IRT Presents Staged Reading of “Happy” by Robert Caisley June 27

Thursday, May 22 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – May 22, 2014 – Moscow playwright Robert Caisley has several good reasons to be joyful about his play “Happy” which gets a one-night-only staged reading on June 27 at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center, 508 S. Main Street, in Moscow. The event, produced by Idaho Repertory Theatre, includes a wine reception and book signing at 7 p.m., followed by the reading at 7:30 p.m. 

“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 will be the first time the script has been presented in Idaho.

The staged reading of “Happy” brings 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 are 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 says. 

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, full of smart dialogue and stinging rejoinders.” 

“I’m really thrilled that my friends in Moscow who haven’t had the chance to see the play in its various productions will at least get a chance to see the play in this reading,” Caisley said. 

“I’m indebted to the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for vital support during the development of this script, so I’m happy to now be able to honor my obligation to those wonderful organizations and present the play locally. And any opportunity I have to work with my long-time friend and collaborator Jere Hodgin makes it extra special,” Caisley said. 

“It will be nice to hear the play read by an entirely new cast of actors – I’m always thrilled and amazed by what each new actor brings to the play. I hope that Moscow will come out to support the play, and in turn, help to support IRT, which has been bringing theatre to Palouse for decades – Shakespeare, American Classics, theatre for young audiences, and now, new plays,” Caisley says.

Tickets for “Happy” are $30 and are on sale now at BookPeople of Moscow or at the UI Theatre Arts office in Shoup Hall on campus or by calling (208) 885-6465. Tickets will also be on sale at the door the evening of the event. 

“Happy” is the first of four IRT events scheduled for this summer, including three one-night-only events and a fully-staged production for youth.

Up next is a staged reading of “The Lion in Winter” on July 12 with a wine and appetizer reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the reading at 7:30 p.m. at Meadowinds Castle in Moscow. Seating is limited. Tickets are $60 and go on sale in June and must be purchased in advance. 

Encore! Musical Cabaret is July 25, with a 7 p.m. wine reception and the show starting at 7:30 pm at the 1912 Center.

“Tomato Plant Girl” runs at 7 p.m. July 10, 11, 12, 24, 25, 26, and 31 and August 1 and 2 fgfat the Hartung Outdoor Theater on the UI campus.

Idaho Repertory Theatre is one of the Northwest’s oldest professional summer theatre companies and a signature program of the UI. Since 1953 it has brought professional productions and equity actors to Idaho, introduced new plays, staged readings and organized summer workshops for young people. From classics to musicals, from comedies to contemporary works, IRT always offers vibrant and entertaining theatre. 


Kelly O’Neill
Theatre Arts

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