Institute History

  • 1998 Theatre Lab


Paul Monette’s story of Renarda the Fox and Lapine the Rabbit, two females of different species who fall in love, takes place in a fictional forest, the last possibly, where any “differentness” is declared a danger to the moral fiber of the community, and purportedly threatens to undermine the safety of the entire ecosystem. In adapting SANCTURARY, I am thrilled to have a chance to challenge and change the way young audiences perceive our own civilized, non-fictional world. The magic at the core of this fable is one that changes minds. I hope there’s enough of that magic in my play.

JoAnne Akalitis told me that Buchner’s WOYZECK invited her to tell her own story, and I think that is true of all the best art. And it is true of SANCTUARY. The story is rich and resonant for me. I grew up in South Africa, a child of the Apartheid regime, was raised Mormon and turned out queer, so I know a little bit about this play already. I haven’t had to think too hard as I’ve written the Owl’s cautionary national address on “differentness,” several voices from my past still sounding clear and loud in my head.

I come to the workshop with a shell of a script. The project feels cinematic and episodic in scope. It will eventually be a musical. I look forward to exploring the play with actors, to fleshing out the characters, finding new ones, and making concrete the theatrical visions that are unfolding in my mind.
—Roger Benington

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