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End Of Scene Blog Entries
SATURDAY, DEC 7, 2013
Ken makes a scene about why he wrote LIFE ON PAPER
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[EXCERPTED REVIEW] Broadway World makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2013
[REVIEW] The Houston Press makes a scene about Warrior Class at the Alley Theatre.
SUNDAY, FEB 3, 2013
Ken makes a scene about an upcoming reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre
FRIDAY, FEB 1, 2013
Ken makes a scene about joining Season Two of House Of Cards
SATURDAY, DEC 8, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a letter from Liz Engelman
THURSDAY, DEC 6, 2012
Ken makes a scene about "Red State Blue State" on This American Life
MONDAY, NOV 5, 2012
Ken makes a scene about a stage adaptation of Warrior Class for the BBC.
TUESDAY, OCT 16, 2012
Ken makes a scene about participating in Baltimore Center Stage's MY AMERICA PROJECT, directed by Hal Hartley
SUNDAY, JUL 29, 2012
Errol Louis makes a scene about Warrior Class on NY1's INSIDE CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY, JUL 25, 2012
Head critic for NYTimes makes a scene about Warrior Class on WQXR's Around Broadway.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The New York Times makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The Daily News makes a scene about Warrior Class
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: Variety makes a scene about Warrior Class.
TUESDAY, JAN 24, 2012
Ken makes a scene about The Montgomery New's Review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, JAN 19, 2012
Ken makes a scene about STAGE Magazine's review of FALLOW at People's Light and Theatre Company.
THURSDAY, DEC 1, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a remarkable piece of writing about the American theatre
TUESDAY, NOV 22, 2011
Ken makes a scene about a character's stage transformation
MONDAY, NOV 21, 2011
Ken makes a scene about WARRIOR CLASS online
TUESDAY, SEP 27, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Asian American Performers Action Committee
MONDAY, SEP 26, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the fast work of SCR's casting department
FRIDAY, SEP 16, 2011
Ken makes a scene about Anne Garcia-Romero's post about LoNyLa
WEDNESDAY, JUL 6, 2011
Ken makes a scene about the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage's $150,000 grant to FALLOW
SUNDAY, JUN 19, 2011
A letter from Kaitlin Hopkins - Head of the Musical Theatre Program at Texas State
TUESDAY, FEB 15, 2011
Ken makes a scene about science plays.
WEDNESDAY, DEC 22, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Intelligence-Slave making the Houston Chronicles Top Theater Shows of 2010 list
TUESDAY, OCT 19, 2010
Ken makes a scene about intra out-group persecution.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about why theater is not a humanity.
WEDNESDAY, OCT 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Athol Fugard's criticism about the failure of modern dramatists
MONDAY, JUL 26, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the diverse audience of Queens Theater in the Park
SUNDAY, JUN 6, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the Jewish Herald-Voice's profile of INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE
WEDNESDAY, JUN 2, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Lee Williams's review of Intelligence-Slave in the Houston Press
TUESDAY, JUN 1, 2010
Ken makes a scene about his Intelligence-Slave interview with culturemap.com
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Ken makes a scene about Everett Evans's review in the Houston Chronicle
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010
Ken makes a scene about sharing a collective spirituality in the theater
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2010
Ken makes a scene about seeing the bird through the feathers
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about tech, letting go of the play and making discoveries in production
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Press
SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Chronicle
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene for the Alley Theatre's Mark Bly
WEDNESDAY, APR 21, 2010
Ken makes a scene about being playwright 151 in Adam Szymkowicz's blog.
THURSDAY, APR 8, 2010
Ken makes a scene about changing the name of his play.
THURSDAY, MAR 18, 2010
Ken makes a scene about pundits and why Tom Hanks is "injecting" racism into World War II.
TUESDAY, MAR 16, 2010
Ken makes a scene about writing "winning" dialogue.
MONDAY, MAR 15, 2010
Ken makes a scene about agents and the ecology of show business.
SATURDAY, MAR 13, 2010
Ken makes a scene about the beauty of the theater actor
THURSDAY, DEC 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about non-English language productions
TUESDAY, NOV 17, 2009
Ken makes a scene about reviewing business books for theater artists
WEDNESDAY, NOV 4, 2009
Ken makes a scene about THE BIG REWRITE!
TUESDAY, OCT 27, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the discovery of an algorithm for happiness (7ZJJBYD9U6PX)
THURSDAY, OCT 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Holocaust fiction as a literary genre
TUESDAY, OCT 13, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Asians who don't go to the theater.
MONDAY, OCT 5, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the challenge of bravery in the theater.
MONDAY, SEP 28, 2009
Ken makes a scene about the death of Tragedy and Comedy.
TUESDAY, SEP 22, 2009
Ken makes a scene about Dave Matthews's statement that racism is "everywhere" in America.
WEDNESDAY, SEP 16, 2009
Ken makes a scene about why playwrights need websites.
End of Scene Blog

INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE in the Houston Chronicle
Sunday, May 16, 2010
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Another week of rehearsals has gone by and things have been going really well. I've really enjoyed working with my mentor Mark Bly and my director Jackson Gay, who not only does a really amazing job breathing life into our production, but is also directing my social calendar in her home town of Houston, TX. Last night we saw a really nice production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST at a local community theater Country Playhouse. The theater was really nice and the production was full of great, raw energy -- a great, well-written play. I was really happy to be there.

