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DEANNE STILLMAN – Reflections in a D’Back’s Eye
January 31 - February 1
Directed by Darrell Larson.
How did a young man who loved John Coltrane become a mass killer? What brought a 9-year-old girl who loved baseball into his rifle sights? How does 9/11 figure into the story and can the Grand Canyon lead us out?
Reflections in a D’Back’s Eye explores America’s love affair with guns via the mass shooting in Tucson, in which Representative Gabby Giffords was wounded along with seventeen others and six were killed, including the little girl. Behind it all, there’s the diamondback rattlesnake. The d’back has all of the information and if we pay attention, the road leads back to “A Love Supreme,” Coltrane’s prayer.
The story is told by way of found texts, police reports, media coverage, and imagined dialogue. The main characters are Jared Lee Loughner, a “Joker”-like figure who lost his way, and Christina Taylor-Green, a civic-minded little girl who wandered into his path one morning at a “meet your representative” event in front of a supermarket. The collision of these two figures is set against a desert context in which elements of ancient myth and modern marketing converge. All of the characters – from the shooter and his mother to a Wal-Mart greeter and others – struggle fiercely for a connection to something greater than themselves.
“Reflections in a D’Back’s Eye” is based on the prose poem published here – https://www.gwarlingo.com/2012/on-the-anniversary-of-the-tucson-shooting-a-new-work-by-deanne-stillman/ – along with an interview about why it was written. The play was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Blues Ink Playwriting Award from American Blues Theater in Chicago and a finalist in the 2018 Playwrights Series at the Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco. The Highways performance is its West Coast premiere.
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Deanne Stillman has written acclaimed books of literary nonfiction and her plays have been produced around the country. Her latest book is Blood Brothers, which received a starred review in Kirkus and was excerpted in Newsweek. Others include Desert Reckoning, based on a Rolling Stone piece, winner of the Spur and LA Press Club awards, rave review in Newsweekand elsewhere, currently under option for film; Twentynine Palms, an LA Times bestseller that Hunter Thompson called “A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer,” and Mustang, an LA Times “best book of the year,” now in audio (with Anjelica Huston, Frances Fisher, John Densmore, Wendie Malick, and Richard Portnow). Her plays include “Star Maps” (Ink Fest series, 2CentsTheatre at the Hudson), “You Should Have Been Here an Hour Ago” (directed by Mark Austin, Open Window Theatre Group), and her adaptation of “Antigone” (directed by Goran Gajic, Hudson Theatre).
Darrell Larson has directed many plays around the country, including several by Sam Shepard, in LA: “The Unseen Hand” at the Odyssey and Cast, “Cowboy Mouth” (with Ed Harris, Pilot Theater), and “Mad Dog Blues” (Pilot Theater); in NYC: “Action,” “The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill,” and “Killer’s Head” (Signature Theater). He directed and adapted Bob Dylan’s “Tarantula” (Powerhouse), Steve Earle’s “Karla” in Nashville (Belcourt Theater), and Denis Johnson’s “Psychos Never Dream” (at Campo Santo in San Francisco). He made his NYC acting and directing debut in Tom Strelich’s “Dog Logic” (with Lois Smith, at American Place Theater) and his LA directing debut with Murray Mednick’s “Are You Lookin'” ? In addition, he directed and adapted “The Wizard of Oz” for the Children’s Defense Fund (with Roger Daltrey, Jackson Browne, and Nathan Lane, at Avery Fisher Hall, NYC).