by Hansol Jung
Set in Northern Uganda at the turn of the millennium, this riveting drama reveals a love story set amidst an escalating civil war. A secret and improvised wedding between a local teenage girl and the daughter of American missionaries solidifies the commitment of these contemporary star crossed lovers lost inside a violent and hostile world. Cardboard Piano explores the roots of hate and the discovery of the potent power of forgiveness.
Run time: 2 hours, with a 15 minute intermission.
Please note this production contains recorded gunshots and prop weapons.
Rachel Cognata makes her New Repertory Theatre debut with this production of Cardboard Piano. Other recent credits include Hype Man (2018 Elliot Norton Award winner for Best Production) and Really with Company One Theater. Rachel recently returned from a month-long transfer at Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis, MN. Some favorite past projects include Inner City Blues and The Laramie Project. A graduate of both the Boston Arts Academy and Tufts University, she is from and resides in Medford, MA.
Marge Dunn* makes her New Repertory Theatre debut with this production of Cardboard Piano. Other recent credits include It’s a Wonderful Life and Miss Holmes at the Greater Boston Stage Company; Dog Act (IRNE nomination) at Theatre on Fire; Three Sisters (IRNE nomination), A Piece of My Heart and A Nightingale Sang (IRNE nomination) at Wellesley Repertory Theatre; Macbeth at Brown Box Theatre Project; The Draft at Hibernian Hall; Romeo and Juliet, and Much Ado About Nothing at Boston Theater Company. She holds a BA in English and Theatre Studies from Wellesley College, and serves as the Technical Director at the Roxbury Latin School. Dunn is also a freelance educator with Watertown Children’s Theatre, Greater Boston Stage Company, and Boston Theater Company. Originally from Winchester, MA, she now resides in Jamaica Plain, MA.
Michael Ofori* returns to New Repertory Theatre after last being seen in Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act. Other recent credits include The Journey (Ahab), Much Ado About Nothing (Leonato), Blue Orange (Christopher), and Through a Film Darkly (Addo). Michael holds a BFA in Theater from the University of Ghana; and MA in African Studies from Ohio University; and an MFA in Theater Education from Boston University. He currently teachers theater at Mount Holyoke College. Originally from Ghana, Michael now resides in Jamaica Plain, MA.
Marc Pierre* returns to New Repertory Theatre after performing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Great Expectations with New Rep’s Classic Repertory Company in 2012-2013. Other recent credits include Fences at Florida Repertory Theatre; Gloria at Gamm Theatre; Brawler at Kitchen Theatre Company; Airness at Actors Theatre of Louisville; When January Feels Like Summer at Central Square Theatre; Peter and the Starcatcher at Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Milk Like Sugar at Huntington Theatre Company; and The Flick at Gloucester Stage. TV/film credits include Castle Rock and Twelve. Marc received his BFA at Emerson College, where he was a recipient of the Isabel Sanford Scholarship and Emerson College’s Acting Area Award. He is from and resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Benny Sato Ambush◊ is an SDC freelance director, educator (BA, BFA, MFA levels), consultant, former National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) panelist/site evaluator, published commentator. He recently served nine years as Senior Distinguished Producing Director-In-Residence of Emerson Stage, the producing wing of the Department of Performing Arts (PA) at Emerson College, where he also taught on PA’s acting and directing faculty. Prior artistic leadership (select): Acting Artistic Director – Rites and Reason Theatre Company, Providence, RI; Producing Artistic Director – Oakland (CA) Ensemble Theatre (SPT); Associate Artistic Director – San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (LORT B); Co-Artistic Director – San Francisco Bay Area Playwrights Festival; PEW Charitable Trust/TCG Director in Residence – Florida Stage (LOA); Associate Artistic Director – Anna Deavere Smith’s Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University; Producing Artistic Director – TheatreVirginia (LORT C). Formerly at New Rep: The Whipping Man; Thurgood. Benny holds numerous directing credits at professional regional theatres and universities throughout the U.S. and the Boston region. He has served on numerous regional and national boards, including Theatre Communications Group (TCG). He adjudicates nationally and internationally for the American Association of Community Theatre, is a Steering Committee member of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, a member of The National Theatre Conference, and is a panelist for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. In April 2019, he will be inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. MFA – University of California, San Diego; BA – Brown University.
JON SAVAGE has designed The Gift Horse, Broken Glass, The King of Second Avenue, Closer Than Ever, Imagining Madoff, The Elephant Man, and Holiday Memories at New Repertory Theatre. Other area credits include Out of Sterno (Gloucester Stage); A Disappearing Number (Underground Railway Theatre); M and Laughing Wild (Huntington Theatre Company); You for Me for You (Company One); The Farm and Deported/a dream play (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); and All’s Well That Ends Well (Elliot Norton Award, Best Production) and The Comedy of Errors (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). Regional credits include A Grand Night for Singing (Bucks County Playhouse); State Fair (Walnut Street Theatre); Is He Dead? (Olney Theatre); and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Bay Street Theatre). Jon was the Associate Set Designer for the Broadway production of Hot Feet and has worked in television and film for productions on the History Channel and the HBO miniseries, John Adams. He also served as a curator for the US National Student Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial in 2007. He is currently on faculty at Boston University and is a member of United Scenic Artists. Originally from Wyoming, he resides in Weymouth.
