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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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"Kinky Boots" Comes To Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in conjunction with TROIKA Entertainment is will present KINKY BOOTS, the smash-hit musical that brings together four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy® Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Tony Award-winner for Best Score for KINKY BOOTS), at Sound Waves in Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City from April 30 until May 5 with two performances on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets starting at $35.00.
The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
4th Wall Theatre Presents "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- 4TH WALL THEATRE continues its 22nd season with a one weekend run of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel.  The show will be presented as part of the Black History Month celebrations on February 22, 23, and 24 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ.  The show is directed by 4th Wall Executive Director Gwen Ricks-Spencer.


It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
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Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.






Event calendar
Friday, Jan 18, 2019


MUSIC

John Forster at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

David Massengill - Folk Concert @ Christ Congregation Church, Princeton - 8:00pm

SAL "THE VOICE" VALENTINETTI @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Elvis Birthday Bash @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Some Girl(s) @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm







COMEDY

Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


MISC

The Jason Bishop Show to Benefit CASA @ Pfleeger Concert Hall, Rowan University, Glassboro - 7:00pm

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