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Keyword: ‘Raymond Bobgan’

Congratulations to Raymond Bobgan

April 9th, 2009 No comments

I repeat, congratulations to Raymond Bobgan and Cleveland Public Theatre for much deserved recognition by American Theatre and the Theatre Communications Group.

Standardized Child TM

October 15th, 2011 No comments

Springboard a staged reading festival


Standardized Child in Springboard

Went and saw Claire Robinson May’s new play on Thursday night at Springboard. It is worth taking a look at.


Springboard is CPT’s new festival of staged readings so you need to be aware that these productions are staged readings and not full productions. That being said, CPT is taking an new approach to staged readings and not allowing the boring old “music stand” approach to be the dominant factor. In fact, the directors and actors are encouraged to attempt to get as much into the “full boll” of a real production as possible.

That being said, all should remain aware that staged readings are a public presentation of unfinished work and that there is a lot of fat still on the meat. Claire’s play is no exception. There is a lot going on in this: a lot of good stuff that needs to be focused.

The story in short is about a couple that cannot conceive. So they go to a newly created company that offers robot children and adopt. The “standardized children” are pre-programmed to be successful in standardized ways–good at standardized tests, rote learning, core and fundamental sports and painting techniques, etc. However, they lack the capacity for “creative” thought: they can do as they are programmed, but cannot be spontaneous or operate outside of the bounds of their installed software set.

That being the premise of the play, the play itself is really about some tough themes, themes that were discussed quite passionately. One group of thoughts was that the play is about control. That raising children is about controlling children–after all, children are projections of ourselves into the world and parents attempt to shape their children to be what they want them to be. Society attempts to control children (and parents) and to have them raised according to precepts that are important to society. In discussion, Raymond Bobgan raised the point that public education in the US was never about educating children so much as it was about creating a workforce for industry–and the approaches to education reflect that attitude: standardized, rote, uniform, etc. Another theme that I picked up on is that of connection–or attempts to connect. Throughout the parents who have adopted the robot child attempt to connect with the child in ways that the child is not capable of. In many ways the parents end up projecting their emotional desires onto the child. Additionally, the parents themselves have some work to do in how they relate to each other, a fact that becomes painfully obvious as the play moves forward.

Claire does a wonderful job of keeping the pace of the play moving forward and she has a wicked sense of humor that makes the play as funny as it is serious.

Go tonight

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, get over to CPT and check out Standardized Child, it starts at 7:00 in the James Levin Theatre.

I also have to give a shout out to Debbie Keppler who does a great job as the confused and emotionally distraught mother. Debbie was my lead, Asa, in Patterns at CPT in March.

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