J.T. Rogers: Complex "Gifts"
June 6, 2012
This content is sourced from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
When J.T. Rogers’ play Blood and Gifts ”was in the midst of its off-Broadway run in 2011, the influential Council on Foreign Relations bought up the seats to one entire performance as a kind of field trip for diplomacy wonks and intelligence types.
The event was “like my Comic-Con,” Rogers told The New York Times then, name-dropping San Diego’s annual gathering of pop-culture tribes.
Now, Rogers’ globe-roving political thriller centered on 1980s Afghanistan has traveled to the actual Land of the Con — it begins performances at La Jolla Playhouse this week. And if the stakes in Blood and Gifts are a little higher (and relevant to real life) than in your typical superhero saga, the play still shares the same impulse to keep an audience engrossed.
“I’m an entertainer, I’m a teller of stories,” says Rogers, talking by phone from his Brooklyn home between trips to La Jolla. “I’m not a polemicist or an essayist or a historian.
“Yes, I want you to be shaken — but I want you to laugh, I want you to be surprised, I want you to get your time’s worth. If you go away and you think about my play for many days after, and mention it to someone else — that’s what I want when I go to the theater.”
The work, which Rogers describes as “a history play in the form of a thriller about cloak-and dagger-espionage,” was first seen in a shorter version as part of an 11-play cycle called The Great Game: Afghanistan.
Blood and Gifts has some kinship with the 2007 movie Charlie Wilson’s War, which chronicled a real-life congressman’s role in clandestine efforts to aid the Afghan mujahedeen against Soviet occupiers. But Rogers’ play takes in a broader swath of events and people, and covers a 10-year period starting in 1981.
After the play’s premiere, Rogers — known best for his earlier works Madagascar and The Overwhelming — revamped and expanded Blood and Gifts, whose full New York staging was directed by onetime San Diego theater maverick Bartlett Sher.
The director in La Jolla is Lucie Tiberghien, a wide-ranging, Swiss-born theater artist (and onetime ballet dancer) who helped Rogers develop early versions of both Blood and Gifts and The Overwhelming.
July 22, 2013Sibyl Kempson and John Collins in Conversation at Walker Art Center
July 6, 2012Barbara Hammond Shares Advice for New Playwrights
June 11, 2012Quiara Alegría Hudes, Post-Pulitzer, Eyes the Next Chapter
May 29, 2012Kirsten Greenidge: Inspired by the Huntington
March 22, 2012Treasures among the trash in "Death Tax"
March 16, 2012Back story: Playwright Annie Baker
January 23, 2012Young Jean Lee in Conversation
January 16, 2012Playwright Carlos Murillo Goes Viral
January 4, 2012Artistic Director Todd London Talks New Plays With Hollins University
December 29, 2011The Wilma Theater: An Interview with Annie Baker
ND News Archive
- January 2015 (1)
- December 2014 (1)
- June 2014 (2)
- April 2014 (2)
- March 2014 (1)
- February 2014 (1)
- January 2014 (2)
- December 2013 (1)
- November 2013 (3)
- October 2013 (1)
- September 2013 (2)
- July 2013 (4)
- June 2013 (2)
- May 2013 (5)
- April 2013 (3)
- March 2013 (5)
- February 2013 (2)
- January 2013 (5)
- December 2012 (2)
- November 2012 (4)
- October 2012 (4)
- September 2012 (6)
- August 2012 (5)
- July 2012 (5)
- June 2012 (4)
- May 2012 (5)
- April 2012 (9)
- March 2012 (10)
- February 2012 (13)
- January 2012 (10)
- December 2011 (12)
- November 2011 (11)
- October 2011 (13)
- September 2011 (9)
Stay in touch and keep on top of the latest activities from ND.