Leslie Held returns to New Repertory Theatre after most recently working on The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde and The Promise. Some of Leslie’s previous Boston design credits include Guards at the Taj, Proof, Copenhagen, Einstein’s Dreams, Mr. G, Journey to the West, The Other Place, A Disappearing Number, Arcadia and Arabian Nights (for which she won an IRNE award) at the Central Square Theater; and Rhinoceros at the Suffolk Modern Theater. In the Washington, DC area, her credits include Three Sisters, Out of Our Father’s House, Twelfth Night, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Roundhouse Theater), Candide (Arena Stage) and Renard the Fox with the Folger Theater at the Kennedy Center. Leslie additionally teaches at Suffolk University. Originally from New York City, she now resides in Newton, MA.
SCOTT PINKNEY (Lighting Designer) returns to New Repertory Theatre after designing Freud’s Last Session, Broken Glass, The Whipping Man, Race, Opus, and The Last Five Years. Mr. Pinkney was represented on Broadway by Harvey Fierstein’s Tony Award-winning Torch Song Trilogy. Off-Broadway credits include Becoming Dr. Ruth, The Majestic Kid, Divine Fire, Nymph Errant, and The World is Made of Glass. Regional credits include Mala (Guthrie Theater and Huntington Theatre Company); Don Juan (Denver Critic’s Circle Award, Denver Center); My Fair Lady (Phoebe Award, Theatre Virginia); Secret Garden (Olney Theatre Center); and Texas Flyer (Theatre Under the Stars). He has designed the last fourteen seasons for Barrington Stage, where he serves as an Associate Artist, including productions of The Best of Enemies, The Crucible, A Streetcar Named Desire, Carousel, Uncle Vanya, Follies, West Side Story, and Ring Round the Moon. He designed more than 30 productions for Bristol Riverside Theatre, including The Balkan Women (Barrymore Award Nomination), Evita, Chicago, Alive and Well, and Dear World. Other credits include ‘ART’ and Kiss of the Spider Woman (Singapore Rep); Concerts (The Club Mohamed Ali, Cairo); Ulysses on Bottles (Israeli Stage); The Comedy of Errors (Elliot Norton Award, Commonwealth Shakespeare); Don Giovanni (NEC Opera); The Merchant of Venice (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); The Glass Menagerie and Adrift in Macao (Lyric Stage Company); Absurd Person Singular, The Sea Horse, and Van Gogh in Japan (Nora Theatre Company); and Grease, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Into the Woods (The Majestic Theatre). Mr. Pinkney is a Professor at Emerson College.
DEWEY DELLAY returns to New Repertory Theatre after composing and designing for Ideation, The Gift Horse, Thurgood, The Testament of Mary, The Whipping Man, Rancho Mirage, and Long Day’s Journey into Night. Other credits include Duet (Greenwich Street Theatre, Off Broadway); and The Countess (Criterion, London’s West End). Other regional credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Lyric Stage Company); Photograph 51 (IRNE nomination Best Sound Design, Nora Theatre Company); and When January Feels Like Summer (Underground Railway Theater). He has received an Elliot Norton award for Outstanding Design and an IRNE for Best Sound Design. Television credits include original music for Emmy nominated National Geographic’s China’s Mystery Mummies, Discovery Channel’s Miami Jail, and five seasons of the show Our America with Lisa Ling for the OWN Channel. He presently is contributing music to This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN.
BECCA FREIFELD* returns to New Repertory Theatre after serving as Performance Stage Manager on Thurgood, Assistant Stage Manager on Fiddler on the Roof and Good, and Production Assistant on Freud’s Last Session, The Testament of Mary, The Snow Queen, A Number, Broken Glass, Scenes From an Adultery, The King of Second Avenue, and Closer Than Ever. Other area stage management credits include Barbecue (Lyric Stage Company); Shoes On, Shoes Off (Brandeis Department of Theater Arts); Romeo & Juliet and Evil Dead: the Musical (Arts After Hours); Hamlet (Wax Wings Productions); Bully Dance (Argos Productions); and Hamlet (Bay Colony Shakespeare Company). Upcoming: Assistant Stage Manager on New Repertory Theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha. Ms. Freifeld is a graduate of Brandeis University, and currently resides in Newtonville.
* member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
◊ member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
º member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829
“‘Cardboard Piano’ still manages to achieve a potent resonance, due in no small part to the fact that the play focuses so intently, and laudably, on the destructive impact and lingering wounds caused by homophobia.”
“Director Benny Sato Ambush (The Whipping Man, Thurgood) is the right man for the job as he focuses attention squarely on the human strengths and frailties that drive the actions of the characters.”
“Scenic Designer Jon Savage, Lighting Designer Scott Pinkney and Sound Designer Dewey Dellay contribute greatly to the verisimilitude of the Ugandan township, where child soldiers and anti-homosexual laws can tragically co-exist.”
“…the New Repertory Theatre’s New England premiere production of Cardboard Piano is of real interest. “
“By analogy, this thoughtful play asks, will understanding and compassion repair a Uganda torn apart by bigotry and violence?”
“Of the seven roles portrayed in this mounting, the most memorable is that of Cognata’s depiction of Ruth, who ably expresses her growing realization of what has occurred in the past that is so profoundly echoed…
New Rep is proud to announce that Cardboard Piano has been selected for a Stage Source Standing O, celebrating achievement for gender parity in theatre!
Our Parity Party will take place one hour before the 4:00pm performance of Cardboard Piano on March 24, and will be an opportunity to mingle, meet fellow theatre enthusiasts, and celebrate gender parity. Light refreshments will be served.
Everyone is then invited to attend the performance of Cardboard Piano. Tickets are available in advance online, or you can pay what you can (minimum $12) at the door, pending availability. Discounts available for advance tickets for students, seniors, military personnel, and WIC/EBT cardholders.
Following the performance, there will be a brief talkback led by New Rep’s Artistic Associate (and the production’s Assistant Director/Dramaturg) Elena Morris.
We hope to see you there!