The Houston Chronicle just printed an article about me for my upcoming show at the Alley Theatre. Here's what it had to say:

Playwright Kenneth Lin is realizing his dreams
by EVERETT EVANS Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

This much of Kenneth Lin's Intelligence-Slave is true: There was a Curt Herzstark. He invented the first hand-held, four-function calculator. The Nazis sent him to a concentration camp, officially because of the part-Jewish Herzstark's "indecent contact" with an Aryan woman. While their prisoner, he wound up running an armaments factory in a salt mine. But chiefly, the Nazis wanted Herzstark to re-create his technological breakthrough for them.

"I started writing the play because I thought his story was extraordinary," Lin says. "Someone being kept alive by the Nazis because of something in his possession that they want. But if he gives it to them, what happens to him then?"

With history supplying that much as a starting point, Lin found it natural to invent the rest.

The result, Intelligence-Slave, makes its world premiere at the Alley Theatre, beginning previews May 23 and opening May 27.

What does the title mean? "It's a term I saw in an interview with Herzstark, describing his category of prisoner," Lin says. "A kind of prisoner kept because they had some intelligence or skill the Nazis prized."

Lin wrote the play while in residence at the Nassau County Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in New York. Despite the many notable plays and films that have dramatized that genocide, Lin, 32, had no qualms about tackling a Holocaust-related subject.

"When I started out, I was naive about the subject," Lin says. "We think we know about it, but there's such a wealth of information most people are not privy to. Writing this made me realize this (the Holocaust) actually happened. I mean, I knew, but in the sense of really understanding that it occurred. As part of my research, I met with survivors. I had never met any till then. My understanding of everything changed in the course of writing the play. It changed from ‘This a great story to write about' to ‘This is something important for us to continue to talk about as a civilization.'"

Lin's invention is Finn, a 14-year-old math genius and member of the Hitler Youth, who is stationed in the mines, more or less to spy on Herzstark and help crack the calculator puzzle.

"It's about the unlikely mentor-student relationship that develops between them," Lin says. "About what happens when you put people in a room together and force them to look at each other's humanity."
While it may be difficult today to imagine the calculator as such a breakthrough, Lin says at that time, it was.

"The machine they want is a technical marvel because it can add, subtract, multiply, divide, all with no batteries or electricity, operating only on a set of gears."

Born to a Chinese-American family in the Bronx, Lin grew up mostly on Long Island and now lives in Queens. He's also a newlywed, married last month.

"My parents were immigrants, and I grew up in a family where some people didn't speak English. My grandmother didn't speak English. But my grandmother was drawn to theater and movies and made that part of life for her grandchildren. So as a child, I learned the power of storytelling and also of nonverbal communication. I was drawn to the performing arts because of how universal they are."

The theater bug really bit in high school, when Lin joined the speech and debate team and started reading plays en masse.

"I had never thought of just reading plays and suddenly here was this roomful of them to read. I remember reading Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. I couldn't stop reading it. I found myself crying because it reminded me so much of my parents' struggles.

"I also loved reading David Henry Hwang, especially M. Butterfly. To know here was a Chinese-American playwright writing something so beautiful, a play that unfolded like a flower."

Despite his family's appreciation of the arts, having a playwright son was another matter. "Actually, my parents fought tooth and nail about my wanting to be playwright. I was being indoctrinated with family goals, the importance of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. You don't encounter many Chinese-American playwrights. I was forging my own path, but I had to do that to be able to look myself in the mirror in the mornings. In time, my mom was more OK about it, but my father still struggles with it."

Lin is the model of the up-and-coming playwright: an alumnus of Cornell University and the Yale School of Drama, where he won the Cole Porter Prize for excellence in playwriting. His other honors include a Fulbright fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, Williamstown Theatre's L. Arnold Weissberger Award and Theatre Communications Group's Edgerton New Play Prize.

Mark Bly, former chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and now the Alley's chief dramaturg, selected Lin for Yale's MFA graduate playwriting program almost a decade ago, became his mentor and has been a champion of his work since. As director of new play development at Washington's Arena Stage, he commissioned a play from Lin. Naturally, upon finishing Intelligence-Slave, Lin sent a copy to Bly, who jumped at the chance to have it premiere at the Alley.

"Ken is not only a great storyteller," Bly says. "He tackles subjects that challenge us as artists and audience members. He creates rigorous stories for the stage that raise questions about our responsibilities as human beings to our fellow human beings."

"I'm still developing as a writer," Lin says. "Still ‘emerging.' I've jumped around from style to style with each play. But I would say this one is the most ‘well-made' play I've written, so far."

end of scene
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