UVA Drama Welcomes Donald Margulies
Part of the process of mounting any play or musical is the exercise of trying to get into the mind of the writer to determine the intentions and motivations he or she might have had in writing it. Last spring, UVA Drama students working on the play Shipwrecked! An Entertainment –The Amazing Adventures of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself) were offered a rare chance to not only ask those questions, but also to perform the writer’s work directly for him. Margulies’ play Dinner with Friends won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2000 and was made into an Emmy-nominated film for HBO. Margulies, whose works have been performed on and off-Broadway and at some of the nation’s premier regional theatres, came to Grounds as the Drama Department’s 2017 Keenan Lecturer. He discussed his highly-entertaining and delightfully-unconventional tale of a Victorian-era adventurer and his taller-than-tall tales of the adventures of his youth, including encounters with exotic native peoples, tangling with a giant octopus and more. The UVA production’s action was punctuated by a “soundtrack” created by the actors themselves. Margulies took in the production, directed by UVA Drama Associate Professor Marianne Kubik, and participated in a talk-back with the cast, as well as spending time with students in more intimate workshop and meeting environments. The residency was supported by the Keenan Lecture Fund and an Arts Enhancement Grant from UVA Arts and the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts. Lawrence R. Keenan, a UVA grad in 1966, was a UVA drama alumnus who received an M.F.A. in playwriting in 1992, and who kept his passion for writing alive throughout a successful career as an attorney before turning his talents to the theatre community in Los Angeles, where he also worked as a consultant on the staging of courtroom dramas. Mr. Keenan passed away in 1999 from complications of bone cancer and his friends and family established the Keenan Lectureship in his honor.