NC's Triad Stage Brings New Frankenstein-Inspired Farce, Debunked, to Life Jan. 25

News   NC's Triad Stage Brings New Frankenstein-Inspired Farce, Debunked, to Life Jan. 25 Little more than two years old, Triad Stage, the resident Equity company in Greensboro, North Carolina, is presenting its first world premiere commission, Debunked, starting Jan. 25.

As previously reported on Playbill On-Line, the farce by Alexander Woo is a wild new comedy about a Frankenstein-worthy surgeon who seeks to create an entertainment act to rival the famed so-called Siamese twins, Chang and Eng.

Triad artistic director Preston Lane directs the work by Los Angeles-based playwright Alexander Woo.

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Chang and Eng were the Siam-born conjoined twins who became so popular in the mid-19th century that the term "Siamese twins" would be linked to the physical condition for the next 150 years. Woo told Playbill On-Line their story was a jumping off point for him. The twins settled in Greensboro, NC; their 21 children would lead to some 1,000 modern-day descendants. The play is set in Wilkesboro, NC.

"The play is very loosely based on the hysteria around the fame Chang and Eng had achieved by the 1830s," Woo previously told Playbill On-Line. "At that time they were two of the most famous entertainers in the United States, and the play is set amidst that hysteria, where two of the biggest stars in the country are also these medical taboos." Woo said Chang and Eng are not characters in the play, which has a "Frankenstein" angle to it. The work of the costume designer is important: Detachable heads figure into the piece.

"I'm drawn to each play I write for a different reason," Woo explained. "In this particular case, I was drawn to Chang and Eng first because they settled in North Carolina, where the play is being done. As I did more research, I found many issues that were direct parallels to things that were important to me — issues of identity, issues of being Asian in America, issues of duality."

The six-actor piece is structured like a farce. "People are running around with each others' heads," Woo said, "so, yes, it's farce. Hopefully, through the farce structure I can explore many ideas that are important to me as well."

Woo is author of Off-Broadway's Forbidden City Blues.

Debunked runs Jan. 25-Feb. 15. Opening night is Jan. 29.

The cast includes Eric Bondoc as James Wong, Lisa Bowers as Virginia Kincaid, Mark Boyett as Dr. William Royce Beauregard, Kirtan Coan as Mrs. Colonel Kincaid, Steven Eng as Robert Lee and Caitlin Van Hecke as Anne Kincaid.

Designers are Alexander Dodge (scenic), K. April Soroko (costume), John Wolf (lighting), Jason Romney (sound).

Playwright Woo was born in New Jersey and attended high school in the Bronx, New York.  He graduated from Princeton University, where he studied under Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks, Mary Morris, and Emily Mann.  While at Princeton, he began writing, directing, and acting for the theatre.

In 1993, he received a Transatlantic Review Award for a story in a collection he wrote under the guidance of Joyce Carol Oates.  Alex received an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. He resides in Los Angeles, where he writes for the new Fox television series "Wonderfalls." His produced plays include In the Sherman Family Wax Museum, Post-Coitals, Pre-Nuptials and First Date.

His play, Forbidden City Blues, was developed at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival 1999, Stanford Theater Works, and The Public Theater's New Work Now! Festival 2000, before premiering at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York City in 2002.

For more information, call (336) 272-0160 or visit www.triadstage.org.

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The 300-seat thrust stage of Triad Stage was carved out of a former Montgomery Ward store at 232 South Elm Street, in historic downtown Greensboro, between Market and Washington Streets. A few blocks away, a former Woolworth's is being renovated as a museum commemorating the famed sit-in that occurred there, protesting a whites-only lunch counter. All productions are created in Greensboro using a combination of local and national talent. The Triad troupe's managing director is Richard Whittington.

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