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John Biguenet debuts "Shotgun," second drama in "Rising Water" trilogy

Loyola press release - May 4, 2009

Loyola University New Orleans professor, playwright and novelist John Biguenet will debut the second drama in his "Rising Water" trilogy, "Shotgun," at Southern Repertory Theatre, May 6-31. Previews begin Wednesday, May 6, followed by opening night, Saturday, May 9.

Performances continue through May 31, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.southernrep.com or by contacting the theater box office at 504-522-6545. Southern Rep will host talk-backs for the audience after each Sunday matinee.

Directed by the acclaimed Valerie Curtis-Newton, "Shotgun" picks up the story of post-flood New Orleans four months after "Rising Water" and examines what happens when the storm water recedes. A white man and his teenaged son, having lost their house to the flood, rent half of a shotgun double from an African-American woman, whose father has lost his home in the Lower Ninth Ward and moved in with her. Even living under one roof, though, they find a wall still runs between them. The play explores whether it can be—like the city's levees—breached.

Southern Rep will kick off "Shotgun’s" National New Play Network rolling world premiere in May; then Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Florida Studio Theatre will present their own productions in 2010. The play has already been presented as staged readings at three theaters in the U.S. and has been awarded a 2009 Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Southern Rep commissioned and premiered Biguenet’s "Rising Water" to great acclaim. It became the best-selling play in the theater’s 22-year history and has gone on to seven productions across the country.

"Shotgun’s" cast includes past Southern Rep performers Lance Nichols, Donna Duplantier, Rus Blackwell, Kenneth Brown and Alex Lemonier. Nichols, Duplantier, Blackwell and Brown were all featured in the film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The design team includes scenic designer and Loyola professor Geoffrey Hall, lighting designer Patti West, costume designer Kelly James-Penot and sound designer Eric Shim.

The Big Easy’s 2008 Theatre Person of the Year, Biguenet is the author of six books and four previous plays: "Wundmale," broadcast on German and Austrian national radio; "The Vulgar Soul," which played at Southern Rep in 2005; "Rising Water," winner of the 2006 National New Play Network Commission Award and other honors; and "Night Train," developed on a 2008 Studio Attachment at the National Theatre in London. His work has been presented at Symphony Space on Broadway and on stages around the country. Biguenet chronicled in columns and videos the catastrophic flooding of his hometown of New Orleans for the New York Times, http://biguenet.blogs.nytimes.com.

Curtis-Newton is the artistic director at the Hansberry Project, an artistic associate at Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre, and heads the directing program at the University of Washington. She’s directed at esteemed theatres such as Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum and New York Theatre Workshop. For more on Curtis-Newton, go to www.valeriecurtisnewton.com.

This production of "Shotgun" is part of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life of New Plays Fund, a cooperative venture designed to insure that new plays will see future productions beyond the initial debut. Partnerships of three theatres receive funds in support of multiple productions of the same new play, guaranteeing national exposure.

To purchase tickets or for more information visit Southern Rep’s website at www.southernrep.com or contact their box office at 504-522-6545.

To schedule an interview with Biguenet and Curtis-Newton, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.