By Tony Kushner, Directed by Oskar Eustis

Having rocked American theatre with his epic Angels in America, swept the recent Emmy Awards and up-ended musical theatre with the innovative Caroline, or Change, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winner Tony Kushner takes on the Bush Administration with this biting political satire. After reading Dostoevsky to the ghosts of Iraqi children, First Lady Laura Bush takes on Kushner himself and the liberal agenda

What: Red, White & New BRAND:NEW Fall Festival of New Works 2004 - Reading of "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy" a new play by Tony Kushner 

Where: Hartford Stage -  50 Church St, Hartford, CT

When: Monday evening, October 25, 2004

Report by Carol LaPlante
Thanks! Carol for sharing the report!

Just a few quick notes on tonight's reading of "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy" at the Hartford Stage.

It was almost a full house at Hartford Stage tonight. The reading started a few minutes after 7:30 p.m. There were three chairs on stage, one more off to the side for the host/narrator (Molly Ringwald); a small table was between the chairs for the Angel (Kate Mulgrew) and Laura Bush (Betty Buckley). Kate actually stood throughout Scene I, while Betty stood and sat during the scene (based somewhat on whether she was "reading" to the children).

At the end of the first scene, Kate and Molly left the stage. Betty moved from standing at the chair in the middle of the stage to the chair on the left (stage right). In Scene II, Betty played Tony Kushner (the playwright).  She (Tony/Betty) spoke at bit at the beginning of the scene, introducing the "real" Laura Bush (Kate Mulgrew). Laura/Kate and Tony/Betty then "discuss" the first scene.

After the reading, Kate, Betty and Molly sat down to read an additional piece named Brundibar. Brundibar is a picture book "based on a Czech opera that was performed 55 times by children in Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp, and has been retold by playwright Tony Kushner and illustrated by Maurice Sendak (the illustrations were displayed on a rear "screen" on stage).

After the reading of Brundibar, Molly Ringwald left. Kate and Betty were joined onstage by Oskar Eustis (director) and Michael Wilson (artistic director for Hartford Stage) for a critique/discussion of the reading. "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy" is considered by Tony Kushner to be a "works-in-process" and the discussion/feedback a more than useful tool.