Describe the Night

by Rajiv Joseph
Originally produced at Alley Theatre, Houston, TX
September 15 to October 15, 2017

About the Premiere Production:

Synopsis: In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel wanders the countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes in the Russian city of Smolensk. Rajiv Joseph (Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Monster at the Door, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) returns to the Alley with his epic new play Describe the Night which traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth and conspiracy theories.

Artistic Statement: Describe the Night is a masterwork from a master writer currently at the top of his game following his Obie Award for best new American play for Guards at the Taj (at the Atlantic Theater Company) last year. In addition to being timely and providing a heady brew of ideas, the piece has dark and subtle humor and fascinatingly complex characters. Audiences from the reading at the Alley All New Festival continue to tell us how captivated they were with the piece. The Alley is confident that the play will enthrall audiences in Houston and we fully expect it to be a major entry into the repertoire of frequently produced American plays.

Grant Statement: Funding from the Edgerton Foundation will underwrite an additional week of rehearsal for the world premiere production of Describe the Night. Describe the Night was commissioned by the Alley Theatre in 2014. It is Rajiv Joseph’s second commission at the Alley and will be his third world premiere here. The Alley first presented the world premiere of his play, Gruesome Playground Injuries in 2009, which was subsequently produced in New York at Second Stage Theatre and has been produced widely since. Following that production, Rajiv was given a commission and wrote The Monster at the Door, which premiered at the Alley in 2011. With Describe the Night, Rajiv will have had more world premieres here than anywhere else. In the course of developing his work, the Alley has sent him on two writing retreats to the Ucross Foundation and the Alley presented a reading of Describe the Night in the Alley All New Festival in February 2017. At the Alley, the development process will be overseen by our Artistic Director, Gregory Boyd, along with Elizabeth Frankel, Director of New Work.


Director: Giovanna Sardelli
Set Designer: Tim Mackabee
Lighting Designer: Lap Chi Chu
Costume Designer: Amy Clark
Sound Designer: Daniel Kluger
Cast:  Jason Babinsky, Jeffrey Bean, Elizabeth Bunch, Melissa Pritchett, Liv Rooth, Stephen Stocking, Todd Waite
Stage Manager: Lori Lundquist
Assistant Stage Manager: Rachel Dooley-Harris


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