Theater

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Idaho playwright who was awarded a MacArthur 'genius' grant this week has traveled far from his hometown of Moscow, but continues to revisit the state in much of his work.

Samuel Hunter now lives in New York, and has a play opening this weekend in Chicago.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A new original play opens Saturday at Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT), and there’s a chance the actors might be handed new lines between now and then. I’ve been following the creation of The Uncanny Valley for nearly a year, ever since I had a chance run in with BCT’s Dwayne Blackaller last April. He told me about the new play he was writing with BCT artistic director Matthew Cameron Clark.

Josh Ritter
Tim Teeling / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s largest arts organization Tuesday announced its performance schedule for the upcoming season. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts kicks off its annual summer concert series in July and its winter concerts in October. Its lecture series also begins in October and features a noted historian, a rock n roll photographer, and NPR’s social science correspondent Shankar Vedantum will talk about how our brains shape our lives.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Contemporary Theater's new original play, The Uncanny Valley opens in less than three weeks and the script isn't yet finished. The new original play is a work in progress we’ve been following for a few months.

Just last month actors gathered for their first table read.  This was the first time writers and co-directors Dwayne Blackaller and Matthew Cameron Clark showed all the actors the play. Clark is also acting in this show.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Rehearsals start this week at Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT) for a play that opens in three weeks. For a professional company like BCT, three weeks is a slightly tight, though fairly normal rehearsal schedule.

Three weeks is usually plenty of time for experienced actors to memorize lines, work on their characters, and learn what they’ll be doing on stage. But for the play, The Uncanny Valley memorizing lines and actions has an added challenge. They're still being written.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Contemporary Theater’s Artistic Director Matthew Cameron Clark and Education Director Dwayne Blackaller sit at separate computer screens in a basement office. A passing eavesdropper would find their conversation impossible to follow because it’s part spoken, part typed and all about a fictional world evolving somewhere between their two brains and two keyboards.

Andy Lawless / Boise Contemporary Theater

Boise playwrights Matthew Cameron Clark and Dwayne Blackaller have a little more than three months to curtain on their latest work-in-progress.  The Uncanny Valley, mixes science fiction with Idaho's landscape.

Co-writer Blackaller says most people will likely think the title refers to where it takes place, a valley in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. But it’s actually a reference to the themes in the play, not the setting.

You can listen to Blackaller explain what the title means by clicking on the audio player.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT) has earned respect producing works by nationally-known playwrights. The company is also demonstrating it can create strong original work in-house.

Early in 2013, BCT debuted A Nighttime Survival Guide. It was written by Artistic Director Matthew Cameron Clark and Education Director Dwayne Blackaller, and it was a hit for the theater.

Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT) is selling tickets for a play that opens in April, but that play hasn’t yet been written. For the next few months, I’ll be following its progress as it goes from idea to rehearsal to an audience.

Andy Lawless / Boise Contemporary Theater

Los Angeles actress Lauren Weedman is thinking about moving to Boise. At least that’s the premise of her new one-woman play that opens Saturday at Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT.) It’s called Boise: You Don’t Look A Day Over 149 and it’s part of Boise’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This summer, more than 60,000 people are expected to see a play at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Of the five plays this season, perhaps the most anticipated is "Sweeney Todd".

This blood-drenched murder musical by Stephen Sondheim shocked audiences when it debuted more than 30 years ago. It’s had a large and loyal audience ever since, and in 2007 director Tim Burton made a movie version starring Johnny Depp.

This is not the Shakespeare Festival’s first dance with Sondheim but it is its first time with "Sweeney Todd". 

DKM Photography

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival opens its 2013 season this weekend. The organization “Americans for the Arts” estimates the festival put about $3.3 million into Idaho’s economy last year. More than 58,000 people spent an evening under the stars at the festival’s amphitheater in Boise last summer. Managers expect more than 60,000 this year.

Courtesy of NPR/ Tony Nagelmann

You hear NPR’s popular quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! every Saturday morning on KBSX. Thursday night the radio show will be beamed into select cinemas across the U.S. including in Boise for the first time. You’ll see host Peter Sagal along with Carl Kasell and the whole cast of characters live on the big screen.