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In January, SOSE begins work on Wallowa, a new play conceived and directed by ensemble member Donald Boughton and to be written by Los Angeles playwright Oliver Mayer. Our Los Angeles premiere production of The Designed Mourner by Wallace Shawn opens to critical acclaim, receiving a Critic's Pick in the Los Angeles Times. After four months of interviews with deaf senior citizens, SOSE produces a workshop of a new documentary-play about Deaf culture entitled Hearing the Deaf. The play written by David Kurs is performed simultaniously in English and American Sign Language at DEAFestival with a mixed cast of hearing and deaf actors.
Son of Semele Ensemble is put in residence for two-weeks at Center Theatre Group to continue development on Fencerow to Fencerow. Our other work in progress Record Storm Spreads Ruin! is presented as a workshop at the Autry National Center. Our production of Melancholy Play receives critical acclaim in every major newspaper in the city.
SOSE began development on a new play inspired by the best-selling non-fiction book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. As development on our new work continued, we managed the 2nd quarter of the Los Angeles theatre festival 365 Plays / 365 Days, a component of a nation-wide theatre collaboration billed as the largest theatrical collaboration in history. SOSE produced one of the festival weeks and co-produced a celebration for the festival participants.
Early in ’06, SOSE began its first company-created play, Labo(u)r. Devised using improvisational techniques and scripted by Aaron Henne, Labo(u)r marked the beginning of a new approach to play development for SOSE. In the summer, SOSE presented King Cat Calico Finally Flies Free! written by ensemble member Aaron Henne. Later that year we presented the west coast premiere of Iphigenia Crash Land Falls On The Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (A Rave Fable) by Caridad Svich. The production went on to garner three LA Weekly Theatre Award Nominations (winning for Best Lighting) and also received three Special Recognition LA Weekly Theatre Awards for Puppets, Multi-Media / Video Projections, and Masks.
SOSE embarks on its largest theatrical undertaking to date: the national premiere of a 5-hour, 2-part play called The Mysteries, a modern adaptation of bible stories that combined tribal imagery with well-known mythic stories. We co-produced a mask and puppet play Hyperbole: epiphany with Rogue Artist Ensemble over the summer and at this end of the year we presented the world premiere of Preludes & Fugues by Los Angeles playwright John Glore. In December, to help a company writer in developing a new play, we produced a two-week development workshop of Bare, a new play written by an ensemble member.
This year culminates in our first national press, the profile of our company in American Theatre and the publication of one of our production photos on the magazine cover. SOSE has gone national! Three full productions were presented this year including the west coast premiere of A Human Interest Story (or The Gory Details and All) by Carlos Murillo, The Tower by Matthew Maguire (which went on to receive four NAACP Theatre Award Nominations, winning for Best Choreography), and the Los Angeles premiere of Wilhelm Reich In Hell, which featured an original techno-rock score.
SOSE’s 2002 musical production of Animal Farm, adapted by Peter Hall, receives seven Ovation Award nominations, winning for Best Musical, Intimate Venue and Best Director. In October, SOSE opens its own performance venue in Silver Lake, an area of Los Angeles known for its thriving arts community. After a 9-month renovation of a storefront building, SOSE opens its doors with Film is Evil: Radio is Good by New York avante-guard writer Richard Foreman. The production was part of the 2003 Edge of the World Theatre Festival.
SOSE presents the west coast premiere of Richard Greenberg’s The American Plan, the world premiere of Somewhere, Someone Said written by four ensemble members, the west coast premiere of Back Story direct from its successful opening at Humana, and Peter Hall’s musical adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.
SOSE opens its first production, the world premiere of Earthlings by Artistic Director Matthew McCray. In the summer, SOSE paired the west coast premiere of Lava by Richard Foreman with Samuel Beckett’s 1-minute play Breath. And, at the end of the year we opened the first part of Peer Gynt.
In an informal meeting of the minds, Founding Artistic Director Matthew McCray brings together eleven of his classmates, teachers and friends to form the core of Son of Semele Ensemble. Over the course of 9-months, the ensemble develops his original play Earthlings through a series of informal and semi-public readings.