marilyn Fox
“Impeccably acted and exquisitely designed
This intelligent and affecting work is being given a Superlative world-premiere staging.”
CRITIC’S PICK! — Backstage More
“…Rowland’s talent for social comedy shines.”
Los Angeles Times – Charlotte Stoudt
“Well-written play performed by a superb cast“ “Hilarious scenes”
Recommended – StageHappenings.com More
“…Highly original and thoroughly entertaining…” “intelligent direction…” “all round splendid cast”
StageSceneLA.com More– Steven Stanley
“Rowland has written a clever, resonant, sly script.
The stuff that dreams are made of!” —
Ed Rampell, The Hollywood Progressive More
“The Indians Are Coming To Dinner”:
San Francisco, November, 1984. Morning in America, but chaos at the Blackburn residence. This world premiere comedy about ambition, passion, and obligation, pits a father’s aspirations against his daughter’s dreams. A funny, sweet, and touching new play, “The Indians Are Coming to Dinner” serves up dysfunction, enlightenment, opera, and some bad curry.
An Interview with playwright Jennifer W. Rowland
The Indians are Coming to Dinner takes place on the night that Harold Blackburn get his last chance to realize his lifelong dream and his 18 year old daughter, Alexandra, has her first chance to reach for her own. The Blackburns are a well-to-do San Francisco family and the play takes place in the 1980’s. Harold had wanted to go into the foreign service as a young man, but the untimely death of his self-made father obligated him to go into the family business. He adores his daughter, Alexandra, who is a talented classical singer and a freshman at his alma mater. She returns to San Francisco because she has made it to the final round of an opera competition.
What inspired you to write this play?
I wanted to write a father-daughter story. A play about two people who love each other very much but whose fierce ambitions get in each other’s way. As Marilyn says, “it’s a break up play.” In every troubled relationship there is a breaking point, the event after which nothing will be the same. This play is the night that that happens for Harold and Alexandra. His sacrifice of her dream makes it impossible for her to turn back, and changes his understanding of his own life as well.
The play is filled with references to many great works of literature, can you explain why you did this and why you chose the works you did?
Agamemmon’s sacrifice of his daughter Iphegenia to make the winds blow so that he can sail to Troy at the start of the Trojan War is of course the most (perhaps overly) referenced story in the play. But the parallels are just so perfect: a man who sacrifices his daughter so that he can realize his own ambitions. It’s not that he doesn’t love her- he does. But ultimately what’s more important to him- his daughter or his own desire? Then, because Alexandra is an opera singer, the father daughter story of Rigoletto of course came to mind also. Rigoletto is inadvertently responsible for Gilda’s death- he kills the one thing he loves most in the world. And the music, especially the father-daughter duet in the first act works so beautifully for us in describing the bond that Harold and Alexandra have to each other and to the music.
You have a long relationship with PRT, can you explain how this theater has helped you in developing and mounting your plays?
I started seeing plays at PRT many many years ago when we first moved to L.A. I think someone told me that it had been founded by people from A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco). I spent much of my youth in the Young Conservatory at A.C.T. Anyway, I was always impressed with the quality of work and eventually got to know some of the actors. I think it was Val Dillman who invited me to join the Writers Group- and in fact that where this play began it’s life. I was one of the writers for a 24 Hour Play Festival that Val and Vince Melocchi put together. (I wrote a silly play about werewolves and swans called “Full Moon”.) Sarah Zinsser directed that and then directed my play “The Contest” in the Co-op. So one thing has led to another. PRT is a wonderfully supportive and creative community of people.