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Huntington Brings Becky Shaw to Boston

Peter DuBois reunites with playwright Gina Gionfriddo

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In the video above, director Peter DuBois delves into Becky Shaw.

Becky Shaw is a human Rorschach test,” says Peter DuBois, who likens the play to inkblots psychologists use to decipher their patients’ personalities.

“Audience members identify with individual characters and project their own relationships onto them,” says DuBois, artistic director of the Huntington Theatre Company, in residence at Boston University, and director of its current production, Becky Shaw, a dark comedy about a blind date gone wrong.

“At postshow talks, people argue across the audience about behavior, what’s morally right, and what’s morally wrong. To me, that’s one of the most exciting things about a theatrical event.”

DuBois credits strong audience reactions elicited by the 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist to playwright Gina Gionfriddo’s rich dialogue and characterizations.

“She investigates the darker motivations of human behavior in a way that’s hilarious and subversive,” says DuBois. He suggests that Gionfriddo’s writing for the television series Law & Order has built a sense of crime, horror, and suspense that spills onto the stage.

This is a reunion of sorts for DuBois and Gionfriddo. They were graduate students at Brown University, where he directed her thesis play, US Drag, in the early 1990s.

DuBois says the title character’s backstory links to their grad school days: “Becky was a golden girl, but along the way her life unraveled and went in a direction she didn’t expect. She’s an amalgam of an imagined character and people we knew back in Providence.”

DuBois directed the play to stellar reviews at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theater of Louisville and at Second Stage Theatre in New York City. “I’m proud to bring it home,” he says.

Becky Shaw runs at the BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., through Sunday, April 4. Tickets range from $20 to $82.50 and may be purchased online, by phone at 617-266-0800, in person at the BU Theatre box office or at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St., Boston. Patrons 35 and younger may purchase $25 tickets (ID required), and there is a $5 discount for seniors and military personnel. Student rush tickets are available for $15 at the box office two hours before each performance, and members of the BU community get $10 off (ID required). Members of the BU community are eligible for a special subscription rate. Follow the Huntington Theatre Company on Twitter at @huntington.

Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu.

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