Speech & Debate (play)

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Speech & Debate is a play written by Stephen Karam. The play concerns three misfit teenagers who live in Salem, Oregon.

Production history[edit]

Speech & Debate opened Off-Broadway at Roundabout Underground on October 2007 and ran through February 28, 2008 in a Roundabout Theater Company production.[1] Directed by Jason Moore, the cast featured Gideon Glick (Howie), Sarah Steele (Diwata), Jason Fuchs (Solomon) and Susan Blackwell (Teacher/Reporter).[2]

The play was originally performed as a workshop production at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island in July 2006.[3] It was directed by Lowry Marshall.[4]

Speech & Debate was produced at the American Theater Company, Chicago, in May to June 2013, directed by PJ Paparelli.[5] Speech & Debate had its premiere at the American Theater Company in 2008, also directed by Paparelli.[6]

The play has been adapted into a film, also titled Speech & Debate. The film is directed by Dan Harris, with the script by Karam. The cast stars Sarah Steele, Austin McKenzie, and Liam James (Soloman).[7][8]

Plot[edit]

The play, a dark comedy with music, concerns three misfit teenagers and their attempts to expose a drama teacher who preys on teen boys. Solomon is a reporter for the school newspaper, Howie is a gay teen, who is solicited by the school's drama teacher on the internet, and Diwata is an aspiring actress/singer, but with no talent.

They decide to perform a musical version of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, combined with time travel and a young Abraham Lincoln, to address the issue of gay adults at the school.

Reception[edit]

The New York Times reviewer wrote: "Stephen Karam’s dark comedy seems to be about a frumpy girl, a nerdy guy and an openly gay guy who band together to disclose the truth about a teacher who preys on his male students. But that topical plot is almost window dressing. The play’s real accomplishment is its picture of the borderland between late adolescence and adulthood, where grown-up ideas and ambition coexist with childish will and bravado."[2] The Variety reviewer wrote: "...the conflicts explode in consistently intriguing ways. And Karam uses both the advantages and perils of cyberspace to make amusing, original points."[9]

According to TCG, it was one of the most produced plays of 2009-10 [10] and has received over 150 productions as of 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Listing" roundabouttheatre.org, accessed May 15, 2012
  2. ^ a b James, Caryn. "Theater Review. 'Speech & Debate'" The New York Times, October 30, 2007
  3. ^ "'Speech & Debate' Listing and History" artistsrep.org, accessed May 15, 2012
  4. ^ "'Speech & Debate' Listing, 2006" brown.edu, accessed May 15, 2012
  5. ^ Reid, Kerry. "'Speech & Debate' by American Theater Company" Chicago Tribune, May 15, 2013
  6. ^ Fuge, Tristan. "Full Cast, Creative Team Set for 'Speech and Debate' at ATC" theatermania.com, March 26, 2008
  7. ^ Gerard, Jeremy. "Liam James & Sarah Steele Topline ‘Speech & Debate’ For Sycamore Pictures; Dan Harris Directing" deadline.com, July 9, 2015
  8. ^ "Dedorah Lurie Scoring Dan Harris 'Speech & Dedate'" filmmusicreporter.com, January 26, 2016
  9. ^ Rooney, David. "Legit Reviews. 'Speech & Debate'" Variety, October 29, 2007
  10. ^ [1] tcg.org

External links[edit]