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The Boston Conservatory Theater Ensemble Presents the Balcony

(BOSTON—Nov. 17, 2011) The Boston Conservatory Theater Ensemble presents The Balcony, Nov. 17-20, 2011, at The Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway St., in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $10 for all students with valid ID. Box Office: (617) 912-9222 or http://bostonconservatory.ticketforce.com/. Written by Jean Genet. Translation by Bernard Frechtman. Directed by John Kuntz. For mature audiences only.

Written by French playwright Jean Genet, The Balcony (1957) was deemed too scandalous for Paris audiences, and staged at a private club in London. Set in an unnamed city that is experiencing a revolutionary uprising in the streets, most of the action takes place in a brothel that functions as a microcosm of the establishment under threat outside. Three patrons whose fantasies are to impersonate a bishop, a general and a judge change the outcome of a revolution when they are confused for those real dignitaries. Like most of Genet's work, The Balcony employs ritualized dances, parades and other ceremonial events. In macabre, climactic scenes, the playwright develops his mocking view of man and society. 

According to Kuntz, "I am treating The Balcony like a new play. It is still set in a whore house, but one that resembles a blown-out sound stage on which a grotesque, hallucinatory fashion show of corrupt politics and sex takes place. It is a near future where we are numbed by TV and technology, under constant surveillance by the government and each other, and poised on the brink of a revolution. But that might be the present, actually."

Jean Genet is one of the most provocative of all influential 20th century playwrights. Born the illegitimate son of a Parisian prostitute in 1910, he was abandoned at a young age and raised by state institutions. He survived through theft and prostitution, and was jailed several times for crimes including vagrancy, homosexuality and larceny. While in prison, he developed his writing. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Genet may have been forgotten about if not for the efforts of important French writers like Gide, Sartre and Cocteau, who convinced the French president to grant Genet a pardon. 

About John Kuntz

John Kuntz is a founding company member of the Actors Shakespeare Project, where his credits include Pandulph in King John, Tamora in the all-male Titus Andronicus, Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Lucio/Froth in Measure for Measure, Sebastian in Twelfth Night, Bertram/the Clown in All’s Well That Ends Well, and the title role in Richard III. Recent Boston credits include the title role in Mr. Marmalade (Company One), numerous productions of The SantaLand Diaries (IRNE Award—Best Solo Performance), Katurian in the New England premiere of The Pillowman, Estragon in Waiting for Godot, the title role in Scapin, Austin in True West (all with New Repertory Theatre), 20 roles in How I Got That Story (Nora Theatre Company), 40 roles in Fully Committed (Lyric Stage), Voice #1 in Betty's Summer Vacation (Huntington Theatre Company), and three seasons with Commonwealth Shakespeare, appearing in Henry V (Fluellen), Twelfth Night (Sir Andrew), and Hamlet (Guildenstern/Osric). Kuntz received both an Elliot Norton Award and a New York International Fringe Festival Award for his one-man show Starfucker.  His plays ---  Sing Me To Sleep and Freaks! --- both received Elliot Norton Awards for "Outstanding Fringe Production." His play, Jasper Lake, received both the Michael Kanin and Paula Vogel National Playwrighting awards, with productions at the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) and the New York Fringe Festival.

About The Boston Conservatory

The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multi-disciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit www.bostonconservatory.edu. 

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