The central question posed by “Lobby Hero”

A NOTE FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR 

All4_Preview_Gallery.jpg

Injustice in America’s justice system is nothing new, but horrifying police brutality captured on iPhone videos has raised consciousness across the country. Racial bias, and arguably unjust rulings by judges and juries, has galvanized the nation and launched the Black Lives Matter movement. Meanwhile, sexism in the workplace continues to simmer just below the radar of the national media…a prejudice so familiar, apparently it’s not worth covering.

So, it’s critical for us to consider how we will behave in an unjust world. Should I follow the rules even if they are unfair? This is the central question posed by Lobby Hero

I first came across this play while auditioning for the role of Dawn in a Walnut Street Theatre production of the play nearly a decade ago. I called Matt Decker who was then living in New York city, and said, “You have to read this script right now!” Because we were too broke to buy a copy, he read the play at a Barnes and Noble in Manhattan while I thumbed through the Walnut’s copy in Philly.

What hooked us on the play ten years ago, and why it’s more timely than ever, is that every character feels he or she has been wronged. I think many of us feel that way right now.

Injustice is something we can all sense for ourselves, felt first like a punch to the gut that then works its way up to the heart. What the playwright asks us to consider is, once you feel that pang of injustice, what are you willing to do about it? And how will you know you were right?

Sincerely thanks,

Erin Reilly

Advertisements

Heroes are people and people make mistakes: A Note from our Lobby Hero Honorary Producer Lis Kalogris

LOBBY HERO premiered in Manhattan, in March of 2001, six months before 9/11 and a year into the 21st century. 2001 was filled with terror, sadness, reflection and honor—a year about caring for others, a year for heroes.

But, as the world turns, we have moved on.

In the fourteen years since 2001, we have worked ourselves right smack dab into the middle of a collective cynicism—especially when it comes to heroes. We live in a world of winners and losers, and more often than not, the winners are not good role models. We drown ourselves in sound bites and social media. Twenty four by seven, any one of us might be bared and dissected. Our flaws are revealed instantly—and repeated over and over again. Never before has everything about everybody been so accessible. Never before have we had the capacity to actually become the media ourselves—and the judges. We have the power to knock any wannabe hero right off their pedestal in 140 characters or less. You are in and you are out!

In the context of this new world cynicism, how could any person possibly stand up to the scrutiny? And, what the heck is a hero anyway?

In LOBBY HERO, playwright Kenneth Lonergan grapples with these complex and ambiguous questions of who, what and why a hero might be. And he clearly does this within the context of our times. Did he foresee the new cynical and dangerous direction in which our society is heading?

After reading the play for the first time, I was angry and annoyed with the characters because they let themselves and each other down. But Jeff, William, Bill and Dawn represent regular people, like you and me—multi-dimensional folks facing bad and worse moral choices about loyalty, family, race, gender, discrimination and justice. How could I possibly dislike them for making poor decisions based on overwhelming moral and social pressure or nearly impossible extenuating circumstances?

Speaking through the character of Jeff, Lonergan asks, “But somebody made up the law, didn’t they? Some people made up the law, a bunch of people like you and me literally sat down and wrote it up…God didn’t make up the rules.”

Perhaps Lonergan is suggesting we shouldn’t expect too much from our heroes.

Heroes are people. People make mistakes.


 

IMG_8535Lis Kalogris is a writer/producer/collaborator who has a passion for the Arts and for her family. She is a collector of visual art and craft who has done media and multi-arts project development and production. Her company, Flying Bulldog Productions LLC, has produced theatrical works in the Philadelphia area, San Diego and off-Broadway . Lis’ current musical theatre project, IN MY BODY, will premiere in Philadelphia in the Fall of 2016. Lis, and her husband, Mike, are thrilled to be Honorary Producers for LOBBY HERO at Theatre Horizon.