Idaho Repertory Theatre
Department of Theatre Arts
Corner of 6th and Rayburn
Shoup Hall - 2nd Floor
PHONE: (208) 885-6465
FAX: (208) 885-2558
Idaho Repertory Theatre
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2008
Moscow, ID 83844-2008
Award-Winning Play Presented as Staged Reading on June 27
Moscow playwright and University of Idaho professor Robert Caisley has several good reasons to be joyful about his play “Happy” which had a one-night-only staged reading on June 27 at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center.
“Happy” has received accolades around the country: the Miami Herald hailed the play as “90 wild and intriguing minutes,” and it was nominated in 2012 as a finalist for both the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center New Play Conference and the Woodward/Newman Drama Award. It received a 2012/2013 National New Play Network Continued Life Fund Award, it won the 2013 SOTA Award for Best New Play in Northern California, was a nominee for the 2014 San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Original Script, and was named by Chicago Magazine as one of the “Nine Best Comedies in Chicago Theatre” this year. Audiences from New Jersey to Florida to California have been enjoying the play, now published by Samuel French, Inc., but this was the first time the script had been presented in Idaho.
Produced by Idaho Repertory Theatre, the staged reading included a no-host wine reception sponsored by Wine Company of Moscow and a book signing at 7 p.m., followed by the reading.
The event brought together former and current UI Theatre Arts faculty members: Caisley, head of playwriting, Jere Hodgin, former IRT artistic director and IRT favorite Kelly Quinnett, along with Jeremy Sher of Chicago and Cahilan Shine from the University of Montana."We were fortunate to be able to celebrate the work of a nationally renowned playwright in our midst: Robert Caisley and his highly acclaimed play,” said IRT Artistic Director Ann Hoste.
"Happy” takes a brutally honest look at the connection between self-deception and contentment, Hoste said. With its biting dialogue and cutting characters, the script isn’t all sweetness and sunshine, but more of a scorching dinner-disaster dramedy that has been compared to “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” The Miami Herald described it as “funny, deliberately unnerving, and full of smart dialogue and stinging rejoinders.”
“I was thrilled that my friends in Moscow who hadn’t had the chance to see the play in its various productions got a chance to see the play at the reading,” Caisley said.
He credits the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for vital support during the development of the script. “I’m always happy to be able to honor my obligation to those organizations and present the play locally,” he said. “And the opportunity to work with my long-time friend and collaborator Jere Hodgin made it extra special,” Caisley said.