Speech & Debate

Speech & Debate

by Stephen Karam

Directed by Lowry Marshall

Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam

Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam

July 19, 20, 21, 22, 26 and 29, 2006, all at 8 PM

“Children should not be asked to keep special secrets from their parents and, of course, children should not be asked to touch anyone in the bathing suit areas of their body or allow anyone to touch them in those areas.”

– Department of Public Safety

Three misfit teenagers in Salem, Oregon band together to uncover the truth about a sex scandal that’s just hit their town. Secrets become currency and lies abound in this wickedly funny black comedy by the author of last summer’s riotous Girl on Girl.

Reviews of New York premiere at the new Roundabout Underground:

Mr. Karam’s observations are shrewd… A plot description doesn’t hint at how funny and cliché-free this brilliantly performed little show is… The play’s real accomplishment is its picture of the borderland between late adolescence and adulthood, where grown-up ideas and ambition coexist with childish will and bravado… The triumph of this production is that we never feel we’re being educated, just immensely entertained. Its first time out, the Roundabout Underground has done exactly what it was created to do. –Caryn James, The New York Times

“Roundabout kicks off its Underground project to nurture new talent on a promising note with “Speech & Debate.” Stephen Karam’s savvy comedy about three teenage outsiders grappling with sexual secrets and drawn together via the Internet is… bristling with vitality, wicked humor, terrific dialogue and a direct pipeline into the zeitgeist of contemporary youth. –David Rooney, Variety/Newsday

“The best explanation for how much “Speech & Debate” can get away with is probably that it earns enormous credibility with its audience by being flat-out funnyMuch of the credit goes to young playwright Stephen Karam, who has an outstandingear for how young people talk and whose comedy was selected as the first production of Roundabout Underground, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s initiative for new plays.” –Associated Press review

“Karam has a sharp eye for detail and a keen ear for the geeky, gawky dialogue of adolescent outsiders.” –Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

Cast

Howie …………………………………………………………………………………………………Justin Blanchard
Solomon …………………………………………………………………………………………….Steven Levenson
Diwata ………………………………………………………………………………………………………Lucy DeVito
Teacher ………………………………………………………………………………………………….Darius Pierce
Reporter ……………………………………………………………………………………………………Crystal Finn
Director ………………………………………………………………………………………………..Lowry Marshall
Stage Manager ………………………………………………………………………………………….Robin Grady
Running Crew ………………….Jonathan Harris, Patrick Harrison, Dan Rogers, Kathryn Wallem
Projection Design …………………………………………………………Robin Grady and Stephen Karam
Projection Execution ………………………………………………………………………..Katherine Buechner
“Hot Flo” and “Power Ballad” …………………………………………………………………..Stephen Karam
Offstage Voices………………..Crystal Finn, Jonathan Harris, Patrick Harrison, Kathryn Wallem
Special Moves ………………………………………………………………………………………..Sarah Coogan

Special Thanks: Dan Rogers, Anne Reilly, Patricia McGregor, Ellen Langan, Agnes Cummings, Sally Strachan

“Children should not be asked to keep special secrets from their parents and, of course, children should not be asked to touch anyone in the bathing suit areas of their body or allow anyone to touch them in those areas.” –Department of Public Safety

dannyboy: what do you like about youth?
therightbi-guy: energy,
therightbi-guy: wonder,
dannyboy: personally i like the tight ass
dannyboy: lol
dannyboy: but thats just me
dannyboy: lol
therightbi-guy: their hopes for the future. and their whole life in front of them
dannyboy: so their innocence?
therightbi-guy: no, i don’t think. i didn’t think of you as an innocent
dannyboy: thats good… cuz i’m not

–Excerpt from a transcript of a online chat, dated 2/9/05, between the former mayor of Spokane, WA (“therightbi-guy”) and an 18-year-old male (“dannyboy”)

Stephen Karam (Playwright) received a 2006 Helen Hayes nomination for co-writing columbinus, which recently ran off-broadway at New York Theatre Workshop.  His black comedy Girl on Girl, was part of the 2005 season at B/T Playwrights Rep.  His other plays have been read/produced at The Kennedy Center, Stark Raving Theatre, Arena Stage, The Blank Theatre Company, Roundhouse Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, Cardboard Box Theatre Co. and at the New York Music Theatre Festival.  He is a winner of NYMF’s Director’s Choice Award, a three-time winner of the Blank Theatre Company’s National Young Playwrighting Competition, YPI’s (Young Playwrights Inc.) National Playwrighting Competition, and the Kennedy Center’s ACTF Award for Musical Theatre.  Most importantly, Stephen is the 1997 Catholic Forensics League National Speech & Debate Champion in the category of Original Oratory. http://www.stephenkaram.com