Entertainment » Theatre

The How and the Why of ’The How and The Why’

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Dec 4, 2012

Providence's Trinity Repertory Company continues their 49th Season with Sarah Treem's new play The How and the Why, directed by Shana Gozansky. The show opened in previews on November 29 and runs through December 30, 2012.

"The How and the Why" features two brilliant characters - one in her fifties, one her twenties - each with her own point of view on the controversial debate surrounding the theory of female evolution. Over the course of the play, a mentor and her protégé bond and spar over the personal and professional consequences of their own diametrically opposed theories.

Trinity Rep resident acting company member Anne Scurria stars as Zelda, a leading expert in the field of evolutionary biology, and Brown/Trinity MFA actress Barrie Kreinik ('13) as graduate student Rachel, an equally brilliant woman on the verge of releasing her own groundbreaking theory.

Lots of issues

Scurria spoke with EDGE about her role in "The How and The Why."

The actress has been with Trinity Rep. since 1979 and has performed in over 100 productions, including "Absurd Person Singular," "The Syringa Tree," "Homebody/Kabul," "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "MacBeth," "A Christmas Carol," and "Long Day’s Journey Into Night."

"She is someone who has devoted her whole life to her science," said Scurria of her character. "(Zelda) has a radical theory she has basically spent her life creating."

Zelda and her protege Rachel end up engaging in a dialogue about balancing relationships and careers, how to be a parent, and how to be a child.

"(The play) raises a lot of issues, so the conversations (among theatregoers) on the way home will be really interesting," Scurria noted. "Some people latch on to the mentoring thing and some people latch on to the mother-daughter thing and some people latch on to the science thing. (Sarah Treem) throws a lot of balls up in the air about what it means to be a woman. Another theme that runs (through the play) is about the choices we make and sometimes they don’t seem to be terrifically big choices but they can really throw our lives into a whole other direction and how they play out during our whole lives."

A personal connection

For Scurria, the experience of working on "The How and The Why" is a personal one.

"The director (Shana Gozansky) is a former student of mine," Scurria noted. "The other actress in the play (Krienik) is a current student of mine so we’re finding different ways of teaching each other. It’s interesting how you pass things on to the next generation."

Returning to Trinity Rep to direct "The How and the Why" is a homecoming of sorts for Gozansky, as she graduated from the Brown/Trinity program in Spring of 2012.

"I feel very lucky to be asked to come back to a place that has been my artistic home for three years and work with actors and a production team that I’ve grown to really love and have tremendous respect for," Gozansky says.

"Not only do I get to collaborate with two powerhouse actresses," Gozansky says, "but I am surrounded by an incredible design team and production staff. It’s amazing and a gift."

Tickets for The How and the Why are on sale now at the Trinity Rep box office, 201 Washington St.; by phone at (401) 351-4242; and online at www.trinityrep.com.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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