Shaplin & The Riot Group to Perform World Premiere at Swarthmore

Marsha Nishi Mullan

For Immediate Release: August 20, 2007
Contact: Marsha Nishi Mullan
610-328-8535
http://www.swarthmore.edu/news

Acclaimed Playwright Shaplin & The Riot Group
to Perform World Premiere at Swarthmore

Acclaimed American playwright, actor, and director Adriano Shaplin and his company The Riot Group will present the world premiere of "Hearts of Man" at Swarthmore College on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Pearson-Hall Theatre, Lang Performing Arts Center. Co-sponsored by the William J. Cooper Foundation, the Swarthmore Department of Theatre, and the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and co-commissioned by Swarthmore and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont, the performance is free and open to the public without reservations.

"Hearts of Man" kicks off a week-long residency for Adriano Shaplin & The Riot Group during which they will conduct workshops with students and offer the Philadelphia premiere of "Pugilist Specialist," the company's most acclaimed work, on Friday, Sept. 14, and Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pearson-Hall Theatre. Post-show discussions with Shaplin and members of The Riot Group will follow the performances on Sept. 9 and 14. These performances and discussions are also free and open to the public.

Adriano Shaplin & The Riot Group have won a rare series of five Fringe First Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the only American company to ever do so, and as a result, have been invited to perform repeatedly in London and on extensive national tours of the U.K. and Ireland. Shaplin has also become the most discussed American playwright of his generation in British theater. His plays have been consistently published in Britain after their first performances there. His work has also enjoyed critical success in New York and on national tours in the U.S.

In 2006, he was invited to become the first international playwright-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-on-Avon, an invitation which includes a commission of a new play for the R.S.C. His unique dramaturgical voice and emphasis on complex poetic language is at the center of this critical acclaim. He cites Shakespeare, Pinter, Mamet, rap music and hip hop as inspirations for his work. His plays are often riffs on Shakespearean characters and plots: The Riot Group's award-winning production of "Victory in the Dirt Palace" was quickly grasped by critics as a contemporary satirical retelling of King Lear.

The language of "Hearts of Man" will be in a contemporary version of blank verse-an experiment growing out of Shaplin's ongoing work as a production dramaturg on Shakespeare's history plays at the RSC in collaboration with the company's artistic director Michael Boyd.

"Hearts of Man" is the company's reflection on the technological, legal, and popular-cultural issues raised by the use of the internet by pedophiles and is freely inspired by the history of the Megan's Law controversy in New Jersey. "Pugilist Specialist" is set in the near future in the midst of an American invasion of an unnamed Middle Eastern country and is a Brechtian portrait of four members in the U.S. military involved with a secret tactical mission to capture the country's dictator. Shaplin serves as director of both productions, and plays one of the roles in "Pugilist Specialist."

For more information please contact Allen Kuharski at 610-328-7794 or Jean Tierno in the Theater Department Office at 610-328-8149 or jtierno1@swarthmore.edu .

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