Public Theater Announces Talkbacks for The Poor Itch

News   Public Theater Announces Talkbacks for The Poor Itch
The Public Theater has announced a series of post-show discussions to follow John Belluso's The Poor Itch, which begins performances March 7 and will continue through March 23.

Presented as part of the collaborative Public LAB series, The Poor Itch marks the final work of late playwright and activist Belluso.

In The Poor Itch "Ian comes back from the war in Iraq without the use of his legs but with a full-blown case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a year's supply of OxyContin. Now, he has to face the person he has become after the war," press notes state.

Following the March 8 performances of The Poor Itch – the production's director Lisa Peterson will join Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis and Victoria Ann Lewis, the Founding Director of the Mark Taper Forum's "Other Voices Project" (founded to encourage new voices for theatre through specific programming for actors and writers with disabilities) – to discuss the life and legacy of activist and playwright Belluso.

In a statement Public associate artistic director Mandy Hackett said, "John Belluso was an exceptionally talented writer and in writing The Poor Itch, he took a hard-edged look at the issues around Iraq Vets returning home -- whose hearts, minds and bodies are broken by the war. With John's untimely death, we knew we had to bring this important story to the stage and set about fusing together the final drafts of his work. The play is full of John's remarkable talent – it's gutsy, theatrical, ambitious, funny and simultaneously deeply personal and political."

The March 12 talkback will feature 1st Lieutenant and Detachment Commander in the New York Army National Guard, Paul Reickhoff – also the executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – who will speak about his work with the organization and his tour of duty in Iraq. The cast for The Poor Itch features Michael Chernus, Alicia Goranson, Marc Damon Johnson, Piter Marek, Deidre O'Connell, John Ottavino, Susan Pourfar and Christopher Thornton.

The Poor Itch creative team includes set design by Rachel Hauck, costume design by Gabriel Berry, lighting design by Ben Stanton and original music and sound design by Robert Kaplowitz.

Tickets for the Public LAB series, priced $10, are available by calling (212) 967-7555 or by visiting

The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street.


The Public LAB productions – uniting the Public and LAByrinth Theater companies – are staged following brief rehearsal periods and utilize minimal design for the stage. Upcoming works in the series include The Civilians' Steven Cosson and Michael Friedman's presentation of The Civilians' Paris Commune (April 4-20); The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East by Naomi Wallace (April 25-May 11); The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson (May 16-June 1); Rebecca Cohen's Penalties & Interest (June 10-28); and Scott Hudson's Sweet Storm (June 28-29).

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