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The Ohio State Murders

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From Obie-winning dramatist Adrienne Kennedy comes a deeply personal, searing fable of self-discovery and loss. When a young student arrives at Ohio State University, she little suspects that the academic sanctuary harbors dark forces of hatred, even death. The Ohio State Murders is a haunting study of lost innocence and the birth of racial awareness from one of our greatest living playwrights.

SYNOPSIS

Ohio State University invites alumna Suzanne Alexander to speak about the violent imagery in her writing. To explain her work, Alexander relates her experiences at the university in the 1950s. The narrator’s meditation on the past sets horrific scenes of racial discrimination, self-torture, and murder against the chilling backdrop of ’50s academia. A playwright inspired by the work of Federico García Lorca, Tennessee Williams, and Alfred Hitchcock, Adrienne Kennedy combines striking imagery with suspenseful interior monologue.

Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting new American plays at the A.R.T.

Credits

Creative team

by

Adrienne Kennedy

Award-winning playwright, lecturer, and author Adrienne Kennedy (Ohio State Murders) was born in Pittsburgh in 1931 and attended Ohio State University. Her plays include Funnyhouse of a Negro (Obie Award), June and Jean in Concert (Obie Award), A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White, A Rat's Mass, The Owl Answers, Motherhood 2000, Electra and Orestes (adaptation), She Talks to Beethoven, An Evening with Dead Essex, A Lesson in a Dead Language, and The Lennon Play. She is the recipient of an Obie Award for Sleep Deprivation Chamber, which she co-authored with her son Adam. It premiered at the Public Theater and was produced by Signature Theatre Company, which devoted an entire season to Ms. Kennedy's work. Other awards include a Guggenheim award, the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and the American Book Award for 1990. Her published works include In One Act, Alexander Plays, and Deadly Triplets, all published by University of Minnesota Press, and People Who Led to My Plays (a memoir), originally published by Knopf and now in paperback by Theatre Communications Group, which also published Sleep Deprivation Chamber. A study of her work, Intersecting Boundaries: The Theatre of Adrienne Kennedy, was also published by University of Minnesota Press. Her plays are taught in colleges throughout the country, in Europe, India, and Africa. She has been a visiting lecturer at Yale University, New York University, and University of California at Berkeley, where she was Chancellor's Distinguished Lecturer in 1980 and 1986. She was also commissioned to write plays for Jerome Robbins, the Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Juilliard School, and the Royal Court in England. Ms. Kennedy has lived in Africa, Italy, and London and last fall was a visiting professor in Harvard University's English Department.

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Directed by

Marcus Stern

In the Body of the World

Directed by

Marcus Stern

Associate Director of the American Repertory Theater and the A.R.T./ MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and Head Of Directing for Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard University.  His directorial work with the A.R.T. has included The Onion Cellar with The Dresden Dolls, Donnie Darko (adaptor/director/sound designer), Beckett’s Endgame, Adam Rapp's Nocturne, Suzan Lori Parks' The America Play, Adrienne Kennedy's The Ohio State Murders, Büchner's Woyzeck, Sam Shepard's Buried Child, and Christopher Durang’s Marriage of Bette and Boo (also at NYU and Harvard University). A.R.T. Institute: A Bright New Boise, The Flu Season, The 4th Graders Present An Unnamed Love-Suicide, Beckett Shorts: (Not I, Footfalls, Play, Rough For Radio II, Breath, Come and Go), Donnie Darko. Other: Hang Ong's The Chang Fragments and Martin Crimp's The Treatment at The Joseph Papp Public Theater; Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich; Jose Rivera's Marisol at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival; Mac Wellman's Hyacinth Macaw at Primary Stages in New York; Instant Girl's On the Run at Dance Theater Workshop; Mac Wellman's The Land of Fog and Whistles at the Whitney Museum Biennial; Neena Beber's The Living Goddess at The Magic Theater; Erin Cressida Wilson's Cross Dressing in the Depression at Soho Rep; and Quincy Long's Whole Hearted at the Mark Taper Forum's Taper Too in Los Angeles. His adaptations include Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (Zurich), Phoebe's Got Three Sisters (Cucaracha Theater in New York) and O'Neill's The Great God Brown at NYU and Harvard University.  He's currently working with ArtsEmerson on his adaptation of Don Delillo's short story, "Hammer & Sickle" for the stage. Mr. Stern has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University, and Columbia University. He currently teaches at Harvard University, Harvard's Extension School, and A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training.

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Set design by

Molly Hughes

Set design by

Molly Hughes

Set designer Molly Hughes (The Ohio State Murders) designed last season's The Marriage of Bette and Boo. She received her MFA from NYU's design program, which is where she first worked with director Marcus Stern. Her other work includes Salt, written by Migdalia Cruz and directed by Loretta Greco, and Ask for Becky Whiteworth, a feature film directed by William Nunez.

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Costume design by

Viola Mackenthun

Costume design by

Viola Mackenthun

Viola Mackenthun, the costume designer for Nocturne, previously designed costumes for The Ohio State Murders and How I Learned to Drive at the A.R.T. Other credits include the New Repertory Theatre's Mystery of Irma Vep and assisting on A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Schlosstheater Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria. She has also designed costumes for children's plays at Creative Arts at Park, including Carney Time, Newsies, and Three Tales of Sorrow. She holds an M.F.A. in costume design from Boston University, where she also received the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Award. Ms. Mackenthun grew up in Germany, where she received an M.F.A. in fashion design from Hamburg University.

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Lighting design by

John Ambrosone

Lighting design by

John Ambrosone

Lighting Designer John Ambrosone has designed over thirty productions for the American Repertory Theater, including Lysistrata, Absolution, Marat/Sade, Othello, Animals and Plants, Mother Courage (2001 Elliot Norton Design Award), The Doctor's Dilemma, Three Farces and a Funeral, Nocturne, IvanovThe Cripple of Inishmaan, The King Stag, Boston Marriage, Charlie in the House of Rue, Valparaiso, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, How I Learned to Drive, Nobody Dies on Friday, Man and Superman, The Old Neighborhood, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, and Buried Child. On Broadway he designed The Old Neighborhood. Work in resident theaters includes the Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Walnut Street Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, and Arena Stage. Mr. Ambrosone also has designed in Singapore, Moscow, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, Mexico, Germany, and France.

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Sound design by

Christopher Walker

Sound design by

Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has composed music and designed sound for We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, Phaedra, Beckett Trio: Eh Joe, Ghost Trio, and Nacht und Traüme, and An Evening of Beckett, and designed sound for The King Stag, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Taming of the Shrew, The Bacchae, The Wild Duck, Woyzeck, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Wild Duck, Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, Buried Child, Ubu Rock, The Threepenny Opera, The Accident, Demons, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Hot 'n' Throbbing, The America Play, A Touch of the Poet, The Cherry Orchard, What the Butler Saw, and Those the River Keeps at the A.R.T. Previously he composed music and designed sound for productions at the Intiman Theatre, the Bathhouse Theatre, and the Alice B. Theatre. He also scores for dance and has composed for the Allegro Dance Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival, and On The Boards.

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Suzanne Alexander (present) Denise Nicholas
Suzanne Alexander (past) Malinda Walford
David Alexander/Iris Ann’s Uncle John Douglas Thompson
Robert Hampshire William Church
Aunt Louise Lou Connolly Coleman
Iris Ann Kibi Anderson