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The Book Of D

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/21/2016

The Book Of D

It’s often said that divorce is hardest on the children.  In The Book of D, playwright Cody Daigle-Orians examines how a young boy named D handles his parents going through a divorce during a period in which he is struggling to fit in at school.  D becomes friends with Blu, who introduces him to the world of Greek mythology.  Inside these myths, D begins to find himself. The play has its world premiere at The Growing Stage in Netcong from February 12 to February 21.  

“The Greek myths have always been these incredibly potent, incredibly truthful stories to me,” explained Daigle-Orians.  “They’re ultimately a guidebook to being a good human, so I’ve found myself coming back to them in my work often. They’re some of our oldest narrative inheritances. I love them.”

This is the second play in which he has utilized divorce as part of the story, but it’s not a subject in which he has direct experience.  His own parents have actually been married for over 40 years.  He says he uses divorce as a vessel for dealing with loss — a common thread in his work.

“I’ve always been interested in who we are when we lose things, how loss tests us and puts us in the crucible, and how we often come out of it deeply and profoundly changed,” said the playwright. “That process is very interesting to me, and I’ve always written about it. The Book of D fits right in, looking at how stories can help us navigate loss.”

Born in Louisiana, he is currently living in Hartford, Connecticut where he is a teaching artist and  the programming coordinator for the Charter Oak Cultural Center in downtown Hartford.  His plays range from works created for adult audiences to those for young audiences like The Book of D. Situations involving close friendships, families in trouble, and loss are often part of his works.



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It may seem difficult moving from the world of adult audiences to young audiences, but he says he treats both works as the same process.  He finds himself asking the same kinds of storytelling questions regardless of the audience, but the writing is approached a little differently.

“I think with young audiences, you have to write very purely,” he explained. “No snark. No excess cleverness. No artifice. No tricks. Kids can smell a lack of authenticity a mile away. You have to write cleanly and simply and honestly.“

Cody certainly knows the young audience well.  He has taught and created plays in such places as New Britain Youth Theatre, the Delta Grand Youth Theatre, AUI Summer Theatre, The Playhouse Tulsa, and Union Public Schools.  In addition, he created the PlayBridge Workshop — a unique play creation workshop for young people.

This is his first time working with the Growing Stage.  The Book of D was chosen for production as a result of winning the company’s annual new play contest in 2015.  He has been part of the rehearsal process, but due to distance, he’s involved peripherally.

“It’s fun for me to see what a creative team does with a play of mine, especially when I trust them,” he said. “I’ve done a few last minute rewrites based on stuff the director suggested, and it’s added some lovely things to the play. I’m looking forward to seeing the end result.”

His advice for young writers is to learn to trust their voice — something he admits is easier said than done.  “I see a lot of plays by young or beginning writers that try very hard to impress or be political or be smart instead of just being their play. Whatever that is,” he said. “Getting them to dig into that vulnerability and trust that the story that’s burning in them is enough -- that’s tough. That is something I still feel like I’m learning.”

Previous winners of The New Play Reading Festival at the Growing Stage include And Then Came Tango (2014), The Secret Life of Hubie Hartzel (2013), and With Two Wings (2012). The final candidates for this year include Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Dorothea Cahan, Not Waving by Richard Manley, The Box of Stories by Jessica Puller, and The Summer of the Blood Moon by Jack McCleland.  The second and final round of readings will take place February 26-28.  

Plays are read by professional and community artists in a casual setting.  Following each reading, audience members can participate in a discussion of the work with the Growing Stage’s professional team.  The winning play will be chosen to have a fully mounted production in 2016.





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Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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