BLACKBIRD is a fearless modern love story about two people who desperately cling to each other to escape the harsh reality of their lives. Baylis, a Gulf War veteran with a severe back injury, lives with Froggy, a young ex-stripper with a heroin addiction, in their squalid New York City apartment. On Christmas Eve, as everything around them begins to collapse, they are bound by their passion for each other and the hope of finding a way out.
This celebrated new play from the writer of "Nocturne" received overwhelming critical acclaim when it premiered at London's venerable Bush Theatre. The Independent raved, "A terrifically impressive new play--Rapp has a brilliant ear for talk. Not to me missed!" The Guardian said, "There's a strange tenderness and humorous compassion in Rapp's writing. He loves his characters as all-consumingly as they do each other." And the Financial Times exclaimed, "Rapp examines the persistence of the human heart with commitment and conviction. A stunning new play!"
Adam Rapp has been the recipient of the Herbert & Patricia Brodkin Scholarship, two Lincoln Center le Compte de Nuoy Awards, a fellowship to the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, the 1999 Princess Grace Award for Playwrighting, a 2000 Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, a 2000 Suite Residency with Mabou Mines, and the 2001 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights. His play "Nocturne" was produced by the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and received Boston's Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play, as well as Best New Play by the Independent Reviewers of New England. "Nocturne" then made its acclaimed Off-Broadway debut at the New York Theatre Workshop. "Nocturne" was selected as one of the Burns Mantle Ten Best Plays of the 2000-2001 Season, was short-listed for the inaugural William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and is published in a trade edition by Faber & Faber.
Mr. Rapp's other plays include "Ghost in the Cottonwoods" (Victory Gardens, Chicago; The 24th Street Theatre, L.A.; The Arcola Theatre, London), "Animals and Plants" (A.R.T.), "Stone Cold Dead Serious" (A.R.T.), "Finer Noble Gases" (26th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays), "Faster" (Rattlestick, NYC), "Trueblinka" (Maverick Theatre, NYC), "Dreams of the Salthorse" (Encore Theatre, S.F.), "Mistral" (The McCarter), and "Gompers" (City Theatre Company, Pittsburgh).
Mr. Rapp is also the author of the novels, Missing the Piano (Viking/Harper Collins), The Buffalo Tree (Front Street/Harper Collins), The Copper Elephant (Front Street/Harper Collins), Little Chicago (Front Street), 33 Snowfish (Candlewick Press), and the forthcoming Under the Wolf, Under the Dog (Candlewick Press). He is currently in post-production for his first feature film, "Winter Passing", which will be released by Focus Features in the fall of 2004. Mr. Rapp is a graduate of Clarke College in Dubuque, IA. He also completed a two-year playwriting fellowship at Juilliard.
Profiles Theatre's production of BLACKBIRD is directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. Mr. Jahraus returns to directing, having staged Profiles' Midwest Premiere of "Babylon Gardens" by Timothy Mason. Prior to that, he directed Profiles' critically acclaimed productions of "The Water Engine", "The Twilight Zone: The Series", "Sexual Perversity in Chicago", and the Jeff Citation Nominated and After Dark Award winning production of "Carnal Knowledge". Profiles' Company Member Eric Burgher (Assistant Director/Stage Manager) returns, as does Sara Maddox (Costume Designer) and Artistic Associate David Getzin (Sound Designer).
The cast of BLACKBIRD features Associate Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox as Baylis. Mr. Cox was most recently seen as David in the Midwest Premiere of "Orange Flower Water" at Steppenwolf. Mr. Cox first appeared at Steppenwolf as Terry in the World Premiere of "Wendall Greene". He has won two Joseph Jefferson Citations for Principal Actor for his performances in Profiles' productions of "Some Voices" (2002) and "Eye of God" (1998). Mr. Cox has also received two After Dark Awards for Outstanding Performance for his work in Profiles' "Popcorn" (2000), and "Carnal Knowledge" (1992). In addition, he has received three Joseph Jefferson Citation Nominations for Principal Actor for his performances in Profiles' productions of "Popcorn" (2000), "The Baby Dance" (1997) and "Carnal Knowledge" (1992), as well as a Joseph Jefferson Citation Nomination for Supporting Actor for "Stray Dogs" (1999).
Lindsay Gould is featured in the role of Froggy. Ms. Gould is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she appeared in productions of "Hedda Gabler", "Macbeth", and Caryl Churchill's "Vinegar Tom". Since graduating, she has participated in workshop productions at Steppenwolf and Roadworks as well as understudying the role of Liz in "Book of Liz" at Roadworks. Ms. Gould also studied at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford and at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, MA.
"Highly Recommended! Adam Rapp's play BLACKBIRD, now in a knockout Midwest premiere at Profiles Theatre, is a devastating plunge into lost innocence! Rapp has the ability to dig in the gutter one moment and then shift into immense tenderness and surprising humor the next. Darrell W. Cox is first-rate and Lindsay Gould is a dazzling young talent!"
- Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
Pick! Profiles' BLACKBIRD gets it right! A very affecting character study
filled with intensely lyrical writing and a palpable sweetness and concern
for the human soul!"
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
Recommended! BLACKBIRD achieves a quiet harrowing beauty. Darrell W. Cox
and Lindsay Gould deliver gorgeously nuanced, exceptionally brave, acutely
realistic performances that leave the audience plastered in their seats.
This is how downbeat should be done!"
- Brian Nemtusak, Chicago Reader
BLACKBIRD is a raw, uncompromising portrait of two people on the bottom
rung of life that earns our compassion with its honesty and its remarkable
- Dan Zeff, Copley News Service
play's strong appeal is in its portrayal of lives outside the experience
of most of us. The fascinating performances make us believe that in spite
of their defects, these two characters are capable of a complex love!"
- Elizabeth Ann Hull, Lerner News
is beautifully crafted and alive with urgency. It combines stellar performances,
insightful direction and a riveting story!"
- Ruth Smerling, Theatreworld Magazine
Joseph Jefferson Citation for Best Actor - Darrell W. Cox
*Nominated for Joseph Jefferson Citation for Best Actress - Lindsay Gould
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