by Bathsheba Doran
directed by Sam Gold
originally produced at Playwrights Horizons ,
New York, NY.
February 25, 2011
through April 3, 2011
Traversing great distances and spanning many years in the lives of its nine characters, Kin is a tale about the relationship of Anna and Sean, an unlikely but somehow perfect match. But in a moving and ambitious gesture, emerging playwright Bathsheba Doran hasn’t placed her focus on the growing relationship of these two lovers; instead, we’re given a panoramic view of their extended network of family and friends, separated by geography and culture, gradually finding their way together as a unit. This astonishing, dryly funny new play skips time and hops continents to illuminate the miraculous, everyday phenomenon of how a family comes into being.
From Tim Sanford, Artistic Director:
Playwrights Horizons’ 2010 Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award will allow us to add one week of rehearsal time to our original 3.5 week schedule for Kin. The expansive scale of Kin, the relatively large cast of nine actors, combined with the intimacy and detailed backstories of its component scenes begs for extra rehearsal time to mine fully the richness of these characters and the relationships. The trajectory of the narrative builds by accumulation, so this one extra week of rehearsal will allow us to look carefully at both the parts and the whole of this ambitious and unique play.
From Tim Sanford, Artistic Director:
In the broadest terms, one would have to categorize Kin as a romantic comedy. But Kin is unlike any romantic comedy I can think of. Bash’s whole approach turns the romantic comedy formula inside out. Here is a story about a man and a woman, Sean and Anna, coming together in which we almost never see the couple together: no meeting cute, no bicker banter, and no stars in their eyes. The story is more interested in their family and friends than in their courtship. Whereas in traditional romantic comedy, relations provide a backdrop from which our romantic couple emerges and escapes, here the deliberate gravitational pull that brings our couple together, also brings them closer to their families, and eventually brings those two families together. We come to care not just about how our protagonists have been shaped by their relations, but also by the effect they have on them. In twenty scenes over a span of about five years, Bash economically provides insights into vast wells of deep personal histories to each of the nine characters, even as the characters strive to transcend those histories. We begin to understand, as it unfolds, that the sometimes unremarkable occasions portrayed in the play each contain life-changing moments.
Bash’s Sean and Anna seem decidedly not made for each other when we first meet them. Raised virtually on other sides of the globe, they do not come together through fate, or luck, or magic, but by dint of personal growth and openness. We realize eventually that if these two people, so different in so many ways, can belong together, and if their families can become one, what exactly comprises kinship in this increasingly vast global community. In the final scene set on the cliffs of Ireland, an unlikely grace descends upon the stage. The usual wall-bound insularity of the American nuclear family is blasted open. The idea of family becomes inclusive rather than exclusive. We don’t necessarily see it coming, but the metaphoric resonance rings loud and clear.
Kin is an epic, intimate, complex, and important play. For the last several years, Playwrights Horizons has been proud to provide equal opportunities to women and to emerging writers. Bash Doran is both, and Playwrights Horizons is the perfect theater for this remarkable new work.
Director: Sam Gold
Set Design: Paul Steinberg
Lighting Design: Jane Cox
Sound Design: Matt Tierney
Costume Design: David Zinn