Oscar Winner Holly Hunter Will Join Kia Corthron's Life by Asphyxiation Reading at the Public

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and Adam Hetrick
09 Oct 2013

Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Holly Hunter, best known for her Oscar-winning performance in "The Piano," has joined the cast of The Public Theater's first Drama Club Public Forum, which will be held Oct. 20 at 7 PM at Joe's Pub and feature a reading and discussion of Kia Corthron's Life by Asphyxiation.

The complete cast for Corthron's Life by Asphyxiation will feature Hunter ("The Firm," "Saving Grace") as Katie; Ron Cephas Jones as Nat Turner; Wendell Pierce as Jojo; Kirk Bloodsworth, the first man exonerated from death row based on DNA evidence, as Warden; and Barry Scheck, the co-founder of the Innocence Project, reading stage directions. 

Billed as Drama Club, the new series is curated by Jeremy McCarter. It will also Tony Kushner's Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy (Nov. 3) and Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner (Dec. 10). Each presentation is at 7 PM.

The Public Forum was created to offer "theatre of ideas: conversations and performances with leading voices in politics, media, and the arts." In Drama Club, "authors, musicians, journalists, scholars, and actors will come together to give onstage readings of one-act plays that have some special resonance in our lives today. Each reading will conclude with a discussion of the hard questions that the play raises about our politics, our culture, and the way we live now."

Here's a look at the works:



Corthron's 1995 play, Life by Asphyxiation, "will be read and discussed by Wendell Pierce ('The Wire'), Kirk Bloodsworth, the first man exonerated from death row based on DNA evidence, and others. Corthron’s play tells the story of Jojo, a black man on death row for raping and murdering a white girl decades earlier. He is visited by her ghost, and Nat Turner is locked up in the cell next door. After reading the play, the cast will tackle the hard questions it raises about race, justice, mercy, friendship, and the death penalty."

Kushner's Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy will feature Rachel Maddow and Elizabeth Marvel. "In this timely, provocative 2003 play, First Lady Laura Bush reads a passage from Dostoyevsky to Iraqi children who were killed in American air strikes. Afterwards, the cast will discuss the morality of U.S. foreign policy and the extent to which we share responsibility for our leaders' actions."

Wilder's classic 1931 one-act The Long Christmas Dinner "will be read and discussed by actor/playwright Lisa Kron; media theorist Douglas Rushkoff; Thornton Wilder’s nephew and literary executor, Tappan Wilder; Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president and CEO of the New America Foundation and author of the recent cover story in The Atlantic about trying to have it all; her son, Edward Moravcsik; and more. Wilder's ingenious, heartbreaking play traces 90 years in the life of an American family, and will spark a discussion about family and storytelling in a society that’s rapidly accelerating.

For tickets phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater.