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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 Daily News makes a scene about Warrior Class
TUESDAY, JUL 24, 2012
REVIEW: The New York Times 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

Interview with the Alley Theatre for the world-premiere of INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE
Thursday, May 13, 2010
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Here we are, about a week into rehearsals and things have been going really, really well. Just FYI for everyone visiting the site and downloading Act One of Intelligence-Slave. Please be advised that during the course of rehearsing a world-premiere changes to the text are always made. So, what's on the website right now is different from the text that the actors are currently working on, in some ways, significantly so.

Recently, Mark Bly of the Alley Theatre sat down with me for an interview about the process of writing Intelligence-Slave and this is what I said:

Could you talk about what was the starting point for you for this play? Why you felt compelled to write it?

I'm a playwright that's still after the great story and a good part of my writer's life is spent hunting with the divining rod. I came across an article about the Curta calculator when I was in grad school and the moment I read the article, I knew I needed to write this play a concentration camp prisoner who is being kept alive because he has invented the world's first hand-held four function calculator. I almost experienced a bit of good play over-load. To start, I was fascinated with this calculator. It required no batteries at all, but ran on a series of gears, almost like clockwork. (Believe me, I've been trolling eBay for quite some time now.) Then, I was fascinated with the dramatic tension inherent in a character who is being kept alive because he has invented something truly extraordinary. What will happen when he completes the invention and is then no longer extraordinary? Curt Herzstark was the manager of a Nazi armaments factory. What would happen to all the people under his charge if he is no longer extraordinary? What would it mean to walk that tight-rope: to be killed if you are too ordinary, but also to be in danger if you stand out too much? I also loved that the most difficult problem in creating the calculator was the problem of performing subtraction. I thought that was a profound metaphor to employ in the construction of a play about the Holocaust.

What was your research process like for writing "Intelligence-Slave"?

I wrote the play in residence at the Nassau County Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Long Island, New York. The director there, Marcia Posner, carved out a little office for me and introduced me to survivors and was a limitless resource in pointing me to research. I also spent some time with a survivor named Irving Roth, who is the Director of the Holocaust Resource Center at the Temple Judea of Manhasset. He was an invaluable resource and getting to know him really made the process of writing very emotional for me. When I saw images from the camps, there was now a human soul attached to them. So, research was often very emotionally difficult for me, to the point where my then fiance, (now my wife), a social worker, thought that I might be experiencing a mild form of secondary trauma. I don't know if I would go that far, but the damage caused by the Holocaust is quite relentless when you immerse yourself in the research and I confess to not knowing quite what I was getting myself into when I began writing this play.


Has the focus of the play changed as you have worked on it?

Certainly, the focus of the play has changed quite a bit. When I first started writing the play, I was attracted to what I thought of as a great story. As I began to educate myself a little bit more and came to better understand the scope of the atrocity, it became more and more important to me to serve the memory of the event and to serve the memory of the individuals who perished. When I began to write the play, I also focused on writing from the perspective of a person who is being kept alive for purposes of utility, not because he has a full stake in being an enfranchised member of society. As a minority, I thought that that would be my in. But, as I did more research, I became evermore drawn to the world of child soldiers and the more you investigate that, the more you see that the problems from yesteryear are alive and well today.

What do you think you have as writer to bring to the writing of a Holocaust play?

Well, the question is really does a young Chinese man have the right to say anything about the Holocaust? I think I began to have an answer to this question when I met Irving Roth and learned about his Adopt A Survivor Program. Truthfully, in a few scant decades, there won't be any survivors left. It is up to future generations to continue telling these stories. So, Irving has gotten people of all stripes together to adopt survivors with the understanding that after the survivors are gone, their stories will remain. Irving reports that he now has a core of people who are black, white, Jewish, Asian, Islamic, Christian, you name it, ready to carry the legacy of the Holocaust into the future. As this kind of thing progresses, it begs the questions, "How will future generations carry the message?"

Well, in terms of Intelligence-Slave, and my work, I can only really speak to how we will carry the legacy of Holocaust fiction. Every work of fiction belongs to the time it was written in and thus, its impact is largely contemporary. Fiction's job is not to chronicle. We have history for that. Fiction's ambition should be to evolve into myth, thereby attaining a means to speak to our collective souls. As the Holocaust begins to fade from visceral memory, we should prepare for the fact that the work made about it (and there is no indication that the volume of work is slowing) is becoming less about a reaction to actual events, but more a meditation about how knowledge of these events has changed our souls. In short, it is becoming more mythic, more deeply in line with the universal stories that journey with us from birth until death. As we enter the wake of one of the most terrible genocides in the history of mankind, what stories will we tell about a demon that was born when human nature was manipulated and shaped by circumstances and the hands of a powerful madman? Moving forward, what will we learn? The results remain to be seen.

I think a better world begins with a devotion to learning through witnessing the humanity of others and that is what this play is about.

end of scene
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